Board 6
Vul: E-W
Dealer: East

North (Robinson)
S  10 9 4 2
H   7 4 3
D   6 3
C   J 9 7 2


West (Schermer)

S  A Q 8 5
H  K Q
D  A K 7 4 2
C  10 6

East (Chambers)

S  K J
H 10 5
D  J 8 5
C  A Q 8 4 3 2


South (Boyd)
S  7 6 3
H  A J 9 8 6 2
D  Q 10 9 

C  K


N        E         S       W      
          Pass    1H    DBL
Pass  3C       P      3NT
All pass

Opening lead H3


Table Result: -1, +100 NS


Director's Statement:

 The play:

Trick 1: H3 - 5 - A - Q

Trick 2: HJ - K - 7 - 10

Declarer unblocked spades, led a diamond to the king, and cashed spades pitching clubs from dummy. South pitched the H 6 on the last spade. Declarer reported that this was a very slow discard.

At this point declarer (West) asked his screenmate (South) what North's tendencies are with four hearts in this position. South replied that sometimes he would bid and sometimes he wouldn't. Declarer then ducked a diamond, playing for 5-4 hearts; South claimed his hearts for down one. After the hand, North said that he would "probably always bid unless" he was 3=4=3=3. West said that with that information, he would have made the winning play of cashing minor winners to drop an honor.

A top expert was consulted on the play. He said that he was waffling between the line of play taken at the table and the winning line. He then asked about their tendencies; when given North's statement he said it was very clear to cash top tricks to attempt to drop D Q or C K.

With this information, it was decided that this player with the correct information was overwhelmingly likely to take nine tricks. Therefore, the information about the slow discard was no longer relevant. The score was changed to +600 E-W.

Appeals Committee Ruling

Table Result Stands (+100 N/S)

Appeals Committee Explanation

The committee did not believe that an 8-10 second hesitation before a first discard should be considered unusually long.
The discard of the 6 of hearts, and not the 2, was important.
The committee felt the declarer should make the hand for the following reasons:
    1. It was likely that North had only three hearts; at favorable vulnerability, with 4432 or 4423, North would have made a call.
    2. South was unlikely to discard a heart with only 5.
The committee also felt that Boyd's answer was adequate on whether partner would raise with 4 hearts. Answering a tendency is perception, and although it is possible Boyd's perception was off, we felt it was an honest answer. Had the committee felt that Boyd's answer was not honest, which would have been a different issue, it would not have changed the committees ruling.

Appeals Committee

Ralph Katz, Chairman
Michael Kamil, Member
Kerri Sanborn, Member