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Proprieties regarding 'Leading Questions' ('Gotcha' Questions)


Am having a problem with a topic on which (IMHO) people tend to avoid facing.

Illustrating a couple of facets:


The EW hands are not presented. This makes it a problem to demonstrate whether hypothesis is supported by this scenario, or not.


But say it could be. It would be, if E's call is likely to be 3 S regardless of the explanation provided by South.


This would mean that East possibly asked the question deliberately, to cause flow of UI from South to North, UI that South wasn't trying to push across the table on his own steam.


In which case, NS is not the offending side as they weren't the cause of UI.


In an ideal world without screens, South would write down the agreement, and share it with his screenmate.


In an event without screens, South could still write down the agreement, and share it with East, and with West if West asks.


Typically, I don't think people come to events without screens, mentally preparing to write down explanations for scenarios where the exact agreement is 'unclear'.


Am not accusing the EW pair here of anything, but IMHO the community tends to not focus on 'improper questions'.


For example, say South, without a clear agreement, and without pen and paper, offers, "2S=Limit raise in Heart".


East prods, "Does he promise 4 trumps?"


Now the uncertainty and UI for North has been introduced, but by East's action (and East has the Right to question, but I don't think North should be scrutinized because East did ask a leading question).


Here is another example from one of my recent online games.


Our side silent, opponents reach 3 NT after a 1N 3N auction.


My partner leads the Jack of a suit, dummy comes down with A9x (declarer has KTx, but I don't know this at the time) (yes, partner did lead J from Jxx).


Declarer asks, "Do you play Rusinow"?

I say no.

Declarer asks again, "Does she have the Queen for this lead?"


Mind, I am looking at Qxx. How am I supposed to answer such an improper question? (this is a rhetorical question, but my bigger problem here is with the impropriety in the question itself.)


This facet of impropriety, I have encountered numerous times, both from my own partners, and from my opponents.


Example 1S (2N) 3D (Playing Unusual/Unusual): What does he/she HAVE?

(IMHO the proper question is, 'what does he/she SHOW?')


I'll admit that in the above linked article, there is nothing "leading" about the content of the question on the 2 S bid (presuming the question was on the lines of, 'Please explain the agreement on the 2 S bid?').


But notice that with a slightly altered phrasing, East could introduce the UI through his/her own intent and design, i.e. in a calculated manner.


What kind of protection is there in the laws, for UI introduced by an improperly phrased enquiry about bidding agreements?


I find it 'unplayable' that North could be under scrutiny for his follow-up, but East couldn't be under scrutiniy for the phrasing of the question leading to the potential for UI.


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