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ACBL NABC Appeals Casebook - Denver Fall 2005

Also see ACBL NABC Bulletins
 

CASE ONE
Subject: UI
DIC: Sol Weinstein
Women's Life Master Pairs, first final


The Facts: The contract was 3 making four for +130 after the 5 opening lead. The director determined that there was a substantial hesitation by North when it was her turn to bid over 3. During that hesitation, according to the EW pair, South shook her head and lowered her hand (actions they did not observe on the first hand of the round). South denied that she had done so and North said that she didn't know what South's body behavior was at that time because she (North) was looking at her hand.

The Ruling: The director ruled that if South acted as EW claimed she did, it was not unmistakable and does not demonstrably suggest passing over bidding.

The Decision: The committee was unconvinced that North saw South's behavior and, accordingly, it was not clear that North had any unauthorized information. North was therefore entitled to take whatever action she wished over the 3 bid.

Because the committee was not in complete agreement about whether there was unauthorized information, it decided to analyze the hand further. North testified that South would often respond 1NT to a takeout double with a weak hand. The committee found that to be self-serving. The 3 bid, though, was authorized information which suggested that notrump was not the right strain and that the South hand was weak. The committee agreed with the screening director that Pass was not a logical alternative and determined that if North were to bid 4, that bid would end the auction. Since ten tricks were taken in the 3 contract, there would be no change in the score even if the committee was to require North to bid 4.

The committee admonished NS to be very careful to avoid such situations in the future and referred this matter to the Recorder.

The Committee: Richard Popper, chair, Ellen Wallace, Tom Peters, Eugene J. Kales and Ed Lazarus.


CASE TWO
Subject: UI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Life Master Pairs, first final


(1) BIT

The Facts: After the lead of the 5, 5 made eleven tricks, +600 for NS. South hesitated between 15 and 20 seconds before passing the double. The director was called after North started considering acting after the double.

The Ruling: The hesitation expressed doubt about the advisability of playing 3NT doubled. Pass is a logical alternative. Accordingly, by Law 16 the director adjusted the result to 3NT doubled, down one, +200 E-W.

The Appeal: North described his 3NT bid as "squirrelly," "not a good bid," and a result of "matchpoint mania." Once his LHO told him he had erred, by doubling, his only consideration was whether to bid 4 or 5. He thought that playing 3NT doubled would have been foolish and, therefore, not a logical alternative. EW contended that running from 3NT is right only when 3NT will not make and they suggested that seven Clubs in the South hand would often make 3NT cold. They also supported the director's finding that the hesitation suggested doubt about the success of 3NT doubled.

The Decision: The committee considered South's hesitation carefully. While the director thought that it showed doubt about the success of 3NT, the committee thought that South had insufficient information about North's values to be considering a call based on doubt. He might instead be considering redoubling. (South had testified that his hesitation was the result of thought about the meanings of Pass and Redouble in this sequence. He finally decided that the partnership had no agreement for them in this sequence.) Hence, the hesitation may not have demonstrably suggested the run from 3NT doubled.

The committee, however, based its final decision on there being no logical alternative to North's bidding over the double. Certainly, the 3NT bid was flaky when made, but when his LHO tells him he has made a mistake and he has a chance to reconsider such things as his defective diamond holding (for 3NT), his general weakness and his good club support, passing is not a logical alternative. If North is permitted to bid in this situation, then there is no reason for the committee to interfere with North's choice of bids. Accordingly, the committee permitted the 5 call and reinstated the table result of +600 NS.

The Committee: Michael Huston, chair, Jeff Roman, scribe, Mark Feldman and Barry Rigal.

Wildavsky: I agree with both the TD and AC decisions. A hesitation after a notrump contract has been doubled is prima facie evidence that a player is considering running. NS made some reasonable arguments, as did the AC. I suspect I'd have ruled as the AC did, but I don't consider the TD ruling a mistake. On my AC performance charts I'm marking this one as "too close to call."

Wolff: Right ruling and sour grapes from EW. If one wants to be sure and defend 3NT don't double since, when you do, it is very natural for both of the doubled partner's to consider their options.


CASE THREE
Subject: MI
DIC: Roger Putnam
Senior KO, round of 16

 

The Facts: 7 doubled failed by three tricks for +800 NS. The opening lead was the 9. The director was called after the completion of play. When 4NT was bid, South noted to West: "Not certain this is Aces, 1 - 4 - 4NT = general slam try. 1 - 4 not discussed." West asked South more questions. Before North bid 5, he noted to East: "Wants me to bid one over where I can play slam - I'm going to bid 5 saying I will play 6. He shows a control in spades." East did not ask North more questions. Both the 4NT and the 5 bids were Alerted by the bidder's partner.

The Ruling: No adjustment.

The Appeal: NS contended that their actual agreement was along the lines of North's explanation.

EW said that East inferred inaccurately that NS were likely to head to slam in clubs, not hearts; hence his lead directing 6 call. West considered bidding 6, not 7. He felt that facing a 7-5 shape, diamonds might play two tricks better than spades.

All four players attended the committee meeting.

The Decision: The committee learned from the NS testimony that the 4NT bid could be clubs, diamonds, or hearts with a slam try - but not the minors.

The committee decided that NS had given an accurate and full explanation of their agreements. North felt the explanation he had given was the partnership agreement. South indicated his uncertainty.

The root problem was that East inferred NS were heading to clubs because he had not appreciated from North's explanation that South might have a heart fit. The explanation was not, however, incomplete or inaccurate. It was up to East to inquire further if he did not understand the bid.

The committee felt that the EW players had created the problem for themselves. Because of the ambiguity of the explanations by South and the fact that the appeal had not been screened, no AWMW was given, even though EW should have been able to appreciate the weakness of their case.

The table result stands.

The Committee: Barry Rigal, chair, Jeff Roman, Riggs Thayer, David Berkowitz, Ed Lazarus and Gary Cohler.


CASE FOUR
Subject: MI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, first qualifying session



(1) Alerted and explained as singleton heart with good limit raise values and four spades.
(2) Slight BIT.

The Facts: 4 made four for a score for NS of +620 after the 10 opening lead. The director was called after the auction was complete. South explained their agreement that 2NT showed a singleton in either minor. West, away from the table, stated he would have doubled 2NT for the unbid suits.

The club lead was taken by the ace, declarer dropping the queen. West shifted to a spade won by the ace. Declarer led another spade to his king. At this point he led a heart, East ducked, and declarer played the king from dummy. Eventually two hearts were discarded on the two good clubs in his hand and two diamonds were conceded, making four.

The Ruling: The director ruled 4 making four for NS +620.

The Appeal: EW appealed. West argued that when 2NT was explained as showing short hearts, he declined to double 2NT because his partner might bid hearts and run into a bad break. With the correct explanation, he would have doubled 2NT. Partner would have known he held the diamond ace and would not have ducked the ace of hearts, thus setting 4.

Statements by the Other Side: This was the last round of the session. North was a bit tired and thus was slow to recall the meaning of 2NT. South argued that her 4 bid was clear. She started with 2NT to keep slam in the picture. NS argued against West's assertion that he would have doubled 2NT with the correct explanation. East could just as easily bid South short minor and run into a bad break.

The Decision: The committee agreed with NS that bridge logic did not make a double by West more attractive if South were short in a minor rather that short in hearts.

They considered the impact of UI that South had from North's temp and the MI. The tempo break seemed to be negligible, especially considering that North was recalling the meaning of an uncommon convention. The UI from the misexplanation might have slightly suggested that South bid on. Note, however, that North's actual hand was best opposite short hearts. Thus, the committee allowed the 4 bid and the table result to stand.

The committee seriously considered an AWMW, but considering West's statement away from the table, the misexplanation and the tempo break, that there was enough reason not to issue one.

The Committee: Doug Doub, chair, Ralph Cohen, Riggs Thayer, Richard Popper and Dick Budd.


CASE FIVE
Subject: MI
DIC: Steve Bates
Blue Ribbon Pairs, first day, second session



(1) 14-16 HCP.
(2) Cappelletti over weak 1NT but suction over strong 1NT. Alerted and explained as one suit after West asked.
(3) Alerted.

The Facts: The final contract was 2 down two, for a score +200 for NS. West asked about 2 before bidding 2 . The director was called after play was completed. NS have agreements as to their system over weak vs. strong 1NT bids, but not as to whether 14-16 was weak or strong.

The Ruling: The director ruled the result stands, NS + 200.

The Appeal: All four players attending the committee meeting. West bid 2 thinking that if North had a single suit, it was unlikely to be hearts. On the other hand, if North had diamonds or the majors, it was far more likely that he had the majors. This made it much more attractive to bid 2 with the wrong explanation than with the right information.

NS's actual agreement is that over 14-16 NT they play suction. South forgot. North, however, pre-Alerted (on a written card) that they play suction over the opponents' 1NT opening before South reached the table at the beginning of the round.

The Decision: Despite the pre-Alert, the committee found that the spoken answer to West's question about the meaning of 2 constituted misinformation and was substantially likely to have damaged the non-offending side. For a 6-card one suiter to be in hearts, the suit must be 6-2-0-5 around the table. This is unlikely. Hence, the committee found that the misinformation caused damage. If West Passed, North would bid 2 to show the majors. South would Pass thinking that North had hearts. EW do not play takeout doubles of 2 here by opener, so 2 would become the final contract.

No result other than down two was deemed at all probable, so the score was adjusted to NS -200 and EW +200.

The appeal was judged to have substantial merit.

The Committee: Jeff Goldsmith, chair, Jeff Roman, Aaron Silverstein, Peggy Sutherlin and Ed Lazarus.


CASE SIX
Subject: UI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Blue Ribbon Pairs, first qualifying session



(1) Precision, may be short.
(2) Three-card support for hearts.

The Facts: The final contract was 6 doubled making six for a score +1540 for EW. The double of 2 was Alerted and explained as a support double showing three-card heart support. The director was called after the auction was over, but before play began.

The Ruling: The director ruled that the result stands. Law 16 was cited. The UI (Alert) became authorized information since the 4 * bid was impossible. West was a passed hand and 4 could not be playable.

The Appeal: EW appealed. All players except North attended the committee meeting.

The Decision: The committee disagreed with the director ruling that 4 could not be a playable contract. The UI from the Alert made removing 4 more attractive. Because West had so many options over the double of 2, East would normally pass a jump to 4 here without UI. Thus passing 4 was clearly a logical alternative.

The play in 4 would therefore have to be reconstructed on a top club lead from North. While a trump to the ten had been suggested by the non-offenders, this was not considered a practical line. The only sensible line would be: A, club ruff, three rounds of spades ruffing in dummy, A, K, club from dummy ruffed with the 7 and over-ruffed with the 10. Having taken the first eight tricks declarer would exit with a diamond and would be assured two trump tricks from his * K Q.

The contract was changed to 4 making four for a score of 620 for both sides.

The appeal was judged to have substantial merit.

The Committee: Barry Rigal, chair, Jeff Meckstroth and Mark Bartusek.


CASE SEVEN
Subject: UI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Blue Ribbon Pairs, first qualifying session



(1) Alerted, limit or better in spades.
(2) BIT

The Facts: 7 doubled was down three for a score of NS -500 after the lead of the A. The director was called before the play and after play was complete. He determined that the 3 bid was Alerted, showing a hand that was limit or better in spades. EW alleged a 15-second break in tempo before the double of 6 . NS thought it was "a slight hesitation."

The director determined that the NS players were playing a system whereby the double of 6 shows by North zero or one trick on defense (North doubled since he had one trick.) The 7 bid by South shows zero tricks (one trick would require a Pass). With two tricks, the North hand should pass (not double). NS provided a written explanation of their system used in this case. The system explains their agreement and actions in this case.

The Ruling: The director found no basis for altering the table result.

The Decision: West was the only player to attend the hearing.

The committee reviewed the director's findings of fact concerning the NS agreements (in writing) concerning this auction and found the NS actions to be consistent with their agreements

The committee considered whether there was unauthorized information from the somewhat out-of-tempo-double by North. It decided that there was a break in tempo, but only a slight one and not one unusual for an auction at this level. Because it believed that most players would need a little time to collect their thoughts and work out the correct bid in this unusual an auction, it found that this slight break did not necessarily convey any information at all.

The committee found that the system notes sufficiently and clearly applied to this case that it rejected West's argument that there might be some lack of clarity on the issue of whether the agreement applied.

South's bid of 7 was based on the partnership's written agreements. The committee deemed that the risk that South's SQ might score a trick on some hands was not sufficient to find that Pass was a logical alternative to bidding 7.

The Committee: Richard Popper, chair, Doug Doub, Riggs Thayer, Ralph Cohen and Dick Budd.


CASE EIGHT
Subject: MI/UI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Blue Ribbon Pairs, first semifinal



The Facts: The final contract was 4 doubled making four for a score of +510 for NS after the opening lead of the 5. The 3 bid was not Alerted. The EW pair asked about its meaning and were told that it was pre-emptive. The director noted that North later said that he did not have enough for a limit raise and that South's poor choice of words to describe the bid was South's problem and should not restrict North's choices, because he was a maximum for their range. NS open light in third seat.

The Ruling: Because of the non-Alert of the 3 bid and South's explanation of North's bid and South√??√?¬Ę??s explanation that it was "pre-emptive" (or "pre-emptish"), the director found that there was unauthorized information giving rise to an adjustment under Law 16. Accordingly, he assigned the score of 3 , down one, +50 NS.

The Appeal: The NS partnership had discussed that 3 would be a weak bid by a passed hand. North said that he plays it as less than 10 HCP. South said that he plays it as the equivalent of a mixed raise, i.e. values but less than a limit raise. Both of the NS cards were marked as 3 = weak.

The Decision: At least three issues need to be clarified by the committee to determine whether there was misinformation, unauthorized information, or both.

Did the failure to Alert 3 constitute MI, UI, or both? The committee judged this to be irrelevant based on North√??√?¬Ę??s perception that the call did not require an Alert. Both cards were clearly marked with the partnership agreement.

Did South's explanation constitute MI, given that it was his duty to explain it in a way that his opponents could understand? The committee deprecated South's choice of words. "Pre-emptish" is not English. It not only makes no sense, it is probably misleading. An expert in the Laws owes a duty of care to his opponents and he did not live up to it. That said, the committee believed that the basic nature of the explanation was broadly correct - less than a limit raise. Whether it was 0-9 or 6-9 was not critical. Since North meant 3 as 0-9, the explanation of "pre-emptive" coincided with what he had.

Was there UI from South explaining North's hand as pre-emptive? The committee determined that there was not. North heard his partner give an explanation which was broadly in line with the way he had evaluated his hand. Although, none of the panel agreed with North's valuation of his hand, he was free to do as he liked. EW had both taken aggressive if reasonable bids. Just because they had both chosen a slight overbid (one that could have been fortified by a better opening lead) was no reason for an adjustment to be made.

Accordingly, the committee found no basis for an adjustment and left the table result (of +510 for NS) intact.

Second thoughts by one committee member (Adam Wildavsky): While I agreed with the AC decision at the time we made it, in retrospect I believe the TD was correct.

There were two issues, misinformation and unauthorized information. The TD ruling was based solely on the UI. The AC spent a great deal of time discussing the MI aspect of the case.

I believed then, and believe now, that if NS had a firm agreement that 3 showed less than invitational values, in other words less than a limit raise, then the explanation "pre-emptive" would have been accurate, and "pre-emptish" equally so. The literal meaning of "pre-emptive" is "with the primary intent of removing bidding room from the opponents" - it is not a synonym for "weak." Given the state of the ACBL convention card, even "weak" might be judged accurate, since the card offers only three choices, "Force," "Inv." and "Weak."

In fact, though, the misinformation aspect is a chimera. Both NS cards had the double raise marked as weak. With the North hand fitting within the ostensible parameters of "less than a limit raise" and with no evidence of a disagreement over the meaning of the call by the members of the partnership, the committee saw no basis for an adjustment. If we could adjust the scores of players with no evidence of an infraction the game would become unplayable.

What we missed was the significance of South's failure to Alert North's 3 call. That was prima facie evidence that NS were not on firm ground in the auction. In that light, South's explanation of "pre-emptish" could be considered as a hedge in case his partner in fact held invitational values.

The committee discounted the relevance of South's failure to Alert because East's question gave South the chance to offer the explanation he would have given had he Alerted. We should have considered the UI aspect more carefully, however. The fact that South did not Alert 3 is UI to North as is South's explanation of the 3 call. Together they ought to suggest to us that NS in fact had no agreement about jump raises of a minor by a passed hand. That being the case, there is a real possibility that North intended his call as a limit raise and learned from the explanation that his partner thought otherwise. That makes 4 more attractive to North, and since Pass is clearly a logical alternative, we ought to have done as the TD did and reverted the contract to 3 down one.

What does one say to a North player who asserts that he always intended his bid as pre-emptive and always intended to bid over 3 ? We believe you, but since a player who intended his bid as a limit raise might also have done as you did, we have no alternative but to adjust the score. Your partner can avoid this problem in the future by making sure to Alert all Alertable calls.

The Committee: Barry Rigal, chair, Riggs Thayer, Adam Wildavsky, Lou Reich and P. O. Sundelin.


CASE NINE
Subject: UI
DIC: Cukoff
Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, second Semifinal



(1) BIT.

The Facts: The contract was 5 making five after the 10 opening lead. The director was called before the 5 bid and again after the hand was over.

There was a distinct break in tempo by East after North's 4 call. The four players agreed that it was between 30 and 60 seconds. The director was called before the 5 bid by West and again after the play of the hand.

West told the director that he wanted to bid 3 at his second turn, but did not because he feared a misunderstanding.

The Ruling: The director determined that an unmistakable hesitation occurred, that Pass is a logical alternative for West, and that the hesitation demonstrably suggested the 5 bid. Accordingly, the score was adjusted to 4 by South, making five on a non-diamond lead (applying Law 12C2).

The Appeal: EW appealed the director's ruling on the basis that the hesitation did not demonstrably suggest the 5 call. They contend that East might just as well have been considering doubling.

Other Important Facts: The committee determined that EW opening preempts are very sound and that a second round 3 bid by West would have been a fit-showing jump, showing both clubs and diamonds.

The Decision: The committee judged what West knew about the four hands from the auction. Since he has 5 HCP and his partner has about 18-19 HCP, he knows that the opponents have about 16-17 HCP. Therefore their willingness to contract for 4 is an indication that they have a big heart fit and East is probably short in hearts.

The committee reasoned that if East had a hand with sure tricks, for example:
A K x x A K A x x x x x x, he would not just think about doubling, he would do it. So, East was probably thinking about bidding.

Was passing 4 a logical alternative for West? While most players would bid 5, since West chose to bid 3 on the previous round (instead, perhaps 4 or 5), for him passing is a logical alternative. Therefore, the score needs to be adjusted to 4 . Since a club lead is likely, the best score likely for the NOS and the worst at all probable for the OS is +450 to NS.

The Committee: Jeff Goldsmith, chair, Dick Budd, Jeff Roman, Jerry Gaer and Tom Peters.


CASE TEN
Subject: UI
DIC: Cukoff
Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, semi-final, second session



(1) Alerted as a Polish Club.
(2) Alerted and explained as showing a good minor.

The Facts: The final contract was 3 making three for a score of EW +140 after the 6 opening lead. The director was called after the 3 bid. He determined that the 1 bid showed 12-14 balanced or 18+ balanced, or unbalanced and 16+. The 3 bid was not Alerted, but was a pass-or-correct bid.

The Ruling: The director determined that West forgot the partnership agreement that 2 showed a minor. The Alert provided an explanation which provided West with unauthorized information. The director ruled that Pass was a logical alternative under Law 16A and adjusted the table result to 3 by EW for -300 EW and +300 NS.

The Appeal: East noted that without the Alert and subsequent explanation of a "good minor," 3 would show a 16+ unbalanced hand and West would surely have bid 3. He added that since 3 does not exist as a bid in this sequence, he would have passed the 3 bid.

South contended that although 3 would have shown 16+ with clubs; there would have been a presumption that it was corrective in nature since 2 would have shown a hand that was not very good. Therefore, passing 3 was a logical alternative.

The Decision: The committee found that the Alert and explanation of 2 and the failure to Alert 3 bid provided unauthorized information to both East and West. West was informed that things were going wrong when his 2 bid was Alerted and explained as a "good minor." East's unauthorized information was in the form of his 3 bid not being Alerted as "pass or correct."

The committee decided that 3 would be a long minor and a spade card trying for a light 3NT and that East would accept and bid 3NT. North would double, and whether EW ended in 3NT doubled or 4 doubled, NS would get 100 and EW would be -100. Accordingly, the committee assigned an adjusted result of NS +100 and E-W -100

The Committee: Jeff Goldsmith, chair, Jeff Roman, Dick Budd, Jerry Gaer and Tom Peters.


CASE ELEVEN
Subject: UI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, first semi-final

 

(1) Pick a slam.
(2) One to two-minute BIT.

The Facts: The final contract was 6 making six for a score of EW +980 after the opening lead of the 8.

The play went: A club was led to the ace. The A K were cashed and a diamond ruffed. The A K were played, pitching clubs, a club was led to the king which was ruffed by South. A heart was returned and ruffed by East, who then claimed on a high cross-ruff.

The Ruling: The director ruled that the result would stand. He felt that East's previous bidding gave West enough information so that he knows that 6 can't be the right contract.

The Appeal: NS contended that the slow tempo of the 6 bid suggested that East was not confident about actually playing in hearts and therefore might not have the requisite holding of a singleton honor (or better) that would support such a contract.

East said that he wanted to offer a choice between 6 and 6NT; he thought his diamonds were too weak (on the auction) for 6. He feared that 6 would be read as a grand slam try. He thought that 6 was not a possible contract after he had shown length in all other suits, so that a 6 bid would get his message across. West said that his Hearts were too weak for 6 , whatever East meant by it. With three good Spades, 6 was an easy choice.

The Decision: East's 6 was ill-conceived and should have been an offer to play with 4=1=5=3 shape and an honor in hearts. However, West had no logical alternative to 6, which should have been a better contract even if East had the 4=1=5=3 hand (East should have at least three clubs for his redouble of 3 since it's an offer to play). Therefore, the committee decided that the table result would stand.

Despite the finding of no logical alternative to 6, and despite South's failure to defeat the slam by returning a trump after ruffing the second club, the committee found sufficient merit in this appeal to decline to issue an AWMW.

The Committee: Bart Bramley, chair, Mark Feldman, Mark Bartusek, Abby Heitner and Michael Rosenberg.
 


CASE TWELVE
Subject: MI
DIC: Henry Cukoff
Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, first Semifinal



(1) Limited opening bid with clubs, Precision.

The Facts: The contract was 3NT after the 8 opening lead. Declarer took eight tricks, down one, for +50 E-W. The director was called after play ceased. He determined that the opening lead was won by West's J. West returned a club and Declarer won the king. The J was led (uncovered) to the K, and West pitched a club. At this point in the play, Declarer asked about opening leads and was told "standard." He then asked about "top of nothing" and was told "standard." He then played K and a Diamond. East won and continued a club.

The Ruling: The director ruled there would be no adjustment. The staff asked several players about this situation and all said 'standard' was insufficient to cover and a specific question on leads from three needed to be asked to gain the desired information, as most players do not know what 'standard' is in these situations.

The Appeal: Declarer claimed that leading high from three small is not standard in partner's non-raised suit. He asked specifically about leads form two small and four small but did not ask about three small for fear of revealing his own holding. He did ask "What do you lead from top of nothing?" and was told "standard." He did not look at the NS convention card. He stated that if his RHO had seven clubs, then by playing on Diamonds would give him ten top tricks with squeeze chances for eleven.

Appellees said that they answered all the questions that were asked of them. They did not deduce that declarer's main interest was three small because he never asked about it. Their convention card was accurately marked.

The Decision: North failed to ask about the specific holding he cared about. He failed to examine the EW convention card, which indicated (by the ACBL default in bold) a lead of high from three small against notrump contracts. He rejected the indicated line of finessing hearts through West, who was a big favorite to hold the Q for his opening bid (after East had shown up with the Q). Furthermore, taking the heart finesse presented no greater jeopardy of a club return than his actual play which guaranteed losing the lead to East.

For their part, EW might have been more explicit than "standard" when describing their leads from all small cards, where "standard" is a matter of some debate.

The committee rejected the appeal and allowed the table result to stand for both sides. EW were cautioned to be more careful in their explanations. Because North failed to ask a specific question about leads from three small; failed to acknowledge that "standard" could include high from three small; and declined to take an obvious line of play that was demonstrably superior to his own line; the committee ruled that this appeal easily passed the "waste of time" test for appeals without merit. Accordingly, the committee issued an AWMW to North and South.

The Committee: Bart Bramley, chair, Mark Feldman, Mark Bartusek, Abby Heitner and Michael Rosenberg.


CASE THIRTEEN
Subject: Failure to Alert
DIC: Chris Patrias
NABC Swiss Team, first qualifying



The Facts: 6NT made seven for a score of +1470 after the 10 opening lead. EW do not play "checkback" over 2NT. The 3 bid, according to their system, showed a hand that was 4-4 in the majors. Neither East nor West said anything about this agreement before the opening lead

The Ruling: The director let the table result stand. The director determined that the A lead was not at all likely even if the correct information had been given to the defenders prior to the opening lead. Therefore, there was no basis for an adjustment.

The Appeal: NS argued that sometimes a player will upgrade his hand to account for the trick-taking potential of a long suit, then arriving in 6NT with fewer than 32 or 33 HCP. Had South known that dummy would hold long hearts, he might have led his A. He seriously considered it as it was.

EW contended that the lead of the A could only be necessary to set the contract if the opponents had bid 6NT with 31 or fewer HCP. At IMPs, the lead of the A was a highly unlikely choice, regarding the meaning of the meaning of West's 3 bid.

The Decision: The committee discovered from the EW pair (a pair with a partnership history of only six or seven sessions) that while they do play that the 3 bid shows 4-4 in the majors, they had not discussed how to distinguish between 4-4 and 4-5 in the majors.

EW failed to explain the meaning of 3 correctly and the correct explanation would make the opening lead of the A more attractive. The committee judged that an Alert and a correct explanation before the opening lead would still not raise the A to the level of being "at all probable," which is the standard serving as a basis for a score adjustment. Thus, the table result was allowed to stand.

The committee decided to educate the EW pair on their responsibilities as declarer and dummy to correct their partner's misexplanation prior to the opening lead. This appeal would not have taken place if that obligation had been fulfilled.

The committee was divided as to the merit of this appeal, some members believing that the A would be a very poor lead, regardless of the explanation. Others thought that the incorrect explanation might well have had some impact on the lead chosen by this player. In a close call, the committee decided not to assign an AWMW.

The Committee: Doug Doub, chair, Mike Kovacich, Tom Peters, Lou Reich and Joann Sprung.
 


CASE FOURTEEN
Subject: UI
DIC: Chris Patrias
Keohane North American Swiss Teams, first qualifying, second session



(1) Precision, artificial 16+.
(2) 8+ points.
(3) Heart support and shortness somewhere.
(4) Asks for shortness.
(5) Shows club shortness.
(6) Extras. BIT.

The Facts: The contract was 4 making four for a score of NS +420 after the opening lead of the 6. Before bidding 3NT, there was an agreed 10 second BIT at which point the director was called. The 3NT bid was Alerted as showing extra given the sequence of bids.

The Ruling: The director ruled that the result stood, 4 by East making four.

The Appeal: NS appealed. They felt that the tempo created UI that kept West from bidding on over 4 .

The Decision: At the committee hearing, NS claimed that because there had been a hesitation before the 3NT bid, West had unauthorized information and should have bid something other than 4 , thus driving the auction past 4 . When asked what hand would produce a good play for slam which was consistent with EW's bidding system, NS were unable to construct such a hand.

EW testified that under their methods, the 3NT bid showed maximum values consistent with the prior auction, but a hand which did not have five hearts. Since East was limited to a maximum of 9 high-card points, the best card to add to East's hand would be the J, but EW stated that even this would not make bidding toward a slam a good proposition. Further, even if West bid 4, East would simply sign off with this hand.

The AC was not convinced that there had been any UI. The EW pair were in a complex auction and East would often need time on an auction like this to remember the meaning of various bids and to select the one that properly reflected her hand. Even if there was UI, however, the committee could find only one hand which would make slam a reasonable proposition, one such as J 10 x A 10 x x x x x A x x. Even if East held this hand, West would not have been able to find out about it at a safe level, if at all.

Accordingly, the committee determined that the UI, if there was any, did not suggest any action by West which would result in EW bidding beyond 4 .

The committee determined that this was an appeal without merit and gave NS an AWMW.

The Committee: Richard Popper, chair, Bob White, Lowell Andrews, Abby Heitner and Dick Budd.


CASE FIFTEEN
Subject: MI
DIC: Chris Patrias
Keohane North American Swiss Teams, second final



(1) Explained by South to West as a transfer.

The Facts: The contract was 3 doubled making three for a score of NS +670 after the opening lead of the A. The director was called at the conclusion of play of the next hand. The director determined that NS have no agreement that 2 was a transfer.

The Ruling: The contract was changed to 2 by south down two for NS -200. Law 75 regarding misinformation was cited.

The Appeal: EW felt they were entitled to have the same explanations on each side of the screen. Holding only two spades, East would let 2 play without a double.

Statements by the Other Side: NS said they had no partnership agreement that 2 was a transfer in this auction. South indicated he had drawn an ineffective parallel with other notrump auctions.

Additional Facts: The director had been called after the next deal since West only became aware of the problem during the bidding of the next hand.

The Decision: The committee determined that South had invented an agreement when he bid 2 as a transfer. Hence, he had effectively psyched and North had given East the correct partnership agreement.

West had MI, but his action of passing 2 and doubling 2 was not based on damage from the MI. He knew what South had.

Equally East was not damaged by MI since she had the correct partnership explanation. Additionally, although there was no obligation for East to work out what was going on, the fact that she had four hearts, West must have at least three, and dummy had promised two or more, meant South could not have five hearts.

The only issue was whether West's final double or East's final pass was influenced by MI. No link was found. South's idiosyncratic method of bidding his hand was responsible for the result but that was not covered by the laws.

Since there was no damage the table result of NS +670 was restored.

The Committee: Barry Rigal, chair, Richard Popper, Doug Doub, Gary Cohler and Chris Willenken.
 


CASE SIXTEEN
Subject: Tempo
DIC: Jeff Alexander
Education Fund KO Teams, Bracket 5, Thursday Evening Nov. 17, 2005



(1) Michaels (at least 5-5).
(2) Disputed brief BIT.
(3) Agreed BIT.

The Facts: The result was 4 by West making five, EW +650, after the opening lead of the A. The director was called after the auction ended and advised of the BITs. The first one was disputed, but all players agreed to a noticeable BIT by East before passing 3.

The Ruling: The director determined that an unmistakable hesitation occurred, that pass was a logical alternative for West after the 4 call and that the hesitation demonstrably suggested a 4 bid. The score was changed to 4 by North, down four, for a score of EW +400 (Law 16A, 12C2).

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. All players attended the hearing. North had 1250 masterpoints, South 800, East 145, and West 320. The players confirmed to the reviewer the facts noted by the director. West said he would always bid 4, to either make or as a cheap save. He didn't want to double 4, as NS had a double fit and East's defensive potential was unknown. East said he would have bid 4 himself, had West passed 4. NS pointed out that West had already bid 2, then 3. If a 4 bid was clear, he should have bid it earlier.

The Decision: One player, with almost 400 masterpoints, was given West's hand to bid, without any UI. He repeated West's 2 and 3 calls, but then passed over 4. This established pass as an LA. Two players with about 150 masterpoints were given East's hand to bid. One player bid 4 over 3. The second player bid 4 after 4-Pass-Pass. This pattern of bidding is consistent with many inexperienced players, who make the cheapest possible bid, but don't sell out.

The panel cancelled West's 4 bid, substituting a pass, (Law 16A), but decided passing was not an LA for East, after 4-Pass-Pass. The panel assigned a contract of 4 by West, making five, +650 EW.

Players Consulted: Three peers of EW.


CASE SEVENTEEN
Subject: Tempo - Card Played
DIC: Terry Lavender
Sunday-Monday KO Bracket 4, Sunday November 20, 2005
Panel: Matt Smith (reviewer), John Ashton and Gary Zeiger.



The Facts: The result was 6 down one, EW + 100, after the opening lead of the K. The director was called after trick five. The play to that point had been club king opening lead winning; Q ruffed by declarer; A winning; heart ruffed in dummy; J, 8, low, king. NS called the director and reported that West had "hitched" before playing the singleton 8 of spades.

The Ruling: The director ruled that West had no demonstrable bridge reason not to play the 8 smoothly and that an opponent had drawn a false inference because of the way it was played. The director adjusted the score to 6 making six, NS +1430 (Laws 73F2 and 12C.2).

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. All players attended the hearing. North had 1200 masterpoints, South 780, East 800, and West 445. North told the reviewer that it took West five seconds to play the 8, and that even though West played slowly before and after this deal, this hesitation was longer than normal for her. South agreed that West took five seconds and stated that in other instances she noticed that West often paused at the end of a trick but she did not consistently pause this long when she actually played her cards. East said that West played her card in a normal tempo for her. West said she played the card in four or four and one-half seconds, but that length of time was "at her pace." The reviewer asked North about what his plan for the play had been. He said that he was planning to play for the drop, but he adopted the line of play he chose to see whether West gave anything away by her tempo to the spade jack being played from dummy.

The Decision: The panel believed, on balance, the evidence suggested that West broke proper tempo when she played the 8. Two sections of Law 73 are relevant in deciding this kind of case. Law 73D2 states: "It is desirable, though not always required, for players to maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner. However, players should be particularly careful in positions in which variations may work to the benefit of their side. Otherwise, inadvertently to vary the tempo or manner in which a call or play is made does not in itself constitute a violation of propriety, but inferences from such variation may appropriately be drawn only by an opponent, and at his own risk."

Law 73F2 states: "If the Director determines that an innocent player has drawn a false inference from a remark, manner, tempo, or the like, of an opponent who has no demonstrable bridge reason for the action, and who could have known, at the time of the action, that the action could work to his benefit, the director shall award an adjusted score (see Law 12C)."

The panel believed that 73D2 should apply to this situation. Based on the testimony of the players regarding West‚??s normal tempo the panel believed that West had inadvertently varied her tempo. Further, due to the way North had played the deal in an attempt to get a reaction from West, he was not seen to be an "innocent" player according to 73F2, so he was at his own risk from the inference he drew that West held K-8 of spades. The panel also considered that any hesitation by West in this particular situation was not safely an indication to North of a holding of K 8 anyway, since given the auction considering covering with that holding would be unlikely. The panel assigned a score of 6 down one, NS -100.

Despite finding West's BIT "inadvertent," the panel was nonetheless concerned with West's failure to pay particular care to playing in proper tempo in an obviously tempo sensitive situation. EW were assigned a 1.5 IMP PP as a reminder to West to conform to proper procedure.

Players Consulted: None.


CASE EIGHTEEN
Subject: Tempo
DIC: Terry Lavender
Saturday-Sunday KO Teams Bracket 1, Sunday November 20, 2005
Panel: Matt Smith (reviewer), John Ashton and Gary Zeiger.
 


(1) Agreed BIT.

The Facts: The result was 5 doubled by West making seven, EW +1250, after the opening lead of the 3. The director was called after the auction and told that East had broken tempo over the 5 bid. NS claimed the hesitation was 15 seconds, West said five seconds, and East did not offer a time but said, "he had to think." East told the director that he did not bid 5 because he feared driving the opponents to a making 6 contract.

The Ruling: The director determined that an unmistakable BIT occurred, that pass was a logical alternative action for a West who treated his hand as a preempt and that the hesitation demonstrably suggested not passing. The score was changed to 5 by South, down two, NS -200 (Law 16A, 12C2).

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. Only East and West attended the hearing since NS had left the room before the ruling was appealed. East had 3500 masterpoints and West had 3800. East told the reviewer that his hesitation over 5 was 10-15 seconds and West said it was 5-10 seconds. West stated that he had no defense against 5 and that he thought he needed very little from his partner to make 5 a good save. He expected to go down two for a good score against 5 (when he first spoke to the reviewer he recalled that he was not vulnerable). He said he considered double at his first turn but decided to bid 4 opposite a passed hand partner.

The Decision: The panel first decided that an unmistakable hesitation had occurred. The panel then polled six peers of West and two experts regarding his choice of calls over 5-Pass-Pass. Both experts chose 4 at the first turn (one said there were many possibilities). After 5-Pass-Pass, both doubled. When they were later told that partner had hesitated over 5, both said that they thought it suggested doubling rather than bidding 5. When asked, one expert said he believed that the hesitation suggested 5 over pass but that pass was not a possibility.

Of the peers, three doubled at their first turn, one bid 4, one bid 1, and one bid 2. With varying degrees of acceptance, four of the five who did not choose 4 said they could live with a 4 bid. The one who bid 4 passed out 5. The one who did not accept 4 at his first turn said that if he was forced to take that action he would live with the consequences and pass out 5. The four other peers all acted and thought action was clear. Two doubled, one bid 5 and one bid 5.

With this input, and particularly in light of the argument West made to the reviewer, and what that indicated about how he viewed the hand, the panel decided that pass was a logical alternative. As well, the panel decided that the hesitation demonstrably suggested not passing. The panel assigned a score of 5 by South down two, NS -200 (Laws 16 and 12C2). The appeal was found to have merit.

Players Consulted: Sabine Auken, Chip Martel and six peers of West.
 


CASE NINETEEN
Subject: MI
DIC: Su Doe
Fast Pairs, second Session, November 20, 2005



(1) Alerted (erroneously).

The Facts: The result was 6 by South made six, NS +1430. The opening lead was the 10. The director was called at the end of play and told that before the lead North explained 3 as a feature, when asked by West. South told the director that she intended her bid as Ogust (bad hand, bad suit), but that she was momentarily confused and forgot that she did not play Ogust with this partner. The convention cards were both fully filled out and each showed in the appropriate section that 2NT was forcing but not what method was used in response to it. One convention card had RONF noted in the section for two bids.

The Ruling: The director ruled no evidence was presented to prove that NS were playing features, or that they had agreed to anything other than 2NT being forcing in response to a weak two bid. Therefore, the director ruled mistaken explanation rather than mistaken bid (Law 75) and that EW were entitled to a verbal correction by South before the lead. Had this correction occurred, West would be likely to lead the A. The score was changed to 6 by South down one, NS -100 (Law 12C2).

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. All players attended the hearing. North had 5500 masterpoints, South 2200, East 1080, and West 920. North and South told the reviewer they had agreed to play features. South said she plays Ogust with another partner but not this one. When asked why the convention cards did not show features as the response structure, North said that in her area it was common not to do so, since if nothing was marked features was assumed to be the method used. West told the reviewer she assumed South had the club king from the explanation she received, but if she had been told that the response was Ogust she would have led the A.

The Decision: The panel investigated whether the way NS had marked their cards indicated they had agreed to play features, and if not, whether West might have led the A after a corrected explanation by South. Many players were consulted (approximately 10) on whether they believed convention cards marked this way indicated that features had been agreed and how they personally marked their own convention card when they had agreed to play the method. All agreed that a pair playing Ogust would always be expected to note it on the card. All but one said that when they play features they write it on the card.

When asked what they would think a pair was playing if they did not mark anything, most said that it probably indicated features were agreed by default but only one of those players thought that this assumption was definitive. Law 75 D2 states that when a player's partner has given a mistaken explanation this is the procedure: "After calling the director at the earliest legal opportunity (after the final pass, if he is to be declarer or dummy, after play ends if he is to be a defender), the player must inform the opponents that, in his opinion, his partner's explanation was erroneous."

As well, the footnote to Law 75 instructs the director to "presume mistaken explanation, rather than mistaken bid, in the absence of evidence to the contrary." While the panel believed the evidence from the convention cards was some indication the explanation was correct, it was not persuasive enough to relieve South of her obligation to inform the opponents that misinformation had occurred.

The panel ruled that South was required to tell the opponents that they had not formed a firm agreement that 3 was showing a feature (although not necessarily that she intended her bid as Ogust). When four peers were polled about what they would lead with the uncorrected information, three said they would lead a heart or a spade and one said she would lead the ace of clubs. Of the three who did not choose a club, two said they would lead the ace of clubs if South had offered the correction mandated by the panel.

Therefore, the panel assigned the score of 6 by South down one, NS -100 (Law 12C2). The appeal was found to have merit.

Players Consulted: Four peers of West and approximately 10 other players.


CASE TWENTY
Subject: Claim
DIC: John Gram
Stratified Open Pairs, first session, November 20, 2005
Panel: Matt Smith (reviewer), John Ashton and Gary Zeiger.



(1) Alerted and explained as diamond support.
(2) West said "I guess I was wrong."

The Facts: The director was called after East claimed without a statement after trick 11. The play to that point had been as follows. The opening lead was the 7 won by the ace. A heart was led to the queen losing to the king. South shifted to the 4, declarer winning with the 8. Declarer next cashed the A and the Q and then led another heart that South ruffed with the 10.

South exited with the Q, won by East's king. Declarer cashed the A and K and then played the A, followed by a club to the J. At this point, EW had lost two tricks and this was the position.



East explained to the director he thought it was obvious there was a high trump out and he thought it was understood he planned to play a heart to trick twelve. South believed East should be forced to play a spade to trick twelve and lose the last two tricks to her spade queen and low club.

The Ruling: The director believed East's earlier play made it clear he was aware of the outstanding high trump (Law 70C) and that resolving the claim as equitably to both sides, resolving any doubtful points against the claimer (Law 70A), should result in declarer winning the last two tricks. The score of 4 making four, EW +420 was assigned by the director.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. All players attended the hearing, but the reviewer interviewed NS and EW separately out of necessity. North had 442 masterpoints, South 281, East 375, and West 415. The players confirmed to the reviewer the facts noted by the director. North added that when she pointed out to East that he had to lose a trick he said "You are right, I need to lose both."

East told the reviewer he did say that, but it was in response to South. South stated (erroneously) that she could direct the sequence of the claimer's plays in the absence of a statement. East said he did not know this was not true when he made the statement (to South) that he needed to lose both. East repeated to the reviewer that he knew the Q was out and that he never would have led the J to trick 12.

The Decision: The panel considered whether there was a chance that East had forgotten the trump position when he claimed. The law states that a claim should be accompanied at once by a statement of clarification (Law 68C). Law 70C states that a claimer must lose a trick to an outstanding trump if he does not mention it, if it could be lost in normal play (careless or inferior, but not irrational play for the class of player involved), and if it is at all likely that the claimer at the time of his claim was unaware that a trump remained in an opponent's hand. The first two conditions were present, but the panel believed that the third was not.

Although the claim could have been made several tricks earlier, the panel found it compelling that declarer had stopped playing trumps after he cashed the king (he would have played the jack at that point if he believed there was or even might be a low trump outstanding). As well, North had played a red card on the K. Given the shortness of the trump fit and the size of the outstanding trump, the panel did not think it at all likely that this claimer had forgotten South had the Q.

The panel assigned the score of 4 by East made four, EW +420. Particularly since NS apparently misunderstood East's remark at the table to indicate that he agreed he had forgotten about the trump, the appeal was found to have merit.

Players Consulted: None


CASE TWENTY-ONE
Subject: UI
DIC: John Gram
Open Pairs, second session, November 20, 2005
Panel: Gary Zeiger (reviewer), Ron Johnston and Matt Smith.



The Facts: The result was 3NT by East, making three, +600 EW, after the opening lead of the 9. The director was called after dummy came down, and informed West had announced, without being asked, before bidding 3 , that she was taking 2NT as Jacoby. She then tabled a dummy inconsistent with treating 2NT as Jacoby. After the deal, NS were also concerned with possible use of UI by East when he bid 3NT.

The Ruling: The director ruled the UI from West's illegal announcement did not demonstrably suggest the 3NT call, and allowed the table result to stand. Law 16.A did not apply.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. NS attended the hearing. EW had left the playing area before NS lodged their appeal. EW were reached the next day, and informed of the decision. Since the salient facts had been confirmed by the table director, EW's testimony was not considered critical to a fair resolution of the appeal. North had 1479 masterpoints, South 686, East 1580 and West 1657.

NS told the reviewer that East's 3NT rebid was not automatic and was obviously suggested by the UI. If East had no reason to believe West had misinterpreted 2NT, a 3 rebid, on A Q doubleton, opposite a presumed two-suiter was a stand out. They didn't know what might happen after a 3 rebid, but were sure West would not bid 3NT with a stiff spade.

The Decision: Two players with 1500 to 2000 masterpoints were given East's hand to bid without any UI. Each player bid 2NT, invitational, at his first turn, and then rebid 3 . Neither player could conceive of a different action. One player, with 1900 masterpoints, was given West's hand to bid. He was told that 2NT was systemically Jacoby. He didn't understand the 3 rebid, as opposed to 3, but said it didn't affect his next call. He planned on rebidding 4 after any rebid by East other than Blackwood.

The panel decided West's illegal announcement had given East UI which demonstrably suggested the 3NT bid (Law 16A.2). Based on peer input, the panel decided a 3 rebid by East was an LA, not suggested by the UI. Within the parameters of Law 12C.2, the panel assigned a contract of 4 by West, down one, +100 NS.

Players Consulted: Three peers of EW


CASE TWENTY-TWO
Subject: Tempo
DIC: John Gram
Open Pairs, first Session, November 20, 2005
Panel: Harry Falk (reviewer), Gary Zeiger and Matt Smith.



(1) STOP card used.
(2) 20-30 second BIT.

The Facts: The result was 5 by East, down one, +100 for NS, after the opening lead of the A. The director was called after North bid 5. He was advised of South's BIT after East's 4 bid. The director was called back to the table after the deal.

The Ruling: The director disallowed North's 5 bid, as a violation of Law 16A and assigned a contract of 4 by East, making four, +620 EW per Law 12C.2

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had 1292 masterpoints, South 1000, East 2330 and West 2330. The reviewer asked the players to recreate the auction, using bidding boxes, as close to actual time used as they could recall. The reviewer timed the BIT as about 20 seconds, enough of a break beyond the required 10 seconds to establish an unmistakable hesitation. North said he didn't feel his hand warranted a club raise before the opponents reached game. Once they bid game, he thought he had a good save, non-vulnerable vs. vulnerable.

The Decision: Two players with 1000 to 1500 masterpoints were given North's hand to bid, without any UI. Both players considered bidding 3 over 2 , but were willing to accept a pass. Each player then passed over 4. When asked what information any BIT by partner, over 4 might give them, they each said partner must be thinking about bidding again.

The panel decided there had been an unmistakable hesitation by South after the 4 call, which gave North UI demonstrably suggesting the 5 bid. The 5 bid was disallowed, per Law 16.A The panel assigned a result of 4 by East, making four, for a score of +620 for EW per Law 12C.2. The panel further decided the appeal (just barely) had merit.

Players Consulted: Two peers of NS.
 


CASE TWENTY-THREE
Subject: Tempo
DIC: Bob Leonard
Daylight Open Pairs, first session, November 21, 2005
Panel: Bernie Gorkin (reviewer), Tom Whitesides and Matt Smith.



(1) STOP card used.
(2) Two minute BIT, agreed.

The Facts: The result was 5 doubled by North, down one, +200 EW, after the opening lead of the A. The director was called after the 4 bid, informed of the BIT, then called back after the deal was played.

The Ruling: The director allowed the table result to stand, saying there was no LA to East's 4 bid, so no violation of Law 16A had occurred.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had 2000 masterpoints, South 2000, East 146 and West 598. The BIT after South's 4 bid was agreed by all players to be very long. NS claimed that with a defensive trick, pass by East was a possible action, instead of 4. They also said they had been ruled against in a similar situation in 1983. EW said they do play negative doubles, but in their style the 1 bid only guaranteed at least four. East said that with seven spades and four-card support for partner's first bid suit, she had little defense.

The Decision: Six players with 150 to 250 masterpoints were given East's hand to bid, without any UI. All six bid 4 without much thought. Since an AWMW was a possibility, the reviewer also polled two players with about 2000 masterpoints about what they would do with the East hand. Each player thought 4 automatic. The panel ruled there was no LA to East's 4 bid, thus no violation of Law 16A. The panel also decided the appeal lacked substantial merit, and assigned an AWMW to NS.

Players Consulted: Two peers of NS and six peers of EW.


CASE TWENTY-FOUR
Subject: Claim
DIC: Doug Grove
Compact KO Teams, Bracket 7, semi-final, November 21, 2005
Panel: Bernie Gorkin (reviewer) and Gary Zeiger.



(1) Limit raise.

The Facts: The result was 4 doubled by West, making four, +790 for EW, after the opening lead of the A. This was the first board of a six-board KO segment. The director was called after completion of play on board 30 and told NS wished to withdraw their acquiescence to a claim. The play had proceeded: Two top hearts by North, declarer ruffing the second. Declarer drew three rounds of trump, ending in dummy, with South pitching the J on the third round. Declarer played two high diamonds, ending in hand. At trick eight, declarer claimed, in this position, saying, "You get two high clubs."



NS stated that South could win the first club, play his last heart, forcing declarer to ruff, and leaving North with a good heart when he won his A.

The Ruling: The director allowed the table result to stand, citing Law 69B. The director stated it would be careless or inferior, but not irrational, for North to play the A on the first round of clubs, allowing 4 to make, since South had pitched a heart on the third round of trumps.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had 346 masterpoints, South 573, East 914, and West 1112. NS stated South was marked with the K from his 3 bid, which meant ducking the A was automatic. They had not worked out what should have happened until after completing the segment.

The Decision: As noted in the director's citing of Law 69B, once acquiescence occurs, the burden of proof for withdrawal switches to the acquiescing side. If ducking the A was automatic, NS should have been able to work out the consequences before acquiescing to the claim. The panel agreed with the director's judgment that, "for this class of player" rising with the A would be careless or inferior, but not irrational.

The panel thought the length of time it took NS to work out the position was significant. If NS had worked out the position after beginning the auction on the very next board, the panel would have been more inclined to rule in favor of NS. The panel assigned a result of 4 doubled, making four, +790 EW.

Players Consulted: None


CASE TWENTY-FIVE
Subject: MI
DIC: Sol Weinstein
Open Pairs, first session, November 22, 2005
Panel: Ron Johnston (reviewer), Charlie MacCracken and Matt Smith.



(1) 15-17.
(2) Alerted and explained as clubs or 4-4-4-1.

The Facts: The result was 3 by South, down three, -300 for NS, after the opening lead of the 9. The director was called after the deal was played. NS claimed the 2NT bid was an illegal convention and they had been damaged by its use. EW claimed the explanation was incorrect. They said 2NT just shows clubs. A note on the convention card said they played the same structure as over 1NT openers.

The Ruling: The director ruled that 2NT was illegal, since the convention cards suggested it did not guarantee a known suit. EW's score was adjusted to 3 by West, down one, +50 NS. For NS, the damage was perceived to be unrelated to the convention. When South bid 3, she knew East had shown just clubs. For NS, the table result of 3 down three, +300 EW was allowed to stand.

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had 8550 masterpoints, South 1313, East 925 and West 971. EW said the opponents had not been placed in an unfair situation. When the 3 bid came around to South, the illegal adjunct had become irrelevant. South should have been on her own. NS thought an assigned score for both pairs was in order.

The Decision: If EW were not actually playing the 4-4-4-1 part of the 2NT bid, West should never have mentioned it. The convention cards supported the notion that they indeed were playing it. EW were assessed a one-fourth board PP for playing an illegal convention. Since the only part of their agreement which was illegal had no bearing on the deal, the table result was restored for both sides. The panel assigned a result of 3 by South, down three, +300 EW.

Players Consulted: None.


CASE TWENTY-SIX
Subject: MI
DIC: Matt Smith
Mini-Blue Ribbon Pairs, first qualifying session, November 22, 2005
Panel: Ron Johnston (reviewer), Su Doe and Roger Putnam.



(1) 15-17.
(2) Not Alerted, but intended as spade raise. East belatedly said it showed any one-suited hand.
(3) One ace.

The Facts: The result was 4 by South, down three, +300 for EW, after the opening lead of the 3. The director was called when dummy came down and again at the end of the deal.

The Ruling: The director ruled it was at all probable that South would have passed 2 had he known West's bid was a constructive spade raise, the actual agreement (Law 40C, 12C.2). For NS, the director ruled it wasn't likely South would pass and the subsequent damage was unrelated to the misinformation. The table result stood for NS, -300.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. Only NS attended the review, although EW had been notified. North had 3358 masterpoints, South 2834, East 1718, and West 2278. North said, if he had known 2 wasn't natural, he had an easy 2 bid available as a transfer to 3. When he thought 2 was natural, he didn't think he could risk the confusion a 2 bid might cause. On this hand, South would have super-accepted by bidding 2NT and then pass North's 3 bid. NS both said they would pass if West competed to 3. Confusion obviously arose during the actual auction, none of which would have occurred had they known 2 wasn't natural.

The Decision: Several experts were consulted about various aspects of both North's and South's bidding problems. Additionally, two players were given the West hand to bid, if NS stopped in 3. The consensus of the responses was there was zero chance South would pass out 2. The two players who bid the West hand each bid 3, rather than pass out 3. Based on expert input, NS passing out 3, was not deemed "likely" or "at all probable."

South's 4 bid, in the actual auction, was considered a failure to play bridge. If not for that, NS would have played 4, the result the expert input suggested was both "likely" and "at all probable." For NS the Panel assigned a result of 4 by South, down three, for NS -300. For EW, the panel decided they were not entitled to benefit from the confusion their MI gave NS. EW were assigned a result of 4 by North, down one, +100 EW. The appeal clearly had merit.

Players Consulted: Eddie Wold, Jeff Miller, Larry Mori, Don Stack, Corinne Kirkham and Claude Vogel.

 


CASE TWENTY-SEVEN
Subject: UI
DIC: Matt Smith
Mini-Blue Ribbon Pairs, second qualifying session, November 22, 2005
Panel: Ron Johnston (reviewer), Bernie Gorkin and Gary Zeiger.



The Facts: The result was 6 by South, making six, +920 NS, after the opening lead of the K. The director was called before North bid 5 and told that South had just blurted out, "I didn't see those doubles." NS confirmed the remark. The director was called back after the deal was played. West further alleged that North had taken out a different bid card 4, before bidding 3NT, giving South UI. NS disputed this.

The Ruling: The director allowed the table result to stand, NS +920. He ruled that passing was not an LA for South after the 3NT bid, even if South had UI, which was hotly disputed. He further ruled the UI from South's comment was unrelated to North's 5 bid. Law 16A had not been violated.

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. North, South and West attended the review. North had 2750 masterpoints, South 1950, East 860 and West 1500. West said South should not be allowed to pull 3NT after North's uncertainty. If the pull was allowed, he thought North should be forced to bid 5 after South's comment. South would then pass 5. NS agreed the comment had been made, which was 100% out of line. They continued to dispute the allegation of North fumbling before bidding 3NT. Regardless, South said she would always bid out her shape. North agreed he was compromised by South's comment before he bid 5, but felt that, after slowing the auction down with 3NT, he could safely cue 5 on the way to 5.

The Decision: Two players with around 2000 masterpoints were given South's hand to bid. Each bid 4 over 3NT, and thought it automatic. Two other players with around 2000 masterpoints were given North's hand to bid. Each player repeated North's actions. When asked what information they might derive from a comment from partner about not seeing the doubles, they each said that maybe partner was lying about the heart controls, which would discourage them from bidding 5.

The panel agreed with the consulted players' opinions and decided no violation of Law 16A had occurred. The panel assigned a result of 6 by South, making six, +920 NS. The panel also assigned NS a one-fourth board PP for South's comment during a live auction.

Players Consulted: Four peers of NS.


CASE TWENTY-EIGHT
Subject: Claim
DIC: Matt Smith
Mini-Blue Ribbon Pairs 1st Final November 23, 2005
Panel: Charles MacCracken (reviewer), Su Doe and Roger Putnam.



(1) Natural, limited opening bid.
(2) Non-forcing.

The Facts: The result was 3 doubled, by East, down two for +500 for NS, after the opening lead of the 4. The play had gone spade won by the ace. The 5 (suit preference) was returned and ruffed by South. South then cashed the A and led the queen, overtaken by the king. North switched to the 3. Declarer ruffed with the 10, cashed the A, pitching dummy's diamond, played K and continued with a heart to the ace. When both followed he claimed (see position below) saying: "Dummy's good." The director was called at this point.



Declarer admitted he forgot the K, but when the director was at the table said: "Of course I'll draw the trump."

The Ruling: Two tricks were given to the defense. Since declarer forgot the K, he might have forgotten the trump position, Law 70. The final result was 3 doubled, down two for a NS score of +500.

The Appeal: All four players attended the hearing. North had 950 masterpoints, South 2250, East 3025 and West 2600. Declarer said it was obvious he knew about the outstanding trump. He asked NS if they thought he was unaware of the outstanding trump, but neither was willing to make such a judgment.

The Decision: Law 70A requires the director to adjudicate a challenged claim as equitably as possible to both sides, but any doubtful point must be resolved in the non-claiming side's favor. There was an outstanding trump and it could take a trick on a normal line of play, so the conditions of Law 70C1 and 3 were met. Thus a trick or tricks must be awarded NS if "it is at all likely that claimer at the time of his claim was unaware that a trump remained in an opponent's hand." (Law 70C2)

Normally, when declarer claims as soon as he finds out his trump holding is powerful enough to draw the remaining trump, the director rules the conditions of Law 70C2 have not been met. Thus, there is no "doubtful point" as defined by Law 70A. In this case, declarer forgot the K. That indicated a certain lack of attention to the deal and the panel decided it was just enough to create a "doubtful point" about the outstanding trump and that must be resolved in the non-claiming side's favor. The panel assigned a result of 3 doubled by East, down two, +500 for NS. The panel felt this was a very close call, thus the appeal had merit.

Players Consulted: None.


CASE TWENTY-NINE
Subject: MI
DIC: Matt Smith
Mini-Blue Ribbon Pairs, first final, November 23, 2005
Panel: Charles MacCracken (reviewer), Su Doe and Roger Putnam



(1) Natural. EW did not hear the alert.

The Facts: The result was 3 by East down two, for a score of +200 to NS after the opening lead of the 4. This was the last board of the round and the director was called prior to the next round. West's double had shown a desire to defend a major suit contract (if 2 were Michaels). East bid 3 immediately, because he had a minimum and did not want to defend a two-level major suit contract. After the deal, EW realized the 2 overcall was natural.

The Ruling: Since the alert was not heard, regulation requires ruling that it was not made. The staff projected the following auction based on EW knowing the 2 bid was natural.

----   ----    1    2
2  Pass  2NT   Pass
3  Pass  3    All Pass

A double of 3 by North was considered, but discarded, because of the obvious minimum nature of South's overcall.

After the lead of the 5, West can discard two diamonds while North ruffs the second club. West would have only three more losers, so EW was awarded +140. Laws 40C & 12C2 were cited.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. South and East attended the hearing. North had 3339 masterpoints, South 2783, East 2200 and West 1300. South stated NS had an agreement that he would double 2NT with a good club suit and an outside ace, so North would never lead her singleton club. He was asked what he would do with six clubs to the A Q J and out. South said he would pass. South was asked which suit North would lead if not a club and he responded that was a tough question. The hearing was in the playing area right after the session, but North did not say what she would have led and why.

The Decision: Two experts and four players with 2500 to 4000 MPs were consulted. All bid the North hand with the information that South could double 2NT to show good clubs and an outside ace. All led a club. When asked for a second choice, there were none.

Given the expert advice, the panel believed it certain that 3 would make and awarded a score of NS -140 and +140 to EW. Law 40C and Law 12C2 were cited.

Since South's appeal was based completely on North not leading the suit of partner's overcall and since none of the consultants even considered any other lead, the appeal was judged to have no merit and an AWMW was issued to NS.

Players Consulted: Adam Wildavsky, Bill Wickham and four players with 2500 to 4000 masterpoints.


CASE THIRTY
Subject: UI
DIC: Su Doe
Senior Pairs, 2nd Session November 23, 2005
Panel: Charles MacCracken (reviewer), John Ashton and Matt Smith.



(1) Alerted, but no explanation requested at that time.

The Facts: The result was 4 by South, making four, +620 for NS after the opening lead of the K. The director was called after dummy came down. The 3 bid was alerted, although it should not have been. When asked, after the bidding was over, it was described as weak. Both convention cards were marked weak as well. North commented at the table that he had forgotten their agreement that 3 was weak.

The Ruling: The improper alert presented North with the UI that South thought his hand was weaker than it was. This suggested it might be more advantageous for North to bid than to pass. Since pass was an LA, the 4 bid was canceled and EW played 4 down one for a score of NS +50. Law 16A and Law 12C.2 were cited.

The Appeal: NS appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had 250 masterpoints, South 250, East 1000 and West 1380. North said he thought 4 might be a good sacrifice against 4. He maintained the position even when the adverse vulnerability was pointed out. West thought the alert suggested 4 and so it should not be allowed. After more discussion, North said his singleton diamond improved in value after the 4 bid. Later, South said he pursued the appeal, having forgotten his partner was a passed hand.

The Decision: Three players with about 250 masterpoints were polled and all passed 4 without the UI. When asked what an Alert by partner would have suggested, they all thought maybe partner thought 3 was weak. There was an irregularity and EW were damaged. The damage was a direct result of the irregularity and passing was an LA. The contract was changed to 4. In 4 there are four routine losers, so NS was awarded the score of +50. Laws 16A.2, 73F.1 and 12C.2 were cited.

The appeal was judged to have no merit, but education was thought to be a better avenue than an AWMW with two players in the 250-masterpoint range.

Players Consulted: Three players with about 250 masterpoints.


CASE THIRTY-ONE
Subject: UI
DIC: Sam Stoxen
IMP Pairs, Wednesday Evening, November 23, 2005
Panel: Charles MacCracken (reviewer), Matt Smith and Gary Zeiger.



(1) 13-15, announced.
(2) Alerted.
(3) North asked about the 2 bid before passing (see below).

The Facts: The result was 3 by South, making three, +140 NS after the opening lead of the 7. The director was called at the end of the auction. Prior to passing North asked if 2 was natural. When told it was, she asked if it was a transfer and then explained that she was asking because she knew that people played it many different ways. East asked about the 2 bid and was told it was a one-suited hand, not necessarily clubs. EW felt North should have raised to game with her 8 points and three-card support.

The Ruling: North had no UI. No infraction by South had occurred. The table result stood, NS +140.

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had about 1875 masterpoints, South 1010, East 14,300, and West 7800. East said North should have raised to game with 8 HCP and three trump. When asked for a reason, he could not give one other than East and West would both have done so. He could provide no UI that North possessed which would cause the director to make such an adjustment.

When he was asked if he thought South had UI from North's extended questioning that influenced her 3 bid he said, "That too."

North said she did not raise to game because her K seemed to be poorly placed after East reopened with 2.

The Decision: Even though the question of South's using North's extended questioning as cause for bidding 3 seemed to be more of an afterthought in the appeal, the reviewer talked to three players with around 1000 MPs (North's holding). All bid 3 without a second thought.

Since there was absolutely no reason why North should not bid what she wished, the panel ruled 3 by South, making three for a score of +140 to NS. Law 16A was not violated.

EW are an experienced pair and should have known there was no basis for an appeal. The reviewer expressed the panel's displeasure with the pursuit of this groundless appeal and awarded EW an AWMW.

Players Consulted: Three players with about 1000 masterpoints.


CASE THIRTY-TWO
Subject: MI
DIC: Matt Smith
Mini-Blue Ribbon Pairs, second final, November 23, 2005
Panel: Charles MacCracken (reviewer), Ron Johnston and Olin Hubert.



(1) Alerted. Shows invitational values, but does not necessarily show hearts.
(2) Not Alerted. Shows 11-12 points and no interest in game.

The Facts: The result was 2 by South, making two and a NS score of +110 after the opening lead of the K. The director was called at the end of the auction when South called attention to North's failure to alert 2 . Away from the table West said he would have doubled 2. Away from the table East said he would not have changed his bidding.

The Ruling: The likelihood that a double by West would head to a 3 bid by East was considered low. If East did bid 3, North or South might double and EW would go down two for -300, so there was no damage. Law 40C was cited.

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. All players attended the review. North had about 4300 masterpoints, South 1600, East 1700 and West 2300. EW said the auction would have led to their bidding 3 which NS would not double. In fact, NS might even bid 3 whereupon EW would be +100. NS said they each knew their partner had about 11 points, so it was obvious to double, at matchpoints, to protect their +110. North said he did not Alert because it did not make sense to him that 2 would be artificial because he was a passed hand. All four agreed that their masterpoint holdings (1600 to 4300) did not accurately reflect their ability and stronger players should be consulted.

The Decision: Seven players were asked to bid the North, East and South hands. One immediately bid 3 with the East hand when given the projected auction. None of the three who were given the North hand and none of the three who were given the South hand doubled on the projected auction. None of the six would have bid 3 .

There was a failure to alert and EW may have been damaged as a direct result. Therefore, NS were awarded +100 for 3 down two. Law 40.C and Law 12.C.2 were cited.

Players Consulted: Seven players with 2500 to 5700 masterpoints.
 


CASE THIRTY-THREE
Subject: Tempo
DIC: Ken Van Cleve
B/C/D Pairs, second session, November 26, 2005
Panel: Tom Whitesides (reviewer), Candy Kuschner and Gary Zeiger.



(1) Noticeable BIT, agreed by all players.

The Facts: The result was 4 by South, making four, +620 for NS after the opening lead of the 6. The director was called after the 4 bid and informed of the agreed BIT.

The Ruling:The director ruled there had been a noticeable hesitation, but the BIT did not demonstrably suggest the 4 bid. Law 16A had not been violated and the table result stood, +620 for NS.

The Appeal: EW appealed the ruling. All four players attended the review. North had 747 masterpoints, South 35, East 600 and West 706. EW claimed the BIT indicated North was thinking of bidding something else, which suggested that South not pass. While the 4 bid may not have been directly suggested, doing something other than passing clearly was and surely pass was a choice. South said if NS were going to play at the four level, his hand was worth something in spades and nothing in diamonds and 4 was game.

The Decision: Three players with under 100 masterpoints were given South's hand to bid. They each duplicated South‚??s first two passes. On the third round, two players passed and one bid 4 . This established passing as an LA.

The players were than asked what information they might derive from a BIT by partner before the 4 bid. They really didn't know, but two players thought maybe partner was stretching. None of the players thought partner was suggesting any willingness to play in a different strain.

The panel found there had been a noticeable hesitation before the 4 bid, which conveyed UI, but decided the UI did not demonstrably suggest one action over another. Law 16A had not been violated. The panel assigned a result of 4 by South, making four for a score of +620 for NS. The panel decided the appeal had merit.

Players Consulted: Three players with under 100 masterpoints.


CASE THIRTY-FOUR
Subject: Tempo
DIC: John Ashton
B/C/D Swiss Teams, November 27, 2005
Panel: Charles MacCracken (reviewer), Doug Grove and Tom Whitesides.



(1) BIT.

The Facts: The result was 4 doubled, by East, down one, +200 NS after the opening lead of the 2. The director was called after West bid 4. West spoke to the director away from the table and said he had meant to bid 3 but pulled the wrong card. East asked how many hearts North could have and was told up to six if he has seven clubs. Length of the BIT after the question was answered was disputed.

The Ruling: The contract was adjusted to 4 by North, making five, NS +450. The BIT demonstrably suggests a 4 bid. Pass is an LA vulnerable vs. not. Law 16.A.2 and 12.C.2 were cited.

The Appeal: EW appealed. All four players and EW's captain attended the review. North had 420 masterpoints, South 360, East 315 and West 315. West repeated that he had meant to bid 3, so 4 was a natural extension, even with the adverse vulnerability. East said she had to process the answer to her question before she could bid and she had no idea how long she took to think. EW's captain thought this was such an unusual situation that East should be given extra leeway because of the incorrect answer to her question.

North said he opened 1 because he had such a strong hand, he wanted to reverse. When the panel tried to recreate the length of time the pause took after the answer to the question, South and East could offer no opinion. North thought it took about 10 seconds, but West thought 22.

The Decision: A large number of peers (300 masterpoints) were consulted. Most could not bring themselves to bid less than 4 (or 2, probably leading to 4), so they were deemed unsuitable. Four players met the criterion. One said she would bid either 2 or 4. When asked what she would do over 4 , she said that is why she thought about 4, but having made her choice she was not bidding any more - the opponents had now exchanged all the information they needed to. Of the three who would have bid 3, one said he was through. The other two both bid 4 when it came back to them. When asked why, one said, "We have to bid our vulnerable games at IMPs." The other just thought he had to bid one more.

After they made their decision they were asked what a hesitation by partner over 4 would mean. They all thought bidding on was suggested, especially given their heart holding. Given that West thought East paused 22 seconds, his perception was that there was an unmistakable hesitation. Two consultants passed which showed that pass was an LA. All thought the BIT demonstrably suggested the 4 bid.

The panel changed the contract to 4 by North, making five for a score of +450 for NS.

Many players at this level have not developed the discipline to pass with five-card support and tend to bid on reflexively, so for this class of player the appeal had merit.

Players Consulted: Four players with 200 to 400 masterpoints.
 

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