Flights of Fancy

As part of a judgement ruling, a director sometimes has to judge what action a player would take in a hypothetical situation ("if the contract was 4H what would you lead?")
I think it's perfectly reasonable, indeed essential, to ask these questions, but what weight do you give the answer? The question you want an answer to is "if the contract was 4H what would you lead at the time?"
When I ask for justifications for things, I often get a long analysis way beyond what a player would do at the table. And sometimes they're blatantly wrong. An example from the other day:
"What would you lead?"
"AS" (from AQ)
"W doubled so is showing 4S, therefore K is 80% likely to be on the wrong side or in partners hand"
"But E doubled, not W"
"Oh, well, erm..."
How much benefit of the doubt do I give the player? Does it matter if they are on the offending side?


  • With the best will in the world players who know the hand are likely to persuade themselves to some degree, at least, that they would have taken the successful action. That is why it is helpful to consult with other players. You give them the hypothetical auction to 4!h and ask them what they would lead. Then you make up your mind, weighting the score between different possible leads if it appears appropriate to do so.

    That doesn't mean that you take no notice of what the player at the table says he would have done. You give his statement whatever weight you consider sensible. You may find it convincing, or very unconvincing.

    When undertaking this exercise you give the benefit of the doubt to the non-offending side (sympathetic weighting).

  • Not sure I understand what you are aiming for here. However, assuming that there has been an irregularity and that damage has been done to the non offending side I believe that the idea of possible "weighting" comes into use. So an adjustment could be a number of "results" with equal or differing chances of success. So what would happen on the "standard" lead, what inferences could be drawn from the "legal" bidding all have to be considered. Don't forget that both sides at the table will be putting forward their "best" side. Any benefit of the doubt should go to the non-offending side. As it is a "judgement" issue you do not have to deal with it that day and could run the hand through various programs to see what could be achieved. You could also discuss with another director to get a "steer".


  • Have a look at John Pain's article for a bit more guidance.


  • Sorry Abbeybear, I didn't see your reply. Too engrossed. Slow typer as well!!


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