# Hesitation Blackwood

edited March 2018 in EBU TDs

North
S : K75
H : A96
D : AKT87
C : Q6

South
S : AJT9843
H : QJT754
D : -
C : -

E/W Vul, teams, dealer South. The auction was:
South North
1S ... 2D
3H ... 4NT(RKCB)
5D ... (hesitation) 5S
6S

(Edited: North hesitated before bidding 5S. - Robin)

What are South's logical alternatives - passing/bidding 6S/bidding 7S/other? Should 6S be allowed?

Thanks.

• South isn't the one who has unauthorised information, so is free to do what he likes.

• @BobB said:
5D (hesitation) 5S

I was going to ask does "5D (hesitation) 5S" mean "South bid 5D after a hesitation and North bid 5S in tempo" OR "South bid 5D and then there was a hesitation and North bid 5S". Quoting the OP reveals extra space between "5D" and "(hesitation) 5S", so I guess the 5S bid was out of tempo and South does have unauthorised information.

I guess a slow 5S suggests that only one key card is missing, and so in abstract it suggests bidding 7S over 6S and 6S over Pass. As to logical alternatives, it is difficult to know once you have seen the topic heading. A poll (on another forum) without the unauthorised information might be more informative.

• With only two voids I think pass is a LA. Had South 3 voids I would have allowed 6 !s to be called. (TIC)

I think the pause by North (if that is the case) suggests he is thinking of either bidding 6 !s OR that he is unsure whether Hearts or Spades should be the correct denomination. Both suggest values in Hearts and Spades rather than wasted values in Clubs - and thus suggests 6 !s . Whether pass is a LA is more interesting - even the two major suit kings in North's hand are sufficient for 6 !s to make . . .

• Sorry, it’s not clear from the auction as written down who hesitated. In fact, it was North who hesitated.

• @BobB said:
Sorry, it’s not clear from the auction as written down who hesitated. In fact, it was North who hesitated.

Then I agree with Robin that we need to do a poll with the South hand. I think it's unlikely that many will pass, but I could be wrong.

• I think it's very reasonable for South to take 5S as offering a choice of slams, hesitation or not. He's already been a little pushy with his strength by reversing, so I don't feel that 7S is a LA, just as I don't feel that pass is a LA, either.

• @Tag said:
I think it's very reasonable for South to take 5S as offering a choice of slams, hesitation or not. He's already been a little pushy with his strength by reversing, so I don't feel that 7S is a LA, just as I don't feel that pass is a LA, either.

5NT would be a better way of doing that than bidding a slow 5S.

• edited March 2018

Wouldn't that be asking for Kings?

My view is that North very genuinely had something to think about here and the BIT issue concerns only what South can gleam from the bidding with the hesitation as against the same auction without the hesitation. I don't see that any particular action here is demonstrably suggested by the BIT. North had to find a bid to express his hand and, in my opinion, found it. To me, the BIT says nothing more than that North was a little slow in sorting his options. Having found his bid, there's no extra information with the tempo change than without it. Then again, I guess that's what polls are for, to see whether most people agree.

• "A poll (on another forum) without the unauthorised information might be more informative."

A couple of days before the OP appeared here, the South hand was posted on the Bridge Club Live forum by another player in the event. The South hand was presented as a bidding poll asking what we would do after the 5S bid came back to us and, quite rightly, there was no hint of any irregularity at the table. The matter of the hesitation got introduced later but the useful replies from the point of view of a poll were that four would have bid 6S and four would have passed. Almost everyone said that they would not have chosen a rebid of 3H, but they were quite happy to give an opinion on the basis that they had rebid 3H.

Another player made a similar point to Tag that surely the 5S was asking partner for HQ. However, as the player at the table actually raised to 6S, that would probably not have been a relevant response to an ask for HQ. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to ask the player at the table "Why did you bid 6S?". I understand from the West player at the table that South's only consideration was whether to raise to 6S or not.

Barrie Partridge - CTD for Bridge Club Live

• @Tag said:
Wouldn't that be asking for Kings?

Oops, I forgot they had been using Blackwood - I thought they had cue-bid their way to that point!

• "To me, the BIT says nothing more than that North was a little slow in sorting his options. Having found his bid, there's no extra information with the tempo change than without it. Then again, I guess that's what polls are for, to see whether most people agree."

You will find few agreeing to such a view. I would expect North to know what he is going to do before asking RKCB. This is, as suggested by the title of the thread, a classic Hesitation Blackwood situation as described in the White Book:

"8.16.4 ‘Hesitation Blackwood’

The responder to a Blackwood bid is normally expected to accept their partner’s decision, and
when that decision is after a pause for thought, responder is not permitted to continue except
when partner ‘cannot’ have a hand on which slam will fail. (See EBU Appeals 2000, hand 2.)

While this is the normal case there are particular positions where it might be acceptable for a
player to continue, which include:

• Responder holds an unshown but useful void.
• After a response showing 0/3, 0/4 or 1/4, responder has the higher value"

Here we have up to two useful voids, but that doesn't mean it is acceptable to continue. It says it might be!

Barrie Partridge - CTD for Bridge Club Live

• Thanks, SK.

• This seems a standard Hesitation Blackwood situation: North has shown he is on the brink of bidding 6S so it suggests bidding 6S (at least). So if pass is a logical alternative (LA) then ruling it back to 5S is routine. SK's poll suggests pass is an LA..

It is rare that I find something completely outside my experience but one player using Hesitation Blackwood and his partner continuing by asking for kings is new. I must try and think of a suitable name: suggestions welcome.

• I think that we should positively encourage Hesitation Blackwood...

...but only in the sense that whenever contemplating Blackwood players should take time to check that they know what to do over any of the responses (there are not that many of them, after all).

This is excellent discipline as it will occasionally demonstrate that Blackwood is not the answer, and it will prevent partner being constrained with an unusual hand and render the "cannot have a hand where slam will fail" standard irrelevant.

The UI provided by hesitation **before ** Blackwood will rarely constrain partner. It will not generally suggest anything specific because the range of possible options being considered is so wide: from passing through making some other slam move to bidding slam direct.

Hesitation after Blackwood generally strongly suggests bidding on (although in some quarters it may be "whoops, we're already too high" - there was a player at one of my clubs years ago who played this, and you could always tell).