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The BR Ruling: Questions that Perplex Me

In regard to the Blue Ribbon ruling, questions have been perplexing me for some time now.

I am no “in depth” expert about the rules and laws, so I appreciate thoughts from those more knowledgeable than I.

This was one of the facts presented about the case:  East made a comment while they waited for the tray: “Maybe I should not have done that because partner might be void.”

I assume that this is a verbatim quote from Joe Grue.  If so, here are some of my thoughts and subsequent questions.

It seems to me that Joe’s statement was due to his musings as he and his screenmate waited for the tray to return. Clearly over 7NT, only his LHO could be thinking.  (I suppose partner could be weighing redouble if his LHO doubled - but - highly unlikely.)

#1:  Joe did not state that his partner did have a void; he only stated that his partner might be void. Brian Glubock is a world class player, surely capable of being aware of this without Joe’s comment. Thus, what is the effect upon Brian’s lawful ability to choose a lead on Joe’s statement alone?

#2:  Of course I could be wrong in my assessment, but my guess is that had Joe’s LHO passed in tempo, Joe’s comment never would have been made. Even if Brian thought for some time, I do not believe that Joe would have made his comment. Assuming I am correct, does this matter – or not?

#3:  The bottom line that really has me perplexed is this.  Many seem to think that because Joe made this statement, it did indeed “tell” Brian that Bobby Levin had a void.  IF they are correct that the statement did confirm this and thus, it was AI – then why was any polling necessary?  If the statement alone gave Brian license to lead whatever he felt was best, irrespective of an in tempo call or long huddle by partner, then what does it matter what any other bridge players might think?

#4:  But – as we know, players were polled. So, who can explain to me why it makes sense to have the statement alone “make it clear” that a diamond was the right lead – yet polling was still done?

Thanks in advance for your opinions, statement of facts and laws, etc.

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