Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The vaguest of all of the ACBL rules

Full disclosure. What exactly is it supposed to mean? The ACBL defines it thus, or, briefly, [Full disclosure] means that all information available to your partnership must be made available to your opponents.

So here's my question. In a Swiss match, I am on lead after 1♣ - 1 - 2NT - 3* - 3♠ - 3NT. I ask declarer, a player with significantly more than 10,000 points, about 3 . I am told that it is "New minor forcing". Well, I pretty much knew that already (although it could also have been the Wolff adjunct).

After I lead a heart, it turns out that declarer has three hearts. My lead makes little difference at IMP scoring, but it has potentially blown a trick which might matter were we playing matchpoints.

Now, here's the question: is declarer (or dummy even) obliged, under the full disclosure principle, to tell me that 3♠ can be bid with three hearts on this auction? Different partnerships have different rules about responses to NMF but I think that standard, if there is such a thing, is that opener always bids responder's suit with three card support, regardless of the other major. Am I required to ask explicitly about hearts? Or should that information be forthcoming as a description of the whole sequence, following the principle of full disclosure?

You can probably guess my opinion, but I'd still like to hear your comments.


  1. Normally when pairs show the other major first (that's my preference), they then correct back to the first major if it doesn't uncover a 4-4 fit and they have 3-card support. So the missing disclosure isn't about bypassing the 3-card heart suit, but about passing 3NT when holding it.

    But maybe they don't have an explicit agreement about it, but opener judged that 3NT would be as good as 4H with his 4333 hand (he's not going to take any ruffs in the short hand). Do players who choose not to use Stayman with 4333 shape also need to disclose that?

  2. The player that I asked (opener) said later that they did have an explicit agreement to bid the other major first and that therefore 3♠ did not deny three hearts. Responder couldn't remember if they had such an agreement (but that's not really relevant).

    I think I'm entitled to full disclosure on their agreements once I ask about the query bid (3♦ in this case). But I realize that the point is debatable. Personally, I prefer to err on the side of giving too much information when asked, rather than too little.