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Inappropriate action by a defender ( 11:39:18 FriAug 8 2003 )

Country: England

Please advise me on the following situation:

RHO opened a weak 2 and partner declared 3n. He crosses to dummy and twice throws LHO in to establish sufficient tricks to make contract if RHO can be kept off lead.
LHO now goes into the tank and FINALLY leads a club. Dummy has QTxxx and declarer K8x

RHO if holding the ace can take and rattle off 3 diamonds to set the contract BUT he too goes into the tank (for whatever reason) and FINALLY plays the 9.

Declarer having now presumed after this 5 minute hiatus that he was about to win the trick and take his diamonds falls asleep and plays the 8, (in so much as I at dummy could see it) but not in a way that played the card onto the table and now attempts to correct to the K (which would have then enabled him to make the contract)

Director was called - and in the absence of any agreement on the part of the other 3 players he asked me as dummy if I had seen the 8C, which I said I had in fact seen. He ruled 3n off (and declarer permitted a club back for 3 off)

There are several problems here I believe:

1. The DELIBERATE coffeehousing on the part of a very experienced and strong player.

2. The requirement for Director to ask me (dummy) to clarify.

3. The mistake of the declarer to "fall asleep"

Please could you shed light on the behaviour of RHO and the accuracy of the ruling (it was Teams and we finished 9th of 60) and anything else you wish to add.



James Vickers

Re: Inappropriate action by a defender ( 16:58:50 FriAug 8 2003 )

Country: UK

I got rather confused as to whether LHO referred to your (dummy's) or declarer's LHO, but no matter.

As far as whether declarer is permitted to change a card played from his (closed) hand, this all depends on whether his card was "held face up, touching or nearly touching the table, or maintained in a position as to indicate whether it has been played" (L44C2). This is a matter for the Director to decide, and it is quite appropriate to ask the other players, including dummy, for their opinions on what happened. Note that whether any other player saw the face of the card is not the criterion for deciding whether it was played.

As for suggesting that the defenders were "coffeehousing", I don't see any reason from your report to suspect this, and you would have to be very sure of your ground before accusing them. Who knows what was going on in their heads when they paused for so long? If this was done deliberately to mislead or disconcert declarer it was indeed an infraction, but do you really suppose they could foresee that this would induce declarer to duck by mistake?

I think declarer has to pay the price for falling asleep. I've done this before myself (I'm sure we all have sometime), and felt pretty stupid.



426 posts
Forum Host

Re: Inappropriate action by a defender ( 12:36:34 TueAug 19 2003 )

I agree with James. Your partner did something silly, and there is no reason for him not to suffer for it. There was nothing in your report that suggested coffee-housing in any way. Good players thought for a long time? Well, why not? Poorer players do as well!

David Stevenson <>
Liverpool, England, UK

Re: Inappropriate action by a defender ( 22:23:36 ThuAug 21 2003 )

It's a shame you appear to have overlooked law 45 and the fact that the card is not "ON THE TABLE" here.

Also a shame you refuse to comment on an awful ruling whereby dummy was called upon to reveal if he had SEEN the 8 of clubs, since this is completely irrelevant viz a viz the actual playing of the card. and appears to contravene the basic tenet that dummy sees and hears nothing.

I think the original author deserves a fair answer to his question - one which I am not well placed to give as I am not a leading authority on such matters.

You seem to have concentrated on his suggestion that very strong players, knowing full well the game was up, made life difficult for a declarer in an inappropriate manner, which the author found unhealthy. Perhaps he was wrong here but that was one of at least three aspects of this problem posed.

The moral seems to be RTQ.



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