header                Issue #21               April 2016

These pages are an attempt to inform bridge players of  the laws governing our game.  In particular, we will be looking at everyday situations where the TD is called.
These pages will be updated each month, so please come again!  

Always call the TD for any infringement, however minor -  do not take the law into your own hands.

Hesitation in Bidding giving UI

Agreed hesitation in Bidding

My views

Philip Feinstein writes in:

East Dealer;  N-S Vul

The bidding was-
W     N     E     S
            P     P    
1S   4C    4S    ..P*   
P    5C     P     P    
5S   all pass

..P* = agreed hesitation (break in tempo)

West made 10 tricks (one down)

Should North be allowed to bid
after his partner hesitated?

If so, should the score be adjusted to
4S making by west?

In the March issue I answered a query regarding a hesitation in the play but there was no adjustment made since there was no damage caused. Here, the situation is very different.

I replied to Philip that my feeling was that North has bid his hand, at red, and his decision to go 5C over 4S was influenced very much by South's hesitation. I would reset the contract to 4S and allocate 10 tricks... but first I would like to conduct a poll.

Give 4 or 5 players (of North's calibre) the bidding - without mentioning the long hesitation of course - and ask them what they would do after 4S - P - P. If 2 players choose PASS, the TD has his decision. Of those that said 5C ask if they considered PASS as an alternative. That rounds up the TD's job.

If you asked me, I would certainly PASS, for fear of going -500 or even 800 at these colours.

I repeat these laws that are again relevant here -


After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call or play, as for example by a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected* alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, or mannerism, the partner may not choose from among logical alternatives one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information.

Law 73D1:

It is desirable, though not always required, for players to maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner. However, players should be particularly careful when variations may work to the benefit of their side.

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Sid Ismail
National Director

April 2016

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