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Hand from Reisinger
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You are playing in the Reisinger board-a-match teams.  Both vul, South deals.  As West, you hold:

West
Q72
Q4
75432
J86
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
P
1
1NT
2
X
P
3
P
P
?

The double of 2 was takeout.

Your call?

 

West
Q72
Q4
75432
J86
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
P
1
1NT
2
X
P
3
P
P
?

Clearly the only conceivable candidates are pass and 3, and you have chosen one of these calls.

Suppose partner thought for a minute before passing over 3 (there were no screens in the qualifying round when this hand occurred).  Would that cause you to change your mind?

At the table, East did huddle for a minute and West bid 3.  This was a successful action, as the full hand was:

West
Q72
Q4
75432
J86
North
94
K32
A10
AKQ1074
East
AKJ3
A1095
QJ86
2
South
10865
J876
K9
953
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
X
P
1
1N
2
X
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

You are the director.  You are called to the table and what happened was explained.  There was no dispute about the huddle.

You poll 5 players, asking them what they would bid.  All of them bid 3.  How would you rule?

West
Q72
Q4
75432
J86
North
94
K32
A10
AKQ1074
East
AKJ3
A1095
QJ86
2
South
10865
J876
K9
953
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
X
P
1
1N
2
X
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

The director ruled that the the table result stood.  N-S appealed.  

You are on the appeals committee.  All the facts are as has been stated.  How would you rule?

West
Q72
Q4
75432
J86
North
94
K32
A10
AKQ1074
East
AKJ3
A1095
QJ86
2
South
10865
J876
K9
953
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
X
P
1
1N
2
X
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

The committee ruled unanimously that the table result stood.

There was no question about the BIT.  It was also agreed that the UI suggested bidding as opposed to passing.  However, the committee came to the conclusion that pass was not a logical alternative.

I seldom question committee rulings on sheer bridge judgment decisions.  But this one seems way off the mark to me.  When I was given the hand as a bidding problem, I passed.  Certainly 3 is a reasonable call.  East must have 4 diamonds for his 2 bid as well as some extras.  But how can competing to the 3-level vulnerable be automatic on a hand with no aces, no kings, no voids, and no singletons?  Sure, the partnership has 9 diamonds, but the Law of Total Tricks won't protect you from going for 200, and at this form of scoring you can bet that the opponents will be doubling at the drop of a hat.  The committee members felt that East was marked with a singleton club.  Why should that be?  East would certainly be bidding 2 on something like Axx Axxx AKxx xx or even a bit less, and you will not like being doubled in 3.  It was East's huddle, not the auction, which marked him with a singleton club.

I have given this hand to over 20 players as a bidding problem.  The majority of them passed, and those who bid 3 thought it was a close decision.  While I could be talked into believing that 3 is the percentage action, saying that pass is not a logical alternative is just plain wrong.

What is most bothersome about this ruling is that it gives the advantage to unethical players.  I cannot imagine a truly ethical player bidding 3 on the West hand after partner huddled over 3.  Therefore, this sort of ruling punishes the ethical player.

 

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