This question was posed:
We had an "interesting" wakeup situation yesterday.
Now to me, I thought it was just a lucky make, especially since if they were playing normally they'd have been in 4.
And that was the initial ruling, based on the notion that 4 should make 5. In short, we were likely to win an IMP or two.
But 4 went down two at the other table. And our team captain (who's in law school) argued that there was clearly UI that was acted upon, and that there were defenses and declarer plays that could set 4. So the director adjusted it to 4 down 1, which wound up winning instead of losing the match.
But I still think the ruling was a bit more favorable than we deserved. LHO violated system, forced RHO to pick a minor, and holding only 4 cards in that minor leapt to game.
Was this the correct ruling?
QQSV (Dick Wagman) replied:
In my opinion it was at least reasonable (I'd need to see the actual hands to try to make a final judgment.) Let's consider the actions in order:
You are allowed to remember your methods if
But you must be able to demonstrate that you didn't remember as a result of anything partner told you (including, for example, a failure to alert, or, in this case, the actual alert).
Once pard alerts 2NT, you don't get to bid as if it were minors until the bridge logic is absolutely inescapable. For example, if over a strong balanced 2NT 3 were an impossible bid, you could argue that the 3 bid itself (authorized information) woke you up and told you that you had better get back to clubs. However, I'd never believe that; Stayman 3 is just too standard to persuade me that 3 was impossible. So I would conclude that it was indeed unauthorized info that reminded the 2NT bidder about his method. Thus, I would rule that 5 bid was based on unauthorized information.
The next part can't be done without seeing the actual hands. But the director (or, better, a committee) has to determine what the likely result is absent the unauthorized information, and roll it back to that. If they can't determine the likely result, they have to award an adjusted score. (-3 IMPs is the common equivalent of a matchpoint average minus.)
So if 4 down one was a likely result, then rolling back to that is plausible.
What happened to you was fair.