Hesitation

The bidding went 2NT by W (20-22)
Hesitation by E before bidding 3N
West bids 6NT, played and made.

Appeal from N/S on the grounds that the hesitation implied stronger support.
West claims he was always going to bid 6NT if his partner replied. This is consistent with West's style of bidding.

West held
A J 10 9 3
A J 10
A J 10
A Q

East held
K 2
Q 9 2
K Q 9 7 4 2
10 5

Opinions please.

Comments

  • B%##%x

    @sarahrugby said:
    This is consistent with West's style of bidding.

    In that case, West needs to go back to beginners bridge lessons.

    West: (2NT): "I've not quite got enough values for game. Do you have that little bit extra for me - say about 4 HCP?"
    East: (3NT): "Yes, I've got that"
    West: "Oh, in that case I've got enough for slam"

    "he was always going to bid 6NT if his partner replied". This is self-serving. What this is saying is that partner might have a hand that is too weak even for 3NT to make, or strong enough for 6NT, but that it is impossible for him to have something in between.

    Pass is clearly a logical alternative for any class of player outside of beginners classes. In fact, anything else is illogical.
    If this happened at a tournament, or if West is an experienced player, then this merits a fine on top of an adjustment.

  • edited October 2018

    I should add...
    "Pass" is clearly a logical alternative. However, in order to adjust you also need to be satisfied that...
    (a) there was indeed a Hesitation (Break in Tempo), and that
    (b) the hesitation demonstrably suggests different action.
    I'm not suggesting that either is not the case here. But often (b) in particular gets overlooked.

  • Why does the hesitation suggest support? Why cannot E have a weak hand and be contemplating passing? Or be considering 5-Card Stayman?

  • If East knows this is West's style of bidding this looks like an undisclosed agreement.
    Perhaps it's why East hesitated!

    Alan

  • @JeremyChild said:
    Why does the hesitation suggest support? Why cannot E have a weak hand and be contemplating passing? Or be considering 5-Card Stayman?

    Because we know from experience that these are far more unlikely explanations than that the player has extra values. An experienced partnership will, furthermore, be quite likely to tell the difference between the two.

  • Thanks, Gordon.

    Is this "experience" written down anywhere? I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but an analysis of common situations (those where experience has shown us something) would be quite useful.

    For example I know that at low levels hesitation followed by pass means values, and that at higher levels hesitation followed by a double means the doubler would not be unhappy if it was taken out - the latter only because Robin_BarkerTD told me. What else is there?

    I'm a moderate club player, and these things do not always seem obvious to me. I'm not after a magic list that takes any skill or judgement away (that would be ludicrous) but a indication of situations where hesitation does suggest something, and the director should be taking advice.

  • There used to be a section in one of the publications (probably the Orange Book before it became Blue, and possibly now moved to the White Book) on "what does a hesitation suggest?".

    I'll have a look for it although Robin might manage it more quickly.

  • @sarahrugby said:
    The bidding went 2NT by W (20-22)
    Hesitation by E before bidding 3N
    West bids 6NT, played and made.

    So they can play in 2NT or 6NT, but never in 3NT. Can I play a long match against them, please (although I don't guarantee that the TD will remain uninvolved)?

    I agree with Mitch, especially his first comment!

  • @Abbeybear said:

    @sarahrugby said:
    The bidding went 2NT by W (20-22)
    Hesitation by E before bidding 3N
    West bids 6NT, played and made.

    So they can play in 2NT or 6NT, but never in 3NT. Can I play a long match against them, please (although I don't guarantee that the TD will remain uninvolved)?

    I agree with Mitch, especially his first comment!

    Preferably for money.

  • edited October 2018

    A hesitation before bidding 3NT over 2NT suggests bidding over passing, because there are more hands which are worried about missing slam than there are hands which are worried about getting to a bad game. Hands which have maybe around 3 HCP and no real shape aren't impossible, and might be worried about going to a bad game; but the range of hands worried about missing slam is much wider. (For example, East's actual hand is such a hand; East knows that the partnership has 30 HCP, and East also has a 6-card suit, so you'd expect East to make some sort of slam try, and the 3NT is an underbid. There are plenty of hands similar to East's, and different from East's, which would be in the same boat; hands worried about getting to a bad game are much rarer.)

    If East/West's methods are as they claimed they were (despite these methods making no sense, the bidding is consistent with them), 3NT should have been alerted; 3NT as a slam try, rather than a game signoff, is pretty unusual as methods over 2NT go. (There are a few partnerships that play 3!s as a transfer to 3NT, which can be used if they have no slam ambitions, making 3NT a genuine slam try. If E/W had been claimed to be using such methods, I'd be sympathetic to them if there were any supporting evidence. They should, however, nonetheless have alerted 3NT in this case.)

    As it is, though, I'd ask West why 3NT wasn't alerted. If West can't give a reasonable answer (or says something like "3NT is natural"), I'd disallow the 6NT bid because it could only have been bid on the basis of the UI. If West can give a plausible explanation that 3NT shows the sort of hand that can make slam opposite West's hand, and points to, e.g., an entry on the system card explaining this, then maybe we allow this (after checking for any potential MI considerations, although there's unlikely to have been damage here).

  • edited October 2018

    We know slow 3NT suggests extras to West because West went on.

    I don't doubt that West has always bid like this ("consistent with West's style of bidding") - I think this just means West has been adept at using partner's tempo in these situations for long enough for it to look like style/flair.

    This is the first example of use of UI in a club where I would recommend a penalty for blatant use of UI (Law 73C2), and would recommend the same penalty if 6NT had not made.

  • @Abbeybear said:
    There used to be a section in one of the publications (probably the Orange Book before it became Blue, and possibly now moved to the White Book) on "what does a hesitation suggest?".

    I'll have a look for it although Robin might manage it more quickly.

    White book 8.16.2. Although brief, it does seem to cover all the situations mentioned here. Thanks.

  • @JeremyChild said:

    @Abbeybear said:
    There used to be a section in one of the publications (probably the Orange Book before it became Blue, and possibly now moved to the White Book) on "what does a hesitation suggest?".

    I'll have a look for it although Robin might manage it more quickly.

    White book 8.16.2. Although brief, it does seem to cover all the situations mentioned here. Thanks.

    Thanks for saving me the trouble.

    @ais523 said:
    A hesitation before bidding 3NT over 2NT suggests bidding over passing, because there are more hands which are worried about missing slam than there are hands which are worried about getting to a bad game. Hands which have maybe around 3 HCP and no real shape aren't impossible, and might be worried about going to a bad game; but the range of hands worried about missing slam is much wider.

    I agree. Players tend to have come across borderline pass/raise situations before and have a partnership style for what they raise on. They don't have to think for long even if they are mentally tossing a coin. Borderline slam tries (especially if the methods don't suit the hand-type) tend to require more thought. In any event I am a great believer that in most cases, "slow shows".

    @ais523 said:
    If East/West's methods are as they claimed they were (despite these methods making no sense, the bidding is consistent with them), 3NT should have been alerted; 3NT as a slam try, rather than a game signoff, is pretty unusual as methods over 2NT go. (There are a few partnerships that play 3!s as a transfer to 3NT, which can be used if they have no slam ambitions, making 3NT a genuine slam try. If E/W had been claimed to be using such methods, I'd be sympathetic to them if there were any supporting evidence. They should, however, nonetheless have alerted 3NT in this case.)

    It is efficient in theory for a hand which wishes to raise to 3NT without much interest in other contracts to go through some route other than a direct raise (either via a Staymanic 3!c or via a 3!s bid which requires opener to bid 3NT, which responder will either pass or remove to show something or other). This releases a direct 3NT to show something else, but the downside is memory strain. I had a quite nice method devised with a former regular partner, but we binned it because we both kept forgetting it (better than one of us forgetting it, of course). ;)

    I do play 3NT as a non-forcing diamond slam try with several partners, which would fit this hand nicely, but it does not sound as though this pair were playing 3NT as anything specific. Opener could perhaps diagnose, however, that the hand was likely to be minor-suit orientated, else responder could have wheeled out whatever species of transfer to a major they use.

    I agree with Robin about the question of a penalty.

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