Hesitation

Here's a note on a ruling I gave a few weeks back and which I've been intending to post here. At the time I thought it was not unreasonable to have a guess at a singleton Heart with West and therefore worth a shot at trying to find out if West had the KS and the AC. West is a notoriously slow player and East is steady but can show flare. But what do members think?
AlanB

Dear Alan
Here is my version of last night's issue on hand 5.

You are sitting South at adverse vulnerability playing pairs in a reasonably experienced field.
Your partner North is the dealer and he opens 2 Hearts, Benji style, 6 to 10 points, 6 card suit.
Your right hand opponent East now bids 2 Spades holding;
S A J 10 5 3
H 8 7 4 3
D A K
C Q 7
I pass as South.
West now has a very long think for a minute or so and Bids 4 Spades.
East now goes off to the races with RKCB and bids 6 Spades, learning of the 2 controls and spade Q. (Note the 2 Club losers and the 4 heart losers!)
Having heard both players make non forcing spade calls, I reserved my rights at the end of the auction and called you after the play.
As I suspected, West puts down a huge hand.
Your decision was to let the contract stand which I reluctantly accepted.

Questions;
a) Is East worth a slam try over his partner's call?
b) Has East been influenced by his partner's pause?
c) Would 70% of Mayfield standard players have looked for slam in the East seat?

Board 5 N/S Vul - Dealer North
♠ 9 8
♥ K Q 10 9 6 5
♦ J 7
♣ 10 5 4
♠ K Q 7 2 ♠ A J 10 5 3
♥ J ♥ 8 7 4 3
♦ 9 8 6 2 ♦ A K
♣ A K J 2 ♣ Q 7
♠ 6 4
♥ A 2
♦ Q 10 5 4 3
♣ 9 8 6 3

Comments

  • It's probably easier to go to:
    http://www.mayfieldbridge.co.uk/M/Index.htm
    to see the hand!

  • @AlanB said:
    It's probably easier to go to:
    http://www.mayfieldbridge.co.uk/M/Index.htm
    to see the hand!

    This does not link to a particular hand.

  • edited March 29

    Rather than the three questions that you actually ask, there should actually be only two questions. In effect, questions (a) and (c) are the same question, viz. Q1 below:

    1. Is Pass a logical alternative?
    2. Is action suggested (over the LA) by the UI?
  • Accidentally posted before completing previous comments, so i have done some editing, but continuing in a separated post:

    note (1) that the '70%' rule has long been superseded by other guidelines as to what constitutes a L.A.
    "It's not unreasonable to [take action]" is not a good enough reason to determine that "Pass" is not a logical alternative. My instinct is that Pass is indeed a LA, but this requires a poll of similar players to establish this.
    I have more doubt as to whether the action has been suggested by the UI. A hesitation before a pass, or before making the weakest call available, clearly suggests action. It is less clear when a hesitation is followed by a raise, since you don't know whether partner was considering stronger action or weaker action. (Could West, for example, have held a Yarborough with a 5-card spade suit, and was considering pass/3S as an alternative to 4S?)

  • @Mitch said:
    Rather than the three questions that you actually ask, there should actually be only two questions. In effect, questions (a) and (c) are the same question, viz. Q1 below:

    1. Is Pass a logical alternative?
    2. Is action suggested (over the LA) by the UI?

    I was thinking exactly this.

    While we really ought to conduct a poll to answer Q1, I would be extemely surprised if Pass was not a logical alternative.

    However I am not convinced that bidding on is suggested by the pause. West could have been trying to choose between bidding 3S and 4S.

    If bidding on is not suggested then the result stands.

  • Everyone is assuming that the hesitation means that the 4S is an underbid, Why can't it mean that West was trying do decide between 3S and 4S, in which case the 4S is an overbid.

    There was a break in tempo. This gives East UI that West has a borderline decision. But we don't know from the resulting 4S bid if West is underbidding or overbidding.

    Given that, if East could tell what the UI was about then if it's an underbid then he should ethically pass, but with an overbid he should ethically bid on. As he doesn't know then he has a free choice of actions.

  • There may be nothing which tells you with an unfamiliar partner whether the hesitation is an underbid or an overbid, but with any regular partner I bet you could guess which it is !

  • @patricks said:
    There may be nothing which tells you with an unfamiliar partner whether the hesitation is an underbid or an overbid, but with any regular partner I bet you could guess which it is !

    I definitely agree with this. (With most of my partners a slow raise, be it invitational or to game, is a stretch).

    Subject to that, I agree with Mitch and others that a slow raise does not tend to suggest particular action.

    I find both E and W's actions puzzling. Surely W would be wiser, when he has found himself with a problem causing him to think for a long time, to bid whichever of 3!h and 4!h fits his agreed methods, rather than risk giving his partner a UI problem. When a player makes a strong noise after pronounced thought, the UI does not normally suggest a specific action because the choice could have been between a weaker action and a different strong action.

    I'm afraid that I would hang E out to dry. Even if he does not have a tell from partnership experience that a slow raise tends to show extras (per patricks' post), so that no action is suggested by the UI and no adjustment appropriate, it is incontrovertible that he has not complied with his responsibilities under Law 73C to "carefully avoid taking any advantage". I would award a PP of at least twice the standard amount.

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