Damaged by MI - or not

edited July 2019 in EBU TDs

This happened at Scarborough over the weekend.

North opens 1NT and East bids 2 Clubs, alerted as showing the majors (5+ 4+).

South bids 2 Hearts - alerted as showing the minor suits and West (holding a 4=1=4=4 hand) passes.

North now changes the meaning of the call and says that it now shows hearts - and offers West the choice of changing their call (AFAIK no TD was involved for this decision).

West now changes his call to 2 Spades and partner bids 4 Spades.

During the play declarer finesses the King of Spade in North's hand and, worried that a third heart might be over-ruffed, draws the last trump - eventually losing a third trick. He does need to get back to his hand to throw a club loser on a winning diamond - and if he was over-ruffed the defence could cash a club - going one off.

Declarer now gets the correct explanation (again!) and calls the TD giving the reason why he drew the last trump saying that had he known the correct information he could have proceeded on a cross-ruff basis (ruffing third heart low, fourth heart high) and made an overtrick. We confer and decide that he could still have proceded on a cross-ruff basis since if North over-ruffs then that would be the same as if he drew the last trump. However, yours truly missed the fact that if the third heart was overruffed by North (more likely with the MI) then the club could have been cashed (there was no other way back to declarer's hand).

So the question is: was declarer damaged by the MI? The reason I am asking is that without the MI it is quite likely (West having passed with the correct information) that the final contract would not have been 4 Spades in the first place (we didn't poll or ask questions to see if EW would have reached 4S with the correct information at the time - presumably the auction would have been on the lines of

1N - 2C - 2H - P
3D - ?

.......... K9
.......... K963
.......... QT93
.......... A72

JT53 .......................... AQ8642
T ................................. AJ54
K874 .......................... J
Q986 .......................... 43

......... 7
.......... Q872
.......... A652
.......... KJT8


  • Which was the correct explanation? Did they have any documentation of this?

  • The correct explanation (as agreed by NS) was the - show the minors one. North got confused and admitted that second (incorrect) explanation was due to thinking that the bid was part of the Lebensohl convention. Both N & S concurred as to the meaning: I did not look at the CC. (I did think that North's second explanaiton improbable given that East had shown the majors, but that is by and by)

  • How can he cross-ruff without letting in the opponents to play a second round of trumps?

  • I have to admit I am confused by a lot of this.
    The pair made their own ruling at the table, in a position where it's not entirely obvious to me that West was entitled to change his call over 2H (I would at least like to understand why he was damaged by the putative-MI).

    If North really believed 2H shows hearts* then I don't understand why he didn't raise hearts over 2S

    And I don't understand how the play went such that West had the problem you describe. At some point declarer must have played a diamond towards the king which South won, but when was it and what did South play next? We do need to be sympathetic to a West who is confused by the auction, but I can't see any way that declarer gets to a point where he can make, might make an overtrick or is at risk of going down.

    *It's not improbable to me, I play both 2H and 2S as natural on this sequence.

  • A general point. If one side correct an explanation (or late alert or ...) and tell the other side they can change their call, the correcting side have no redress if the other side changes their call when it is not a change permitted by Law 21B1 (a). That is, not a change where "the Director judges that the decision to make the call could well have been influenced by misinformation".

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    How can he cross-ruff without letting in the opponents to play a second round of trumps?

    Can't he ruff 3rd heart low, cash KD discard club, ruff 4th heart with the ten?

    The play

    W N E S
    HT 6H AH 8H - opening heart lead won by dummy with Ace
    4D 3D JD AD - Diamond led towards King - South jumps up with Ace
    QC AC 3C 10C - South leads a club and North wins with the Ace
    3S KH 5H 2H - North tries to cash the King of Hearts - West ruffs
    JS KS AS 7S - West leads the Jack of Spades and North covers with the King

    Play has finished when I arrive but it is at this point that South states that he drew the last trump to avoid a potential over-ruff and club cash.

  • I am generally in sympathy with the NOS but not here.
    Declarer (I assume you mean West, not South) is in dummy with one trump outstanding, the 9. He has the Q in dummy and the 10 in hand

    He can if he wishes ruff the third heart high in hand, cash the king of diamonds, ruff a club and ruff the fourth heart low to guarantee 10 tricks. He has no risk of going off.

    This is a pretty silly line, as it costs a trick when hearts are 5-3. However, If he took this line, I would have slightly more sympathy. Only slightly, because it is playing the opening leader to have led low from Kx. And playing North to have 3 hearts is entirely consistent with South having bid 2H on five, so it's not as if the MI put him in a totally different 'world'' (which can happen)

Sign In or Register to comment.