Board 58
Vul: All
Dealer E

West (Georgiana Gates
North (Lynn Deas)
S  A 5
H  T 8 3
D  T 8 7 6
C  9 7 4 3

East (Pat Norman)
S  9 6
H  A J 6
D  9 5 4 2
C  A K 6 2

S  K Q J 3
H  Q 7 2
D  A K Q 3
C  Q 5
  South (Judi Radin)
S  T 8 7 4 2
H  K 9 5 4
D  J
C  J T 8


N        E         S       W      
          1Cry      P       2Cry
P        2Foot in mouth     P      3NT
P        5NT*   P      6Cool**
P       6NT    All pass

* East explained to N as natural and invitational
  West explained to S as Grand Slam Force
** East explained to N as Natural
    West explained to S as weakest possible trump holding

Table Result: 6NT making 6 +1430 EW

Director's Ruling

Misinformation (Law 40B.4) but the non-offenders were not damaged by the MI so result stands.

Appeals Committee Ruling

E/W had no agreement about the 5NT and 6Cool bids.  They had never been discussed (although 6Cool in response to the GSF had been discussed) and East’s explanations constituted MI.  The correct explanation should have been “We have no agreement.”

North led the Embarassed3 to the 2, K and A.  Declarer cashed two rounds of diamonds, led the king of spades and eventually squeezed North in the minors for 12 tricks.

North’s statements:  She led a heart because she thought the minors were running, especially if West had 5 clubs, and she would need to develop a fast heart trick to go with her ace of spades.  Had she received the correct explanation, she would have led a club.  This would have resulted in down one, unless West led a spade to the king and ducked a spade “and I don’t think anyone would do that.”  She didn’t beat the hand with the wrong explanation and would have beaten the hand with the correct explanation.

The directors ruled that there was no adjustment because the MI did not cause damage.  However, that conclusion was based on a faulty analysis of the play with a club lead that overlooked the shortage of entries to the West hand.
The committee had no reason to doubt or to believe North’s statement about a club lead, so it was not a determining factor. However, there was some possibility of a different lead with the correct explanation, a possibility that was viewed in the most favorable light to N/S as the non-offenders. The ace of spades would not be successful, but with a minor suit lead South would have been prevented from playing the king of hearts at trick one. Declarer would then have had a much tougher time making 6NT.

In order to adjust the score, there had to be damage to N/S as a consequence of the MI (Law 40B.4.)  Damage exists when, because of an infraction, an innocent side obtains a result less favorable than would have been the expectation had there been no infraction (Law 12B.1).

The committee felt that the damage was not caused by the MI, therefore no adjustment was warranted. Even assuming that the expectation would have been down one with a minor suit lead, the MI only caused the heart lead and did not cause South to play the king. Had South played the 9 (North could not be underleading the ace for any number of reasons), declarer would have been in the same position as with a minor suit lead. That South would have had no chance to play the HK with a different lead was subsequent to the MI, not a consequence of it. It is not enough that the result would likely have been different.

The committee considered adjusting E/W’s score to down one as “at all probable” (Law 12C.1.(e)(ii)), but did not feel that the different standards for adjusting the two sides could change the fact that the MI did not cause damage.  The committee was not unanimous on this point.

Finally, the committee determined that 6NT should be made on any lead with best play and defense.  With a heart lead to the 9 and J or a minor suit lead, declarer leads a spade toward the honors, cashes two rounds of diamonds and then would have no choice but to play for the ace of spades doubleton since she cannot afford to cross back to her hand to lead up again.  Whether or not this would have happened was a minor concern, but it does show that in a vacuum there was no damage resulting from the MI.

Appeals Committee

Ron Gerard, Chairman
Robb Gordon, Member
Jeff Polistner, Member