A K Q J 9 5 2
K 9 3 2
| 10 4 3
A 10 8
A Q 6
J 10 8 6
K J 10 9 5 2
A Q 7 5
K Q 6 5 3 2
8 7 4 3
N E S W
1 2* 2**
4 4NT P 5
5 6 P P
6 DBL P 7
DBL P P P
* South to West: Natural; North to East: Majors
**West to South: Negtive DBL without 4 spades
In discussion at the table after the hand, with the director present, South acknowledged that their agreement was Majors and that he forgot.
Over 2 as Majors, to East, West's 2 was a good hand with minors.
Table Result: 7x - 3, NS +800
There was discussion about whether or not the 7 bid was “a serious error or a wild or gambling action”. Polling determined that while it was not an action chosen by most players, it did not rise to that level.
The differing explanations did affect the auction.
An initial ruling was made that the overwhelmingly likely final contract would be 4. E/W contributed that they were unlikely to double that and the result was adjudicated to be down one on a likely trump lead or on various lines after a Diamond lead.
In discussion thereafter, the directors considered that while 4 was the contract at five of the eight tables in the event, none of the defenders led a trump and the contract went down 1 three times, made 4 once and made 5 once. After re-weighing subjective probabilities, including the chance that 5 doubled might be the contract some small percent of the time and E/W buying the hand in something going down might also occur some small percent of the time, the ruling was changed to 4 making one-third of the time and going 1 down two-thirds of the time.
Appeals Committee Ruling:
N/S appealed. They asserted that West’s 7 was an egregious error, undeserving of protection. After East had doubled 6, the chance of a spade loser was very high. The N/S bidding accident had given E/W a chance at a very good result, but the 7 call was a “failure to play bridge”.
West observed that from his perspective East had driven to a minor-suit slam opposite a club preference. West had shown a hand of approximately his actual shape and high-card strength, but he had perfect holdings in all four suits: No spade waste, the heart ace, a strong diamond holding and club interiors. West thought that East must have, say, twelve minor-suit cards. He assumed that partner must have a spade void but might be worried about a heart loser or a slow minor-suit loser. For his part, East was bidding opposite what he thought was a good hand with both minors, not a balanced 10-11 count. The different explanations caused East to overvalue his hand, which in turn caused West to overvalue HIS hand. West claimed that he had already considered raising to seven on the previous round.
The committee first considered whether West’s 7 was a serious enough error to deprive his side of protection. While perhaps not a percentage action, 7 had sufficient merit not to rise (or sink) to the level of “serious error”. Therefore, damage was established. To determine a result, the committee, as the director had done, considered how the auction would have gone if West had received the proper explanation. Instead of bidding 2, West would have doubled to show a more balanced, defensive hand type, such as he actually held. North would still bid 4. Then East would either defend, or bid once more at the five-level before subsiding when North continued to 5. Given that 2 out of 5 other tables in 4 were successful, the committee found that the director’s assignment of a 1 in 3 weighting for 4 making was fair. The committee strongly agreed with the director’s basic judgment. Though there was some quibbling over the exact percentage, it was not enough to disturb the director’s assignment.
Note that West was entitled to know N/S’s agreement, but E/W were not entitled to know that N/S were having an accident. For purposes of adjudication, assume that South had given the correct explanation after he had bid 2 but before West had called.
Bart Bramley, Chairman
Robb Gordon, Member
Steve Robinson, Member
Ron Smith, Member
Danny Sprung, Member