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Honolulu BRP 7NT Lead Discussion

The following is the writeup of the appeals case that decided the 2018 Blue Ribbon Pairs, as it appeared in the Dec 1 issue of the Daily Bulletin.  It is reproduced here to provide a more appropriate place for discussion than the original victory thread.  Given the controversial nature of this hand, please remember our community guidelines when discussing it.  In particular:

1) Be agreeable, even when you disagree

2) Always be civil

 

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Event: Blue Ribbon Pairs

Session: First final session

Date: Nov. 29, 2018

B Levin
K92
KQJ95
AQJ75
B Glubok
73
642
KJ843
1042
J Grue
AQJ1065
A107
Q95
K
H Antonsen
84
83
A10762
9863
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
4
X
P
P
4N
P
5
P
7
P
7N
P
P
P
D
23
7NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0

Final contract: 7NT

Opening lead: 4

Table result: Down two, N–S plus 200

Director ruling: 7NT down two, N–S plus 200

Director panel ruling: 7NT making, N–S minus 2220

Facts: The director was called to the table after the end of play. West complained that South hesitated for a long time before his last pass. South agreed that he broke tempo. West thought that the BIT suggested a diamond lead. On the other side of the screen, North said that the BIT was not that big; East said about one minute. North justified his diamond lead with:

(a) Not a long BIT

(b) South didn’t double 4

(c) East made a comment while they waited for the tray: “Maybe I should not have done that because partner might be void.”

We established the BIT and confirmed the comment made. Six players were polled. The questions asked were: “With the auction and comment, what would you lead?” and, “What lead does the hesitation (without the comment) suggest?” In response to the first question, three of the pollees said they would lead a diamond and the same players said the hesitation suggested a diamond lead. The other three players said they would not lead a diamond. Two of these pollees said the hesitation suggested nothing; the third said that partner would have doubled clubs with the A and doubled 7NT with the A, so he would not lead a diamond anyway, and that the comment was irrelevant for him.

 

Director’s Ruling: We considered that either the comment or the hesitation in isolation were enough to wake the leader up to the possibility of defeating the contract. Also, the fact that half the pollees did not think that the hesitation suggested a diamond meant that the BIT, in our opinion, did not demonstrably suggest the winning action, and the action allegedly suggested by the BIT was also suggested by the Authorized Information (the comment).

 

The Appeal:

• The comment was irrelevant as per the pollees.

• The hesitation clearly indicated possession of an ace.

• A lead away from a king against a grand slam is high unlikely, especially when the location of the king is known, so there is no guess on alternative lines of play.

• Only with the knowledge that partner has an ace would one choose a lead that could give away a trick.

• It was the unethical use of partner’s BIT that produced the diamond lead.

 

The Decision: A further poll was conducted. Five players were walked through the auction. When asked what they would lead, two chose a diamond – with one, the king was considered. One considered a spade or a diamond; one considered a spade or a club and one chose a spade. When given the information that the tray was slow, all deemed this suggested a diamond lead. Based on the new polling, it was determined that the pause of the tray suggested a diamond lead and all other leads were logical alternatives. Therefore the result was adjusted to 7NT by E–W making.

DIC: McKenzie Myers

Review panel: Gary Zeiger, Matt Koltnow, David Metcalf, Kevin Perkins

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