Game all, teams of 8 (Tolle scoring, i.e. Cross-IMPs). Match played privately, so no independent TD available. E holds:
K 7 5 3
A 9 5
7 5 4 2
W deals and opens 2 , Benji, showing a strong two in an unknown suit or some range of strong balanced hand (sorry, can't tell you the exact range).
N passes and E dutifully bids 2 , relay. Now S (vulnerable, remember) wanders into the E/W auction with 2NT, alerted by N. W asks and N says "I think we have agreed to play this as minors, but it is possible that we have agreed to play it as "odd suits", i.e. spades and diamonds or hearts and clubs."
W thinks for a while and doubles. N thinks for a short while and bids 3, alerted . E passes. S bids 3 , at which W looks interrogatively at N who says "Now he definitely has hearts and clubs". W thinks for a while and asks S: "Will he be 5-5?". S says "We don't have a specific agreement, but he has come in vulnerable underneath the strong hand so I would expect him to have good playing strength".
W now thinks for a very long time and doubles again, N passes.
How do you evaluate E's options in view of her partner's evident uncertainty?
1. E/W are relatively inexperienced and not particularly strong.
2. N/S are very experienced and rather stronger (E/W's team would have expected to lose the match heavily, but had been only marginally down at half time).
3. It is the penultimate board of the match, and the pace of play has been very slow. E has already commented to the world in general that she is tired.
4. E/W's general style is that undiscussed doubles are for penalty.
Obviously you should take into account the relative inexperience of E. Do you consider that you should give her extra leeway on account of either:
(a) the fact that N/S's defensive methods are likely to be unfamiliar to E/W; or
(b) the fact that N/S have apparently been in some doubt as to what those methods actually are (although that doubt does appear to have been resolved in time to avoid the possibility of damage to E/W)?