When is a hesitation not a hesitation?

1) Partner makes a stop bid and correctly displays the stop card. However, unfortunately as is very common at many clubs, RHO bids almost immediately and partner removes the stop card. You have a difficult choice of call (perhaps whether to pass or raise to game). Are you entitled to think for (say) up to 14 or 15 seconds (10 for the disregarded stop plus 4 or so for normal reflection) before calling without the risk of being accused of imparting UI to partner who might wish to take further action in the auction?

When the stop card is disregarded in this way, should the stop bidder instead leave the stop card on the table for the full ten seconds during which time their partner should pause before calling?

2) Suppose partner faces their opening lead, dummy goes down and declarer almost immediately calls for a card from dummy. You happen to have a singleton in the suit led, but want to inspect dummy and plan the killing defence :) . Are you justified in pausing before playing your singleton? Some people suggest placing the card face down on the table and then pause to peruse dummy before revealing your play. However, this seems to risk giving UI either to partner or declarer that you have a singleton or at least nothing to think about regarding the card played.

3) Suppose after a few tricks to a hand have been played, declarer leads a card in a suit in which you now have a singleton. However, you are on 'autopilot' towards the end of a long session and fail to notice declarer's play (perhaps on the previous trick declarer ruffed or overtook dummy's card unexpectedly or you were simply thinking about a pint in the pub afterwards ;) ). After a substantial pause you wake up.

Should you make a comment to the effect: "sorry I was dreaming" or "I thought dummy/partner was on lead" so that it is later clear that you were not pausing with a singleton to mislead declarer? Or do such comments make the situation worse by perhaps imparting UI to partner?

Comments

  • @34264 said:

    1) Partner makes a stop bid and correctly displays the stop card. However, unfortunately as is very common at many clubs, RHO bids almost immediately and partner removes the stop card. You have a difficult choice of call (perhaps whether to pass or raise to game). Are you entitled to think for (say) up to 14 or 15 seconds (10 for the disregarded stop plus 4 or so for normal reflection) before calling without the risk of being accused of imparting UI to partner who might wish to take further action in the auction?

    If the next player disregards the stop procedure, then subsequent hesitation by stop-bidders partner will not (may not) constitute unauthorised information.

    When the stop card is disregarded in this way, should the stop bidder instead leave the stop card on the table for the full ten seconds during which time their partner should pause before calling?

    Yes.

  • @34264 said:
    2) Suppose partner faces their opening lead, dummy goes down and declarer almost immediately calls for a card from dummy. You happen to have a singleton in the suit led, but want to inspect dummy and plan the killing defence :) . Are you justified in pausing before playing your singleton? Some people suggest placing the card face down on the table and then pause to peruse dummy before revealing your play. However, this seems to risk giving UI either to partner or declarer that you have a singleton or at least nothing to think about regarding the card played.

    EBU regulations are very generous to third hand in this position.

    White Book 8.73.2.2 Pause by third hand
    Whether or not declarer plays quickly from dummy at trick one, a pause by third hand should not be considered to transmit any unauthorised information to partner, nor to convey potentially misleading information to declarer. No disclaimer is necessary.
    The freedom for third hand to think about the deal generally at trick one applies irrespective of their holding. Thus, for example, it is perfectly legitimate to think about the deal generally at trick one even if third hand holds a singleton in the suit led. As a consequence, TDs should not entertain claims that declarer has been misled by a pause from third hand at trick one.

  • @34264 said:

    3) Suppose after a few tricks to a hand have been played, declarer leads a card in a suit in which you now have a singleton. However, you are on 'autopilot' towards the end of a long session and fail to notice declarer's play (perhaps on the previous trick declarer ruffed or overtook dummy's card unexpectedly or you were simply thinking about a pint in the pub afterwards ;) ). After a substantial pause you wake up.

    Should you make a comment to the effect: "sorry I was dreaming" or "I thought dummy/partner was on lead" so that it is later clear that you were not pausing with a singleton to mislead declarer? Or do such comments make the situation worse by perhaps imparting UI to partner?

    This is less likely to be an unauthorised information issue, but it likely to illegally deceive declarer. If you find you have hesitated with a singleton (after trick one) you should indeed issue a disclaimer.

  • @34264 said:

    Are you entitled to think for (say) up to 14 or 15 seconds (10 for the disregarded stop plus 4 or so for normal reflection) before calling without the risk of being accused of imparting UI to partner who might wish to take further action in the auction?

    I was under the impression that the 10s was the "thinking time", the purpose being to allow contemplation (or not) after an unexpected bid without giving any UI.

  • 2) I always stop to plan and consider the hand in third position after the opening lead, even when I have no chance of making a trick.
    If Dummy has a singleton and plays it I wait for a long time for declarer to call it.

    Alan

  • Me, too, 16248; it can take an age for Declarer to eventually glare at you and tell you it is you to play and I get no pleasure out of telling Declarer I am waiting for him/her to nominate the (singleton, already moved by Dummy) card.
    Why do so many assume the laws don't apply to them?

  • If my partner plays a singleton from dummy at trick one I ask them to put it back until I am ready to play it.

  • @BlackTopaz said:
    If my partner plays a singleton from dummy at trick one I ask them to put it back until I am ready to play it.

    I would be inclined to say "I haven't called for a card yet". As third in hand I would wait for declarer to call for it.

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