The EBU TD panel consists of those TDs the EBU will use to direct at its events, including trainees who serve a probationary period before “donning the purple” blazer, or not. (We no longer have purple/maroon blazers, so I guess it should be “donning the red polo”). Every two years, the panel meets for a weekend away to share best practice and remind ourselves how to sit in a bar until “a bit after two”. Some topics come up two-year after two-year, and a workable and consistent approach to Law 27 is such a topic.
One more go at Law 27 (2007)
It is getting to the stage the new Law 27 is no longer new and in a few years will become the old Law 27. We (EBU TDs) continue to oscillate about what the different players at the table should be told about the options available to the offender in replacing his insufficient bid. I think the truth is that we do things differently depending on the auction and the experience of the players at the table. We also continue to discuss particular cases of what calls constitute “rectification calls” under Law 27B1(b) — that is, calls that will not silence offender's partner. Here again we oscillate between a more or less liberal interpretations of the law. But there seem to be nothing much to be learnt as general principle, but just to look at each case separately.
The case we looked at was 1NT –(3♦)– 2NT; with responder holding ♥AJxxxxx. The point of the exercise was to distinguish the application of Law 27D (after Law 27B1) from the application of Law 23 (after Law 27B2). But we had to know whether a replacement bid of 3♥ would silence partner.
Responder intended 2NT as Lebensohl but was confused about what auction he thought he was bidding Lebensohl in, so it was not clear if his intended 1NT –(2X)– 2NT – 3♣ – 3♥ was to play or invitational. It was also not clear whether the partnership had an agreement as to whether 1NT –(3♦)– 3♥ was invitational or forcing. So we were forced to conclude that 3♥ as a replacement for the insufficient bid did not necessarily have the same meaning as 3♥ after the insufficient Lebensohl and so did not have the same-or-more-precise meaning as the insufficient Lebensohl.
We concluded that 3♥ would only be a non-silencing replacement bid, if responder knew what strength of 3♥ bid (to play, invitational or forcing) he was intending to show via Lebensohl, if the partnership (in particular, opener) knew what strength was shown by the proposed 3♥ bid, and if those two meanings (in terms of strength) co-incided. This all requires a lot of investigation by the TD during a live auction, possibly wanting to ask questions of both members of the non-offending side independently and without giving information to other players to which they may not be entitled.
WBF have another go with Law 27 (2017)
Meanwhile (in another part of the forrest) the WBF laws draft subcommittee are considering how to fix/improve this law. Any radical redrafting has been rejected: for instance suggestions that the insufficient bid should be an unauthorised withdrawn call (see open season on law 27). It is possible that the “meaning” of the insufficient bid, instead of being the “intended” meaing, becomes the “apparent” meaning (or the information conveyed by the insufficient bid). So the TD does not need to ask the offender what he was trying to do, instead he has to decide what it looks like he was trying to do. It is also possible that any unauthorised information generated by the offender (for example, “oops, I thought he had passed”) will be wound in to the restrictions on offender's partner.
We shall have to wait patiently and see what happens.
So, there may not be much more to say here on Law 27 for a few years. At the panel weekend, I lead a session on scoring and we (again) recognised the value of sharing our experiences with the different scoring systems. So I might try and write up some details of scoring system problems and achievements over the last year and post them here.