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All about alerting

All about alerting

You alert any bid that you would normally alert or announce at the table. But unlike face-to-face bridge, you alert your own bids, not your partner's. This self-alerting makes life easier for everyone: you know what your bid means, so as long as your alert correctly reflects your agreed system there's no chance of misinformation being given.

Your partner, of course, can't see your alert (and can't see even whether you've alerted or not) so there's no problem with unauthorised information.

How do I alert my bid?

Your 'bidding box' (see right) has a space to write an explanation of your bid. Say your partner's opened 1NT and you're bidding 2♣ Stayman. Click on the 'Explain' line and type Stayman; then click on the Alert button (it turns red); and then make your 2♣ bid. Your 'Stayman' alert will appear on your opponents' screens. Job done.

Oops - I should have alerted that!

No problem. Simply click on the bid you just made and an 'Explain' box will pop up. Type your explanation in (Stayman, Transfer, Weak, Splinter, 20-22, Strong – 8 playing tricks, whatever) and your bid will be alerted.

Suppose I don't realise that I should have alerted? 

You'll probably get a nudge from the opposition - see below!

I wonder what that bid means?

If you're not clear what an opponent's bid means (and they haven't alerted it) you can ask. 

To do this, simply click on the bid itself. This brings up an 'Explain' box on the bidder's screen and an explanation should be forthcoming. Again, only you and your partner can see the explanation.

Similarly, if an 'Explain' box suddenly pops up on your screen, your opponents are asking about a bid that you've made. Type in your explanation (eg 12-14, 5-5 in the minors, Landy - both majors, Natural) and click it off to them.

I still don't get it ...

Suppose you open 1NT and the opps overcall 2♣ , alerted as 'Cappalletti'  – which leaves you none the wiser. You need a more informative explanation.

To ask for more, click on the  Explain  button on the alert (see right). You should then get more info – eg Shows a 6-card suit.

This works both ways too, of course: if your alert is bounced back to you, try to give the opps a fuller explanation.

How do I get rid of that alert?

Once you've read an alert, you don't want it cluttering up your screen.

To get rid of it, simply click on it and it'll disappear. Be careful, however, NOT TO click on the  Explain  button. As we saw above, this asks the bidder for further information and can cause despair if it keeps happening!

I've forgotten what that alert said. Can I see it again?

Yes. Any opponent's bid that has been alerted is highlighted in the auction – as the 2♣ bid shown right. Simply click on the highlighted bid to see the alert again.