Appeal 2 - 2015
Reported by Pauline Gumby

Seniors' ITS Rd 13 - 17/5/2015

Appeals Committee: Appeals Committee: Michael Wilkinson (chair), Nye Griffiths, Julian Foster, Warren Lazer, Sartaj Hans

Board 18
NS Vul
Dealer East

S  A97
H  K86
D  8643
C  J85

S  KQ43
H  975432
D  2

S  10652
H  10
D  AQ105
C  9643
S  J8
D  KJ97
C  A1072

Auction and Explanations

West North East South
    P 1NT
2H* P P 2NT
P 3NT All pass  
1NT = 15-17
* alerted

Play - N/A

Result:   NS +600     

Tournament Director's Statement of Facts and Ruling :   

Relevant Law: 16B1

I was called to the table by EW at the end of the auction by East, who was concerned about South's bid of 2NT. I asked that the play be completed.

At the end of the hand when 9 tricks were made, I was called back to the table. It was claimed that South was in receipt of unauthorised information which may have influenced his decision to call 2NT.

There may be some dispute as to the precise order of what occurred at the table. From hearing evidence from the players both at the table and subsequently, I believe that the following is the most likely scenario and approximations of what was said. it is on this which the ruling was based.

South: 1NT
West: 2H
East: "Alert"
North: "Yes?"
East: "Sorry I shouldn't have alerted 2H, it's just natural."
North: Pass

At the table, North argued and it was conceded that there was not a significant break in tempo before North's pass. The speed with which the call was made was consistent with North's normal tempo. As such, I determined that any extraneous information made available to South by North was just on the basis of North's enquiry after the alert and not through any "unmistakable hesitation". It appeared to me that the nature of North's question was a seemingly reflex response, not necessarily conveying anything significant.  The relevant law is 16B1:

"1. (a) After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call of play, as for example by a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected alert of failure to alert, or by unmistakeable 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.

     (b) A logical alternative action is one that, among the class of players in question and using the methods of the partnership, would be given serious consideration by a significant proportion of such players, of whom its judged some might select it."

Given the circumstances, I did not believe that there was any unauthorised information passed which could have demonstrably suggested South's action. I therefore ruled that there was no infraction and allowed the score to stand.

Reason for Appeal: The appellants submission was that there was a tempo break by North.

Decision of the Appeals Committee:  The committee felt that the question asked following the alert created unauthorised information, as North probably would not ask holding a balanced Yarborough.

Score adjusted to 2H by East -1. NS +50

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