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Different explanations in the middle of the hand - what now?

Hi all,

 

Before I describe the legal problem I'm going to make my usual request for all contributors - please do your best to give an opinion based on specific laws and regulations, not on gut feelings or some Bobby Wolff style "bridge cannot be played like that so regardless of what the laws say I'm gonna rule..." attitude.

 

Here is the scenario based on an actual problem that came up in Division Two in Poland this weekend but at this point I don't want to go into specifics but rather establish a principle so I'll strip the problem down to essentials. Your side bids diamonds, the opponents first bid spades and then end up in a heart contract. Your partner leads a spade which is an obvious singleton (he cannot possibly have any other reason to lead a spade). You have the A and intend to win this trick and give your partner a ruff. 

But when dummy comes down you learn (maybe from the discussion between declarer and dummy, maybe from partner's comment about the dummy's bidding leading to some discussion, maybe from some other source) that on his side of the screen partner received a totally different explanation. You cue-bid spades at some point and it is now clear that this cue-bid must have a looked like a natural bid to your partner given what he was told by his screenmate. Now you know that he lead a spade because he simply believed it to be your suit and this obvious singleton inference is no longer there (although a singleton is still a possibility).

What does the Law expect a player to do in this situation (apart from calling the TD)?

1. Should he pretend that he never heard that the explanations on the other side of the screen were different and act as if his partner had the same information that he did? In other words sohuld he win the ace and return a spade and if his partner doesn't ruff we'll adjust the score?

2. Should he take advantage of the fact that he now knows that his partner lead a spade for a different reason and defend accordingly (for instance duck this trick or win and shift to another suit) and if by some chance his partner did actually have a singleton spade - we'll adjust the score?

 

Does it matter for the ruling how exactly the player in question find out that the explanations were different on his partner's side of the screen?

 

Konrad Ciborowski

Kraków, Poland

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