Board: 13
Vul: Both

North (Savchenko)
S  K Q 3
H  A K 9 8
D  10 7 5
C  6 3 2

West (Katz)

S  10 5
H  10 7 3
D  A Q 3
C  A 8 7 5 4

East (Bjerkan)

S  A J 8 7 6 2
H  6
D  J 9 8 6 4 2

  South (Nell)
S  9 4
H  Q J 5 4 2
D  K
C  K Q J 10 9


N        E         S       W      
1C     1S     3H*    P
3NT    P        P        DBL
All Pass

* Explained by South to West, correctly, as a fit-showing jump.
  Explained by North to East first as a fit-showing jump but when tray came back, he said he was no longer sure and it might be a splinter.


Opening lead: H6

The play:

Trick 1: H6, H2, H10, HA

Trick 2: Cx, D4, Cx, C

Trick 3: Cx, Cx, Cx, D6

Trick 4: Cx, Cx, Cx, S8

Trick 5: Cx, CA, Hx, S2

Trick 6: S10, SK, Sx, Sx

Table Result: Making 4, NS +950

Director's Ruling:
2/3 of NS -800 on a non-heart lead.

1/3 of the table result on a heart lead.

Director's explanation of ruling:

The agreement is fit-showing jump (it is in their notes).
East did not have correct information, but knew it wasn't clear.
East chose to base her lead on the belief that it was a splinter and she knew that if it was a splinter, her partner would not have been able to double 3H for a heart lead, because the double would ask for the lead of the lower suit.

The screen conditions say that it would have been appropriate for North to clarify, after the lead was made, He did not do that. However, East did not ask North to get a clarification.

There were relatively few people available for polling, but of the four who could be found and given the auction with the correct information, 2 led a spade, one led a heart and one lead a diamond. The poll, in addition to the fact that the contract was still beatable after a heart lead, led to the weights assigned to the different results


Appeals Committee Ruling: Table result (+950 NS) and -3 IMPs to N-S for not doing anything after the auction.

Appeals Committe Explanation:

The committee overwhelmingly judged that E-W had numerous chances to avoid the -950 they suffered. East knew that North was unsure, and unilaterally settled on “explanation #2 – Splinter.”

East stated that if 3H was a Splinter, her partner couldn’t double the 3H bid to show hearts. This is not clear since three suits were bid and the partnership had discussed only direct splinters (with two suits bid). She used that (faulty?) reasoning to conclude her partner had hearts. While it is true that North (explained later in this write-up) contributed to this, we judged that East didn’t do nearly enough. She knew there was uncertainty and failed to protect herself. There were two easy courses of action available: 1) She could have asked to see the convention card (which correctly indicated “fit-showing”) or 2) By law, she couldn’t ask South (her non-screenmate) what she meant 3H as, but she could have called a director. The director would have gotten to the bottom of it, protecting East’s rights.

Furthermore, even after the heart lead, it was irrational defense to allow 950. West “knew” from dummy that his partner had six diamonds. N-S play standard and since he had opened 1C with three, he couldn’t have more than three diamonds. Regardless, laying down the DA before playing a spade couldn’t hurt. There were many reasons why even after the heart lead, East-West should have set the contract.

(We asked East if she would have done anything different in the auction, but she said no—not once she thought 3H was a Splinter Bid. She seemed to imply she wasn’t considering bidding no matter what the explanation was.)

The committee disagreed slightly on North-South’s liability. North contributed in a small part to the debacle. Indicating he “wasn’t sure” was correct, but after the auction, he could have and should have interceded. He could have asked his partner what she meant 3H as and how she explained it. The committee judged that leaving 950 (the table result) was right, but N-S had to lose something. By a 3-2 vote, we decided on a 3-IMP procedural penalty (due to North not interceding after the auction) as opposed to a score percentage split (with numbers that would have come close to what 950 & -3 IMPs was anyway).

NOTE: The Appeals Committee members did not know the score of the match when they made their ruling.


Appeals Committee

Larry Cohen, Chairman
Robb Gordon, Member
Steve Robinson, Member
Danny Sprung, Member
Adam Wildavsky, Member