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Living under a rock 1nt with singleton or void

#1 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 14:58

When did it become legal for 1nt to be opened holding a singleton or void? :)

And is it sufficient to announce 1nt "xx-xx, could be unbalanced"?
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#2 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 15:52

It was only ever 'illegal' in jurisdictions governed by ACBL rules.
There was a very long discussion about this roughly a year ago.
In Australia, you can open 1NT with anything; but you have to announce the range and shape.
Amongst the many crazy things I've tried out, this was one of them.

The announcement required is x-y any shape.


This requirement is not my opinion - it came from Australia's most senior director.


Some people open 1 16+ any shape.

Or 'pass' 16+.
Or play Acol.
Or 1 2+ clubs.
Or all kinds of things that have nothing to do with their hand.

Opening 1NT with 16 HCP and a singleton/void is arguably less peculiar.

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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 17:51

Romex uses a 1NT opening that is strong, forcing, and shows either 19-20 HCP, 6 controls, and a balanced hand, or 18-21 HCP, 4 or 5 losers, and an unbalanced hand (basically, hands that in Standard American or 2/1 would open at the one level and make a strong jump shift on the second round). In the ACBL this is legal on the Basic + chart and both Open charts. It was legal on the old General Convention Chart from at least 1996, when I started looking at such things, and probably earlier.
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#4 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 19:41

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-29, 15:52, said:

It was only ever 'illegal' in jurisdictions governed by ACBL rules.

This is simply untrue. It has been illegal in many jurisdictions at various times. In some where it is now allowed, an announcement is required. Others may require an alert. A typical announcement that is required with a regular partner in a non-ACBL game is "Good 11 to 14. Singleton possible. 5 card major possible." The potential presence of a 5 card major probably causes more consternation than the possible singleton.
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#5 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 21:32

View PostGilithin, on 2021-June-29, 19:41, said:

This is simply untrue. It has been illegal in many jurisdictions at various times. In some where it is now allowed, an announcement is required. Others may require an alert. A typical announcement that is required with a regular partner in a non-ACBL game is "Good 11 to 14. Singleton possible. 5 card major possible." The potential presence of a 5 card major probably causes more consternation than the possible singleton.


Ok - fair enough.
A big thing was made of this question in ACBLworld for a long time and generated a lot of heat in many quarters when the stricture that you can only open 1NT with at least a singleton honour (however it was phrased) - was introduced.

It is possible that in New Zealand it was not previously allowed and now is - like underarm bowling.


You give an example of a required announcement. Where is this announcement required BBO, Global Club, ACBL Auckland, Essex?
What happens if a pair doesn't follow your requirement?
Is it a protocol, law, ruling, regulation, guideline, suggestion or something else?
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#6 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 01:34

Even in the ACBL, it has never been illegal to open 1NT with a singleton. It has been illegal to *have an agreement* to open 1NT with a singleton, or to have a system where there is no other option.

It was always legal to open those kinds of hands that "look balanced", even if 444K or 43A5, 1NT, provided it was a rare occurrence and "everybody" would do it - that's not an agreement with partner, it's Just Good Judgement. I am sure I don't need to go into how well that worked, right? I described it elsewhere as "Everybody did it, and everybody didn't notice when partner did it, and everybody didn't have that discussion with partner."

It was about 5 years ago that the ACBL went to "you can agree to open 1NT with a singleton A, K, or Q, provided no more than 9 cards in two suits and no voids." Hasn't shut up those Whose Holy Judgement is better than the ACBLs (In Their Oh-So-Humble Opinion).
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#7 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 07:41

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-29, 21:32, said:

Ok - fair enough.
A big thing was made of this question in ACBLworld for a long time and generated a lot of heat in many quarters when the stricture that you can only open 1NT with at least a singleton honour (however it was phrased) - was introduced.

As mycroft points out, the ACBL clarified their position in this area a few years ago. Critics point out that the regulations as they currently stand just happen to coincide with the preferred methods of those that were in charge of the change but no doubt this was pure coincidence.

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-29, 21:32, said:

It is possible that in New Zealand it was not previously allowed and now is - like underarm bowling.

This is the other way around, right? It was not banned at the time of Trevor Chappell's embarrassingly cowardly underarm ball at the MCG in 1981 but a subsequent rule change by the ICC made it officially "Not within the spirit of the game", something everyone in cricket at the time (with the apparent exception of Greg Chappell) already knew.

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-29, 21:32, said:

You give an example of a required announcement. Where is this announcement required BBO, Global Club, ACBL Auckland, Essex?
What happens if a pair doesn't follow your requirement?
Is it a protocol, law, ruling, regulation, guideline, suggestion or something else?

It is (or was, I haven't checked for over a year) regulation from a national governing body where I sometimes play. Like any other MI, failure to follow procedure risks an adverse ruling if the opponents are damaged.
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#8 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 10:39

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-June-29, 17:51, said:

Romex uses a 1NT opening that is strong, forcing, and shows either 19-20 HCP, 6 controls, and a balanced hand, or 18-21 HCP, 4 or 5 losers, and an unbalanced hand (basically, hands that in Standard American or 2/1 would open at the one level and make a strong jump shift on the second round). In the ACBL this is legal on the Basic + chart and both Open charts. It was legal on the old General Convention Chart from at least 1996, when I started looking at such things, and probably earlier.


Vienna Club which was developed in the 1930s used 1NT like a conventional strong 2, big hand any shape
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#9 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 11:56

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-June-30, 10:39, said:

Vienna Club which was developed in the 1930s used 1NT like a conventional strong 2, big hand any shape


I used to play a homebrew system that used 1N as 17+ unbalanced, it was designed to push the EBU licencing arrangements as far as they would go, so as they were contained in the orange book it was known as clockwork orange.

I currently play a version of precision where 1N may contain a singleton if the hand is exactly 4414, we announce it as "12-15, may contain a singleton diamond", you have to announce a possible singleton here.
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#10 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 14:20

View Postmycroft, on 2021-June-30, 01:34, said:

Even in the ACBL, it has never been illegal to open 1NT with a singleton. It has been illegal to *have an agreement* to open 1NT with a singleton, or to have a system where there is no other option.

It was always legal to open those kinds of hands that "look balanced", even if 444K or 43A5, 1NT, provided it was a rare occurrence and "everybody" would do it - that's not an agreement with partner, it's Just Good Judgement. I am sure I don't need to go into how well that worked, right? I described it elsewhere as "Everybody did it, and everybody didn't notice when partner did it, and everybody didn't have that discussion with partner."

It was about 5 years ago that the ACBL went to "you can agree to open 1NT with a singleton A, K, or Q, provided no more than 9 cards in two suits and no voids." Hasn't shut up those Whose Holy Judgement is better than the ACBLs (In Their Oh-So-Humble Opinion).


Yes, I was aware of the change in 2016 when the ACBL permitted opening 1nt with a singleton honor as described above. What I am being told now is you can open 1nt on any unbalanced hand, and you must announce it as unbalanced. Perhaps it is a local distortion of the 2016 change or perhaps NZ Bridge have allowed it?

Now I hear from a reliable source, that in NZ, you only need to announce your 1nt range. If your partnership are willing to play in 1nt, no further disclosure is needed. The test is whether the partnership is willing to play in 1nt.

View PostGilithin, on 2021-June-30, 07:41, said:

This is the other way around, right? It was not banned at the time of Trevor Chappell's embarrassingly cowardly underarm ball at the MCG in 1981 but a subsequent rule change by the ICC made it officially "Not within the spirit of the game", something everyone in cricket at the time (with the apparent exception of Greg Chappell) already knew.

This made me smile. Chappell's underarm has left a legacy of jokes and references to the incident. People still use the term underarm rather than underhand when referring to dishonest actions.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#11 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 19:37

View PostGilithin, on 2021-June-30, 07:41, said:

This is the other way around, right? It was not banned at the time of Trevor Chappell's embarrassingly cowardly underarm ball at the MCG in 1981 but a subsequent rule change by the ICC made it officially "Not within the spirit of the game", something everyone in cricket at the time (with the apparent exception of Greg Chappell) already knew.


The incident happened during a game of pyjama cricket in a match organised and paid for by the Packers.

Its relationship to actual cricket was disputed at the time.
In the 1980s people (including me) regarded ODI's in the same light as some here refer to "BBO experts".
Greg Chappell knew exactly what he was doing when he instructed his brother.
He didn't care.
Possibly he didn't think it was 'cricket' anyway.




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#12 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-July-01, 09:35

NZ cares no whit for the ACBL. I don't know their regulations.

ACBL still requires a Natural 1NT opener to only have singleton A, K, or Q. Artificial 1NT openers are legal, of course, but probably not the way people want to play it (must be Forcing unless 6+ boards in Open+).
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#13 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2021-July-01, 15:22

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-29, 21:32, said:


It is possible that in New Zealand it was not previously allowed and now is - like underarm bowling.



Is it a protocol, law, ruling, regulation, guideline, suggestion or something else?


Is underarm truly legal? My impression is that it's the side arm deliveries that are permitted (within some limits). In that sense, it's closer to the ACBL definition of a 1N with a singleton, as opposed to the Oz version (which is the true equivalent of an underarm :D).
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#14 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-July-01, 15:54

View Postfoobar, on 2021-July-01, 15:22, said:

Is underarm truly legal? My impression is that it's the side arm deliveries that are permitted (within some limits). In that sense, it's closer to the ACBL definition of a 1N with a singleton, as opposed to the Oz version (which is the true equivalent of an underarm :D).


It's definitely illegal in Bridge. The coffee would go everywhere and the cards would get wet.
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#15 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-July-02, 13:00

View Postfoobar, on 2021-July-01, 15:22, said:

Is underarm truly legal? My impression is that it's the side arm deliveries that are permitted (within some limits). In that sense, it's closer to the ACBL definition of a 1N with a singleton, as opposed to the Oz version (which is the true equivalent of an underarm :D).


21.1.2 Underarm bowling shall not be permitted except by special agreement before the match.
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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-July-03, 10:09

View Postjillybean, on 2021-June-30, 14:20, said:

Yes, I was aware of the change in 2016 when the ACBL permitted opening 1nt with a singleton honor as described above. What I am being told now is you can open 1nt on any unbalanced hand, and you must announce it as unbalanced. Perhaps it is a local distortion of the 2016 change or perhaps NZ Bridge have allowed it?

Now I hear from a reliable source, that in NZ, you only need to announce your 1nt range. If your partnership are willing to play in 1nt, no further disclosure is needed. The test is whether the partnership is willing to play in 1nt.

The rules of this game are in two parts: the Laws and the Regulations. Laws are universal (there is one set of laws for the world), regulations are local (generally at the NBO level). So when ACBL permitted opening 1NT with a singleton A, K, or Q, that was a matter of regulation, affecting only the ACBL and nowhere else. Other jurisdictions might or might not have had, or now have, similar regulations.

Alerting (and announcing -- announcements are a kind of alert) is a different issue, and a different (again, local) regulation. I would imagine you can find the local regulations that apply to you (whoever and wherever you are) on your NBO's website.
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