|Board 4 of segment 3 of 8
| North (Diamond)
K J 7 2
A K T 4 3 2
| A T 8
Q J 6
T 6 3
J 8 5 4
| Q 9 4
A K 8 7 2
A K 9 6 3
6 5 3
9 8 7 5
Q J 9 5
N E S W
1 DBL 2* P
P DBL P 2NT**
3 4 P 5
* Weaker of two raises
** "Better minor Lebensohl" - BIT
Table Result: 5 by East made 11 tricks after a heart lead and routine play. 600 to E/W
Director's Ruling: Result stands:
Six high-level players were polled about what East would do over 3 ♥. One player passed and five players bid on.
Four of those players were polled as to what information might have been passed by the break in tempo. All agreed that it was very likely that partner was the one out of tempo, but all four said that partner was most likely choosing between strains (three mentioning the possibility of a 2 bid on three cards) rather than choosing what strength to show.
From this polling, it was determined that the slow 2 NT did not demonstrably suggest one action over another, so there was no basis for an adjusted score.
Appeal: The appeal, conducted by conference call, was heard after the fourth segment. North, East and West attended. Director McKenzie Myers also attended, presented the case and provided legal guidance to the committee.
Arguments by the Appealing Side:
North asserted that West’s lengthy huddle before bidding 2NT (confirmed to be about 3:15 by Myers, who had reviewed the video) was a clear indication of values, as opposed to an awkward decision with a weak hand of imperfect shape; if a weak hand needed time, the huddle, even if noticeable, would be of much shorter duration.
Thus, the knowledge of values with West demonstrably suggested action by East. Since one of the six pollees passed in the problem position, that was sufficient to establish pass as a logical alternative.
Arguments by the Other Side:
E/W argued that West could have been thinking about many things, including whether to pass for penalties, whether to bid a 3-card spade suit, or whether to bid a minor directly or use their version of lebensohl. Further, they said that acting over 3 with the East hand was automatic, despite the one pollee who thought otherwise. For his second double East could have had classic 4=1=4=4 shape and some extra values; this East hand, with two strong 5-card suits and a void, was much better than that. Also, West’s 2NT call had asked for a minor, so a fit was assured, possibly a substantial fit. Moreover, they noted that some of the pollees bid higher than 4.
Appeals Committee Ruling
The E/W methods are that 2NT asks for better minor, normally clubs with equal length. It is also used for weak hands with diamonds only. A direct 3 by West is wide-range, covering both weak and (mildly) invitational hands. A direct 3 by West is invitational.
The committee thought that the very lengthy huddle did indicate values, as opposed to an awkward weak hand. With the latter West might still have taken time, but not as much. Thus, the huddle did demonstrably suggest action.
However, the committee found no logical alternative to acting with the East hand. A yarborough with 2=4=(5-2) shape makes 5 of a minor a great contract. The East hand is significantly stronger than what had been shown even by two previous doubles. Despite the lone pollee, the committee agreed that acting with the East hand was clear.
Therefore, the committee decision was to let the result stand.
The committee notes that West’s huddle was risky. It could easily have compromised partner on many likely continuations, including the actual auction. As always, players must strive for uniform tempo in potentially tempo-sensitive auctions.
Bart Bramley, Chairman
Mitch Dunitz, Member
Ralph Katz, Member