This board is from tournament where the level of players was over average:
|W is playing 6NT|
| lead taken by Ace,
and back to Ace. When Jack
falls declarer claimed 5 s, 3 s
and 4 s. North called for the TD.
What should the ruling be?
|W is playing 6NT|
how about this case
[no Jack East,
Ten not dropping]?
This was considered at considerable length on the bridge-laws mailing list.
[Note: for details of this list see my description of Newsgroups and Mailing Lists.]
The main views were:
Herman De Wael wrote:
Of course the relevant law is L70.
Sometimes the nuances of the Laws surprise me. While I tell everyone to read the Law book, there is little doubt that it tends to be done more in the technical laws, such as bids out of turn, while claims, misinformation and unauthorised information cases tend to be more a matter of TD judgement and a presumption that the law is clear. In my case, I have received very good training, so that I often "know" something because of my training, and find that the Laws back me up. It comes as quite a shock to me, when reading L70, to find that this is not really the case in this particular area.
L70A tells us the general objective. We will use that at the end of the ruling to have declarer put on the jack, if we have him play s.
I agree, this gives us the broad outline.
L70B just tells us the procedures. Declarer must specify a "clarification statement". L68C defines this as "a line of play or defence". Two separate words are used in my opinion, because the "statement" will often not include a particular "line". The director shall distil a "line" from the "statement".
Now L70B is where the problem lies. Where is L70B4? Come on, lawmakers, where is it? In effect, my training and experience have led me to assume a L70B4:
But where is it?
Some posters have suggested an alternative L70B4 [in effect]:
I can live with that one, I think, since it seems to follow the spirit of the Laws, and since there does not seem to be anything contrary to it in the Laws.
However, some postings have assumed this:
Now, I contend that this one is not acceptable, and is against the spirit of the Laws. Nothing in the these Laws suggests that claimer should be offered another shot at his contract. Since L70B1 includes repeating [not embellishing] the clarification statement and L70B3 refers to the opponents, then I am sure that if it was correct to give the claimer a further chance then there would be a law to say so.
Why, then, does L70D exist? Because human nature being what it is, after declarer says "I have 12 tricks", and the defence say "The s are blocked", declarer says something like "Of course I overtake the " or "I meant, of course, playing a to the king". Basically, such further clarification should not be sought: if freely given it should be ignored except for making it easier for the TD to see what is happening.
Someone suggested it would be useful to know what declarer said when his line clearly had become defective: I suggest that this is not relevant to the ruling, so we do not need to know. Furthermore, when asked a question, it is reasonable to assume that all pertinent facts have been given us. So I assume that:
L70C is irrelevant to our case, and in my opinion is just a special case where the other parts of the law are applied.
L70E tells us that declarer is allowed to change his line of play when in normal play he discovers some fact that would normally affect the chosen line. This is a case that sometimes happens : a player will play out his line, and at some point discover that it is faulty. If at that same time, it becomes clear that there is an alternative line (and only one), he is allowed to take that path. Since he will not find out that the ten must drop, this does not affect our ruling
L70D is the real crux of the argument:
Well, he didn't offer an alternative line, so this Law is irrelevant.
Now, I will accept that these three Laws, while not directly involved in this ruling, might be used in interpretation of L70A in view of the doubt, and lack of L70B4. What do they say in effect? They all say that you do not accept a successful line when there is a less successful but normal line available. They all refer to a footnote that defines normal thus:
Let us try for a better wording of L70B4, based on the presumption that L70C, L70D and L70E are just special cases of L70B4.
Note that I have deleted the bit about declarer not getting a second shot. When you read the wording above, it is not really necessary, because it will be clearly ignored, and it is not possible to stop declarer explaining at length: the TD just does not act on it.
I believe this to be a reasonable interpretation of the Laws, and I feel that, if agreed, it should be included in a future Law book. National authorities might consider accepting it as an interpretation until that happens.
Do you agree?
How about the original hand?
L70B4 would clearly point towards consideration of all the various lines of play listed earlier because they are all normal lines, and would lead to declarer not making 12 tricks, unless both the ten drops and there is a entry to the dummy, even if declarer misguesses.