Appeal 1 - 2009
Reported by Pauline Gumby

Open ITS Stage II Session 1 - 25/2/2009

Appeals Committee: Bruce Neill (chairman), David Beauchamp, Kim Morrison

Board 8
Nil Vul
Dealer West

S  K985
H  3
D  AQ6543
C  94

S  AJ72
H  AQJ76
D  7
C  AK6

S  Q43
H  K1098542
D  K109
C  -
S  106
H  -
D  J82
C  QJ1087532

Auction and Explanations

West North East South
1C1 1D 1H2 5C
X P 5H P
6H P P P
1 strong

2 Natural, GF

West's X of 5C was after an agreed hesitation,
i.e. BIT (Break in Tempo)

Play - N/A


Result:     6HE NS -980

Tournament Directors Statement of Facts and Ruling:   Given the EW agreements it was ruled that passing the double was not a logical alternative. Table result of EW +980 to stand.

Reasons for Appeal:    The agreed hesitation before doubling 5C provided East with a logical alternative to pass and collect a sure plus when partner has wasted club values. The assertion that ‘support doubles’ are played after a 5 level intervention is unlikely and self-serving. Also, AQJxx is very far-fetched to be treated as a support double!!

Opponents Submission:     Excerpt from EW system notes:-

- lf they bid and raise a suit

double is takeout through the roof. If partner has bid a suit and their fit is at 3H or higher, double shows support and defensive values. However, if partner made a weak jump, double is penalty because partner is well-defined.

- If neither side has shown a fit

double is takeout through 4H, co-operative beyond. (But a double of a 4S opening is tko) After partner opens in a major, double then a new suit is F2NPR, negative free bids at 2-level. Opposite a tko double, double of a new suit is penalty (a suit implied by the doubler) However ...

- lf partner's hand is well-defined

double is penalty, both over and under. Also applies if we bid and raise a suit, though opener can rarely remove a double under the length. Note: if the player sitting over their length has denied 4+ cards in the suit, it's takeout over, still penalty under

Decision of the Appeals Committee:    

The committee noted the system notes submitted by the respondents and decided that accordingly the double of 5C clearly was not penalty. It was either "cooperative" or showing a fit. The committee felt that the "cooperative" interpretation was more likely than "fit showing".

Considering the two possible interpretations:

  1. If the double was taken as fit showing, then removing the double to 5H is completely clear cut.
  2. The committee interpreted a "cooperative" double to mean that partner should pass with a hand suitable for defence, bid with an unsuitable hand. In that case, the committee considered that passing the double on the East hand is not a logical alternative in view of the extreme shape, void in clubs, and lack of defensive cards.

Additional comment:
The committee noted the desirability of clear disclosure (potentially including pre-alerting) of unusual doubles in competitive auctions.

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