Appeal 2 - 2006
Reported by Pauline Gumby

Open ITS Q2 - 8/2/2006

Appeals Committee: Ted Chadwick(chairman), Warren Lazer, Terry Brown

Board 10
Bothl Vul
Dealer East

S  975
H  4
D  J10543
C  Q432

S  -
H  J10532
D  AQ9862
C  76

S  J103
H  KQ9876
D  -
C  KJ85
S  AKQ8642
H  A
D  K7
C  A109

Auction and Explanations

5HP P   X**
All pass

  * Splinter
** agreed break in tempo

Result:   6HXE NS 200

Tournament Directors Statement of Facts and Ruling: Facts not disputed.

Ruled that Pass was a logical alternative to North bidding 5S and could have been suggested by South's break in tempo in doubling over 5H.

Infraction inder Law 16.

Score adjusted to NS -850.

Reasons for Appeal: 

1) We acknowledge the break by South when 5H came round to her, though it was short in the context of the auction.

2) North's 5S may not be 100% clear but it's pretty solid. Undisclosed support, not much defence, plus he knows that West's shortage is highly likely to be a void, something South can't know. The stiff heart might be useful, etc.

Note that South's double of 5H is takeout in our partnership. An ideal hand would be AKxxxxx, ---, Axx, Kxx. Too good to sell out, not prepared to wing 5S. I can't find a sample of this type of sequence, but our basic doubling guidelines include "Double for takeout through the roof when they have a fit and we don't." Also, we follow a dictum I associate with Lavings "Once you make a takeout double of a suit, all subsequent doubles of that suit - by you - are takeout." For instance

1S X
2S 3H 4S X

  X = "I think you could have made 4H. Maybe we can make something at the 5-level."

Following the same principle, a double of 5H by North would have been a "fit-double" showing a defensive raise. North might have done that, but not quite enough values (say the CA instead of CQ). Note that 4S might have been a stretch so 5S directly over 5H has little appeal. This all changes when South doubles again. South also caters for North having a strong desire to defend 5H.

3) Is South's hesitation readable? We can see that South was deciding between double and 5S but North can't see that. Perhaps South's choices were pass and double, maybe on something like AQJxxx, Kx, Kxx, Ax. Then 5S by North would likely turn a plus to a minus. Note that South should pass with that 6-2-3-2 and collect 100s, because double is takeout. The price we pay for our method...

Opponents Submission:    

Decision of the Appeals Committee:   Director's decision overruled, table result to stand, i.e. NS +200.

North South produced documentary evidence that South's double was not a penalty double but more along the lines of 'I have a great hand for my bidding and wish for further action'. North also confirmed that, had he.doubled 5H, it would not have been a penalty double, rather a raise in spades. Holding QJxx of hearts for example he would have to pass in his methods.

The committee found this evidence compelling and had no reason to doubt its veracity. In addition the 'break in tempo' of the double of 5H was probably no more significant than one might expect at this stage of such an auction.

Surprisingly the nature of North / South's methods and the documentation to back it up was never presented to the director.

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