(No auction was given, but West was declaring 3NT)
Tournament Director's statement of facts and ruling
"I was called to the table at trick 11, West was the declarer in 3NT and she had taken 7 tricks from hand. She lead a diamond, North played D10, dummy’s diamonds were AQ and another CQ which was good. So if she played DA and CQ, contract would be made at this moment. South pulled a card out of his hand and the declarer saw this was D7. So the declarer played the
diamond queen, South then played DK and cashed a side suit trick and contract went one down. When I was at the table, I have confirmed from all plays that the D7 was detached from hand but not a position that his partner could see.
Therefore according to Law 45A, it was not a card played and also Law 45C could not apply. I ruled that he could change that D and so the contract was one down. Also I have thought about Law 74B3, But this is a matter of courtesy and should apply to changing this result. And Law 73F, should not apply as from the seating position, I ruled that the detached card seen by the
declarer was accidental rather than on purpose."
Decision of the Appeals Committee
Declarer on lead with 7 tricks needing 2 more for the contract of 3NT. Lead small diamond towards AQ. The South player took out the D7 before the play from dummy which was placed in such position that declarer could not fail to see it. Declarer then called for the Q upon which the next player retracted the 7D and played the K!!! South cashed a side suit winner and 3NT – 1.
Determined that the D7 was not a played card, however determined that the declarer failed to make the contract through inferior play thus causing his own bad score. The committee determined that the action of taking the 7D prematurely influenced the declarer into taking the finesse, as in a previous trick a Diamond had been finessed, holding the trick.
There was therefore a strong probability almost a certainty that the finesse would be successful again; especially when South took a card from his hand in anticipation rather than waiting for his turn to play.
Law 74B3 and 23 (Authority to adjust) applied.
Decision: 3NT, 9 tricks.
Comments? Incidentally, one of those involved at the table reads this forums so he/she might have something to add/correct!