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Is there UI in this situation? And, if there is no UI, is the tempo relevant?

 

In a recent club game, my partner and I passed throughout, as our two non-life-master opponents bid as follows:

 2--2--2NT--3 (Puppet, alerted)--3 (alerted)--4--Then, after a very, very long hesitation, 4NT---And, finally, after another long hesitation, PASS. The contract was 4NT.

 Over responder's 3 bid, opener, playing a convention she was unfamiliar with, thought she was supposed to bid the major she did not have. So, holding four hearts and only two spades, she bid 3.

 Responder's hand was  J1075   K8   542   K964.

 The misunderstanding was not revealed to opener by her partner's alert. Rather, when responder raised to game in a suit opener thought she had denied, she was sure they were in the wrong spot. And she bid 4NT, hoping it was to play.

 Opener's body language and pronounced break in tempo showed she was worried about the auction, but she did not communicate that she wanted her partner to pass.

 Responder passed 4NT because she did not think her side could make slam with opener's max being 24 hcpts.

 At the time, I thought this was a hesitation Blackwood situation because I thought most responders would have shown controls over the 4NT bid. Or, if the partnership had the opinion that opener could definitely not ask for controls here, I thought most responders, holding four spades, would return to that suit.

But, on further consideration, I am less sure that either is the case. We all knew opener had made a mistake in the auction, but the clues could all be from the auction rather than from the tempo. So, I may be wrong to think tempo was relevant.

Opener's mistake could have been that she had miscounted her points and that she should have bid 3NT instead of 2NT, at her second turn or that she had pulled the wrong bidding card and had meant to make some call other than 3S, or that what actually happened, happened---that she had been confused and had thought the 3S bid was the correct bid on Ax. Or, it could have been something else I haven't thought of.

 We got a near top for defending 4NT down 1. However, I would like to know how you folks would look at this situation if we had received an under average score.

 Would you please give your opinion on any or all of the following?:

 

1. Does UI exist here?

 

2. If there is UI, how should E-W have handled the auction? 

 

3. Are less experienced players expected to react the same as experts in cases of UI?

 

 4. If opener had held five spades and 30 hcpts, would there be a score adjustment if a spade slam was down on bad breaks, and 4NT was a make?

 

Thanks for your input.

 

 

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