| Q T 7 5
A 6 2
J 9 3
Facts: In the play of the trump suit, declarer cashed A
and played a small spade towards dummy. East played
Q, losing two trump tricks, one down. South admitted that he fumbled his cards
(because they were sticky).
Infraction under 73F2 and adjusted the score to NS -620. Advised parties that
it was appropriate for this matter to go to appeal.
South - "I flinched slightly due to the cards being sticky and declarer
mispicked and went one off. Then comes the appeal to the director thus getting
two bites at the cherry."
East - "I deliberately played against the odds due to the
fumble which appeared to mark the
K with South."
The Committee's decision:
The Committee ruled: TD's decision to stand.
L73D1 states "It is desirable, though not always required, for players to
maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner. However, players should be
particularly careful in positions in which variations may work to the benefit
of their side. Otherwise, inadvertently to vary the tempo or manner in which a
call or play is made does not in itself constitute a violation of propriety,
but inferences from such variation may appropriately be drawn only by an
opponent, and at his own risk."
In other words, it is a responsibility of a player to be careful to maintain a
steady tempo. If they are careful then an opponent can use the variation in
tempo at their own risk. In a position such as occurred in this case South
should have stated "I am sorry, my cards have stuck together."
Declarer can now take any inference they like - BUT AT THEIR OWN RISK. In this
case nothing was said, declarer was damaged and adjustment is appropriate.