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Another (unneccesary?) hesitation leads to trouble
Hand played on:
Board number / section:
The Hands and the Bidding
- Acknowledged hesitation
- The validity of this bid was challenged
Description:North's initial pass followed a long hesitation, so thereby he passed 'Unauthorised Information' to partner that he held values. After the hand was played out, East challenged whether South was justified in bidding 3♣.
Analysis:A hesitation followed by a pass will always put partner under pressure; any bid that partner subsequently makes must be 'squeaky clean' and cannot take any notice of the 'Unauthorised Information' given by the hestitation. In discussion, South suggested that East's simple 1♠ followed by 2♠ showed a minimum hand, and therefore he was entitled to assume from the bidding alone that partner held some values. That argument does not really 'stand up': one possible scenario is that West held plenty of values, and was waiting for East to re-open with a take-out double, which West planned to pass for penalties; another scenario - as in fact applies here - is that East has taken note of the vulnerability, and, opposite a pass from partner, has chosen to bid on cautiously. For South to bid freely at the 3-level without any encouragement from partner would require a much better hand, in terms of overall strength, or distribution, or both.
On this particular hand, it is difficult to see just why North passed initially after partner's overcall of 2♥. In the discussion afterwards, North said that he did not wish to encourage his partner to bid game. Surely, however, a simple 3♥ must purely be competitive / obstructive? Had North had enough values to make a game try he could instead have used the 'Unassuming Cue Bid' of 2♠?As is usual in similar situations, a panel of seven players was asked whether they would bid 3♣ on the South hand following a smooth auction. The general approach adopted is that if 70% (ie 5 out of 7) of the players support the bid then it is allowed to stand. In practice, the first five to respond all voted to disallow it.
The Ruling:South, after the unauthorised information of the hesitation, is not now entitled to bid at the 3 level with a poor 13 count and indifferent shape.
Judgement: roll the contract back to 2♠, making 8 tricks.North might still have opted to compete himself but, as the offending side, they are not entitled to this kind of redress.
- He who hesitates will create problems for partner
- Opposite an overcall from partner, you can distinguish a competitive hand from an ongoing / invitational hand by not using / using the Unassuming Cue Bid