Alerting, announcing and explaining on BBO

Comment from Paul

On BBO you alert, announce and explain your own calls, not those of your partner. The explanations will be visible to your opponents, but not to your partner, so there is little chance of passing unauthorized information across the table (as would happen if, say, you announced your partner's 1NT as 12-14, but they had forgotten and had opened on 15-17).

Because your partner cannot see your explanations, you can give them more freely. You should be alerting and explaining every call that would require an alert or announcement when playing face-to-face bridge, and also any calls that your opponents might want to ask about. It is much more time-consuming to ask about calls when playing online, so it's better to explain as you make the call, whether it's required by the regulations or not. There is no limit to the level of calls that need explanations as there is in face-to-face bridge.

The normal way to explain calls is to type a brief explanation into the box before you send the bid to the table, and also click the "alert" box if an alert is required. If more is needed it can be sent to the opponents only using the "chat" function.

Please note:


Here are some suggestions of the sorts of explanations you should be giving for common calls:





Opening bid


"2+", "3+",

None needed if it's 4+


"art, any 16+", "no 5cM, 1+D"

Precision openers.




None needed if it's 4+



"12-14", "15-17", "11-15 poss sC"

The last one should remind the opponents that a singleton club is possible.



"art GF", "art 23+", "art strong"

"Acol" or "Benj Acol" would also be understood.



"6+, 11-15 pts"

A Precision opener.



"art GF", "art 23+", "art strong"

"Acol" or "Reverse Benj Acol" would also be understood.



"weak", "5-9, poss. 5-card suit"

Give a point range if you use one, and the possibility of unusual length.



"multi, weak 2M, strong 2m, 20-22 bal"

"Multi" would probably do, but a full list of possibilities is better.



"weak", "5-9, poss. 5-card suit"




"weak, 5+H and 4+ other"

A Lucas two.


Comment from James

Upgrading and downgrading hands into and out of your no trump range has always been a problem. If you do it a lot, you should perhaps say so, because your range is not in practice "12-14", but rather "a good 11 to a poor 15". If you do it only on occasion for exceptional 11 or 15 counts, it's probably OK to stick with 12-14.

The problem becomes a little more acute on BBO when you announce your own calls. It's all very well announcing that your partner has 12-14 when that's what you're expecting, and that's how you're going to treat it, but on BBO if you decide to open a good 11 count with one no trump, you either leave yourself open to a charge of deliberately misleading your opponents (you said it was 12-14 when you knew it was only 11) or just this once calling it "11-14", when they'll be able to work out it's exactly 11 if you've announced every other one as "12-14".