Join Bridge Winners
Procedural Penalty

We had a questionable ruling is a Swiss match at the Palm Springs regional last week:

 

North
KJ106
K95
K3
J842
South
Q73
QJ10843
AQ5
7
W
N
E
S
1
X
2
P
2
P
4
P
P
P

 

The 2 call was intended as showing a llimit raise or better.  it was not alerted.  After the auction was over, North explained the meaning of his bid.  When the dummy came down I called the director, explaining the situation.  He said to play the hand, of course.  4 made.  After the hand was finished I called the director back.  I felt that North had the UI from the failure to alert that South had mis-interpreted the 2 call.  This UI suggested bidding 4 for two reasons:

1) North knows that South isn't necessarily signing off opposite a limit raise, which of course would be the meaning of the 2 call if 2 is interpreted as a limit raise or better.

2) North knows that South probably has 6 hearts from South's 2 rebid, something North would have no reason to expect without the UI.

I felt that either passing or bidding 3 was a LA.

Had North bid 3, would South have bid game?  Not clear.  South is minimal, has a singleton in what he thinks is North's suit, and South thinks he has already shown 6 hearts.

The ruling was as follows:

1) Table result stands

2) N-S are given a procedural penalty of some number of IMPs or VP's (I don't know exactly what it was).

This makes no sense to me at all.

What did N-S do to get a procedural penalty?  Maybe North shouldn't have bid 4.  But this was a bridge decision, and in North's mind he probably thought he had his bid, possibly subconsciously influenced by the UI.  Even if the 4 bid is disallowed, this is not the sort of blatant use of UI (such as re-opening on a balanced 9-count after partner huddles and passes over a weak 2) which deserves a procedural penalty.

If the director allowed the table result to stand because he judged the UI didn't suggest bidding 4, or because he judged other calls were not LA's, or because he judged that North had a clear 3 bid and then South would have a clear 4 call, while I would disagree with the ruling I would accept it since it is a bridge judgment situation.  But combining this with a procedural penalty (which appears to state that N-S were way out of line) just doesn't seem consistent to me.

I am bothered that directors are using a procedural penalty as a punishment for a bid which is judge to have been an inadmissable call due to UI.  I don't think this is what a procedural penalty is for.  It should be for when a player does something which he knows very well that he is not supposed to do.  That can't be the case here. 

90 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top