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How Would You Rule

The following legal case arose recently in a national League match (our in-country equivalent of the English Premier League or its French counterpart), an extended multiple round-robin of head-up 16-board matches scored at IMPs and converted to VPs. (That is probably more information than is strictly needed, but as many know I tend to err on the side of thoroughness). In this bridge jurisdiction, there is sadly only one custodian of the game, hence no possibility of consultation among directors, and accordingly the recent widespread trend toward eliminating the institution of an Appeals Committee (AC) has not been copied, and ACs continue to play a role in dispute resolution. Unfortunately, it is usually not feasible in this jurisdiction to empanel an AC during an event, so such procedures are typically pursued after the fact. This extensive contextual background is provided here to account for the content of the choices ultimately offered in this poll -- which might otherwise appear anachronistic -- and to try to head off at the pass a possible host of questions that could impede and delay replies to the poll. So without further ado .....


With ALL VUL, the S player in second chair picked up:   Q874   86   JT7   Q865.

After three passes, N opened 2C (strong and artificial, the only such opening bid in the system). Following another pass by dealer, this hand (S) responded a conventional 2D (wide-ranging waiting bid). This was doubled on his left, and the tray was then passed through to the NE side of the screen.

There it stayed for a duration which was estimated by the players involved to be somewhere between three and four minutes, at the end of which it returned to the SW side of the table laden with a 3N call by Opener. Dealer had again passed, of course, and now S ventured 4NT on this hand. Thereafter the dealer's side passed throughout, but Opener carried on to 6NT.

Recapping the auction:

N              E           S            W

                P           P             P                     *   Strong, artificial, the only such call in the system

2C  *        P         2D**         X                   **    Artificial, waiting

3N ***     P         4N             P                  ***   After a huddle of 3-4 minutes. "25-27 HCP"

6N           -----------------------


After the opening leader had knocked on the screen but before dummy was tabled, W asked S for an explanation of the calls made, particularly the range shown by the 3N rebid. The answer was "25-27. Once, though, about a year ago, I did see him do it with 28." The next question was whether S agreed that there had been a very long Break In Tempo (BIT) prior to the 3N call, and S agreed. W then asked whether S would also agree that there could be no doubt whatsoever that it was Opener who was responsible for the BIT, and again S agreed completely. W had no further questions so the flap was opened and the dummy was laid on the table.

W promptly summoned the director, who listened to this account and asked S for confirmation of the factual record, which S verified. Naturally he instructed the players to play out the hand, and to call him back if EW felt damaged. EW did, so EW did, whereupon the Director let the table result stand, extending to EW the opportunity of appealing the ruling if they so wished. EW did, so EW did. The director then went off to prepare a document for an eventual AC.

Twelve tricks were trivially made as the Opener had the following hand of 28-HCP:    AK    AKQJ     Axx   AKTx


The poll structure below is perhaps more complex than usual, as it essentially asks two questions at once: how should the Table Director rule, and what the Appeals Committee should do. Respondents may be able to think of further possible options, and are welcome to specify them. Indeed, comments are very actively solicited from all who may feel moved to do so.


In case any readers are wistful for more details about the NS system, regrettably there is little to add to the above, beyond noting that NS did not indicate that they had any particular agreements as to what PASS and/or REDOUBLE directly over the lead-directing Double would have meant in this sequence.


At long last the titular question is now reprised:  HOW WOULD YOU RULE ?




Table ruling should clearly be "Result stands". Appeals Committee (AC) should decide the same.
Table ruling of "Result stands" is defensible, but AC should overrule it and adjust the final contract to 3NT
Table ruling was wrong -- the contract should have been adjusted to 3N, with the burden of appeal on the declaring side. Reversal by an AC, letting the table result stand, is defensible.
Table ruling was wrong -- the contract should have been adjusted to 3N. Reversal by an AC, letting the table result stand, is appropriate.
Table ruling was wrong -- the contract should have been adjusted to 3N. Reversal by an AC would be inappropriate.
Other (feel free to specify)

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