Alert Procedures

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We expect our players to follow not only the letter of the ACBL alert procedures, but also the spirit. Our players will follow a policy of full disclosure when they have particular agreements with their partner that provide extra information or insight that opponents are entitled to - whether the ACBL says a bid is alertable or not. At the Bridge Club of Center City, we hold ourselves to a higher standard of full disclosure.

But we also expect all experienced players (certainly Life Masters and above) to protect themselves against common alertable sequences (NMF, Jacoby 2nt, Weak Jump Responses, Smollen, Drury, Gerber etc) even if they are not alerted - by asking a simple question before they bid or make an opening lead.

Some examples of alertable bids at our club:

Short 1c openings.
Polish club.
Kennedy 1d, 1h, and 1s responses.
Support Xs, XXs, and negative inferences such as a Pass call.
Precision 1c, 1d, 1h, 1s, and 2c Openings and relevent responses.
Any NT response that is Forcing.

According to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge: Law 40.B. Concealed Partnership Understandings Prohibited

A player may not make a call or play based on a special partnership understanding unless an opposing pair may reasonably be expected to understand its meaning, or unless his side discloses the use of such call or play in accordance with the regulations of the sponsoring organization.

Bridge is not a game of secret messages; the auction belongs to everyone at the table.
Remember that the opponents are entitled to know the agreed meaning of all calls.
The bidding side has an obligation to disclose its agreements according to the procedures established by ACBL.
When asked, the bidding side must give a full explanation of the agreement. Stating the common or popular name of the convention is not sufficient.
The opponents need not ask exactly the "right" question.
Any request for information should be the trigger. Opponents need only indicate the desire for information - all relevant disclosure should be given automatically.
The proper way to ask for information is "please explain."
Players who remember that a call requires an Alert but cannot remember the meaning must still Alert.
In all Alert situations, Tournament Directors should rule with the spirit of the Alert procedure in mind and not simply by the letter of the law.
Players who, by experience or expertise, recognize that their opponents have neglected to Alert a special agreement will be expected to protect themselves.
Adjustments for violations are not automatic.
There must have been misinformation.
An adjustment will be made only when the misinformation was a direct cause of the damage. Note also that an opponent who actually knows or suspects what is happening, even though not properly informed, may not be entitled to redress if he or she chooses to proceed without clarifying the situation.  When an Alert is given, ASK, do not ASSUME.