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Call from dummy England UK

#1 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-March-02, 11:34

A correspondent writes:

At the bridge table last night..

North as declarer was on lead. Dummy had 4 cards on the table Club K J and Spade 10 7.

Declarer led a master Diamond. He called for "A small one", Dummy asks "Which card?", declarer said again "Small one", Dummy said "Which suit?" and the declarer said "Spade seven".

  • By calling for a small one and not designating a suit, should dummy have played the Club jack?
  • Should dummy ask which suit?

David Stevenson

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#2 User is online   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-March-02, 11:45

I think L46B1c & L46B3b lead us to the 7 being the designated card. It is after all the only card he holds below the rank of an honour.
Gordon Rainsford
London UK
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#3 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2012-March-02, 11:56

I would hope that here, and everywhere, the purpose of the rules is to prevent dummy from participating in the play, but also to allow dummy to understand what he is being asked to put in the played position.

A question, when the direction by declarer is unclear, must be permitted.
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#4 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-March-02, 14:04

The question should be allowed. If something happens to prevent declarer from answering (e.g. he immediately falls into a coma) I would probably rule that he meant 7, for the reason Gordon gave.

#5 User is offline   iviehoff 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 06:11

Even if Gordon is correct as to how the designation is to be interpreted (though I'm not convinced), dummy can't necessarily be expected to know that and may need instruction from the director as to correct procedure.

I disagree that dummy is allowed to say "which suit?" At some point dummy will have to say something to explain his inaction, but he is not permitted to draw attention to the irregularity of the incomplete designation, and the question "which suit?" goes too far in drawing attention. If the opponents won't draw attention to it, and dummy should give them a little space to do so, then dummy will have to explain his inaction. I think "I hear your instruction but I still don't know what to do" is a more scrupulous attempt to achieve that without drawing explicit attention. If the other players still fail to get the hint, he might have to say "Maybe someone can explain correct procedure to me in this situation, but I am not allowed to call the director myself". In fact maybe that is the best thing to say in the first place.
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#6 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 07:25

View Postiviehoff, on 2012-March-05, 06:11, said:

Even if Gordon is correct as to how the designation is to be interpreted (though I'm not convinced), dummy can't necessarily be expected to know that and may need instruction from the director as to correct procedure.

I disagree that dummy is allowed to say "which suit?" At some point dummy will have to say something to explain his inaction, but he is not permitted to draw attention to the irregularity of the incomplete designation, and the question "which suit?" goes too far in drawing attention. If the opponents won't draw attention to it, and dummy should give them a little space to do so, then dummy will have to explain his inaction. I think "I hear your instruction but I still don't know what to do" is a more scrupulous attempt to achieve that without drawing explicit attention. If the other players still fail to get the hint, he might have to say "Maybe someone can explain correct procedure to me in this situation, but I am not allowed to call the director myself". In fact maybe that is the best thing to say in the first place.

While Dummy may not call attention to any irregularity during the play he must certainly be allowed to ask for a clarification on which card declarer calls if neccessary (for instance if he didn't clearly hear or understood the call). But either defender may call the director and request a law 46 ruling if they find a reason for that. (Defenders may not instruct dummy directly in such cases!)
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#7 User is online   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 07:48

An interesting question is prompted by some of the replies: would you allow it if declarer's answer to dummy's first question had been the CK or the S10? Or if the answer had been the CJ?
Gordon Rainsford
London UK
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#8 User is offline   iviehoff 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 08:54

View Postpran, on 2012-March-05, 07:25, said:

While Dummy may not call attention to any irregularity during the play he must certainly be allowed to ask for a clarification on which card declarer calls if neccessary (for instance if he didn't clearly hear or understood the call).

As I said in the other thread, if declarer has been careless in making his designation, it is for declarer to suffer the consequences of that carelessness, not for dummy to attempt to rescue him from it - that is participating in the play. Dummy must therefore be careful to avoid drawing attention to an irregularity or participating in the play.

If dummy did not hear it, certainly he may say "I didn't hear that".
If dummy heard it, but did not understand it, certainly he may say "I did not understand that".
These are neutral comments that draw attention only to dummy's own procedural difficulty, and not explicitly to any irregularity that may have occured. I am happy to add them to the catalogue of neutral things that dummy may say if he does not know how to act.

But dummy may not in general ask declarer to "clarify that", as L46 only empowers declarer to amend his designation in certain specific cases which are beyond dummy's powers to rule on. If declarer has made a designation, he may not change it. Law 46 tells us how to interpret incomplete designations, and only in the specific conditions there is declarer permitted to "clarify" it, situations mentioned explicitly in 46B3(b) and 46B4. If what declarer said was ambiguous, L46 tells us waht to do, and for dummy to say something like "clarify that" is participating, and potentially even instructing declarer to do something illegal.

Dummy may have to box cute in some cases to be ethical. In the other thread, declarer called "heart" because he saw only one heart - the small heart was concealed from him behind a pile of boards in the table centre, and he saw only the larger heart. In that particular case, if dummy realises that declarer can't see the small heart, then moving the small heart when declarer says "heart" might be rescuing declarer from his carelessness, because it draws his attention to the card he didn't see. The most ethical thing here would be for dummy to say "I don't understand" rather than play the small heart, which should normally be what he does on hearing "heart", with no intention of saying any more.

I agree, the opponents should draw attention. But their failure to do so does not permit dummy directly to draw attention to an irregularity. He should only point out that he doesn't understand, or doesn't know the correct procedure in this situation, or such like comment on his own difficulties, rather than anyone else's.
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#9 User is offline   iviehoff 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 09:00

View Postgordontd, on 2012-March-05, 07:48, said:

An interesting question is prompted by some of the replies: would you allow it if declarer's answer to dummy's first question had been the CK or the S10? Or if the answer had been the CJ?

The Director should apply Law 46. Declarer is only permitted to clarify his designation in the situations set out in 46B3(b) and 46B4.

46B1© says "If he calls ‘low’, or words of like meaning, he is deemed to have called the lowest card." I think he the designation must be deemed to be calling for the S7, as it is the lowest card. That is just like you said, though but not for precisely the reason you gave. I therefore think that Declarer has no power to specify a different card at this point.
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#10 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 10:42

1) No card that fits "small one" is obvious, even with the "if declarer fails to follow the laws in the way we all fail to" Laws.
Dummy can't play a card, and needs to ask. "Which card?" seems appropriate.

Having said that, there is a case for L46B5 "neither suit nor rank", allowing defenders to ask for the J (if defenders tried to do that, I'd probably go looking for the preening feathers, though). However, Dummy can not put a card in the played position that wasn't asked for by declarer, and no card was obviously asked for - and if Dummy did so, then I'd have a problem - especially if the J was the right play, and dummy knows it!

2) While I don't approve of "which suit?" it seems like a legitimate way to get the answer to the question dummy asked before and didn't get answered. Technically, "designate a card, please", of course. I could also hear "which small one?" but that seems equivalent to "which suit?"
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#11 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-March-05, 18:14

View Postbluejak, on 2012-March-02, 11:34, said:

A correspondent writes:

At the bridge table last night..

North as declarer was on lead. Dummy had 4 cards on the table Club K J and Spade 10 7.

Declarer led a master Diamond. He called for "A small one", Dummy asks "Which card?", declarer said again "Small one", Dummy said "Which suit?" and the declarer said "Spade seven".

  • By calling for a small one and not designating a suit, should dummy have played the Club jack?
  • Should dummy ask which suit?


I think, as was suggested elsethread, that dummy should say something like "I do not understand", and that declarer is permitted to clarify which card he meant. I do not think dummy should ask "which suit" as that at least gives the appearance of participating in the play.

View Postgordontd, on 2012-March-02, 11:45, said:

I think L46B1c & L46B3b lead us to the 7 being the designated card. It is after all the only card he holds below the rank of an honor.


Quote

Law 46B1c: if he calls “low”, or words of like meaning, he is deemed to have called the lowest card.

Nothing in there about honors or non-honors.

View Postiviehoff, on 2012-March-05, 09:00, said:

The Director should apply Law 46. Declarer is only permitted to clarify his designation in the situations set out in 46B3(b) and 46B4.

46B1© says "If he calls ‘low’, or words of like meaning, he is deemed to have called the lowest card." I think he the designation must be deemed to be calling for the S7, as it is the lowest card. That is just like you said, though but not for precisely the reason you gave. I therefore think that Declarer has no power to specify a different card at this point.


Quote

46B3b: in all other cases declarer must play a card from dummy of the designated rank if he can legally do so. If there are two or more such cards that can be legally played, declarer must designate which is intended.


There are two "low" cards in the dummy. True, one of them is an honor, but so what? "Declarer must designate which is intended", so he get to specify the J if he wants. He cannot designate the K or 10, though, because those aren't "low".

All that aside, what declarer actually said is "a small one". We can decide that is equivalent to "low", in which case 46B3b would apply. Or we can decide that it is equivalent to 'play a spot card' or 'play a non-honor'. If we decide that way, the designation was not ambiguous, even though dummy didn't understand it. He called for the 7. B-)
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I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
Factor in Alzheimers, and I can not recall a bad result from aggessive action in this situation. -- Aguahombre
When I look through the hand records after a club evening, the boards I didn't play are always the ones where I would have done great. -- Cherdano
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#12 User is offline   ahydra 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 04:40

I'm not convinced that 46B3b applies here - "small" is not a rank. If declarer had called "seven" then 46B3b would imply the spade 7 was played.

46B1c, on the other hand, looks more promising since it doesn't mention anything about suits. So he's played the smallest card in dummy, i.e. the spade 7.

As for whether dummy should get involved, strictly he shouldn't, but if he thought (like me until I read Law 46 in detail) that "if declarer calls small it means small of the suit led - 'small' is invalid if dummy has cards in more than one suit but none in the suit led" then it seems reasonable to ask declarer to clarify. It'd take a very harsh TD to issue a PP for this - I'd probably not tell dummy off at all, but say to declarer "please call the cards properly, e.g. 'seven of spades' - particularly where dummy's cards make calls like 'small' ambiguous".

And the entire "small = not an honour" discussion here puzzles me. If a club is led and dummy holds AQ tight, can't declarer call for the queen by saying "small"?

ahydra
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#13 User is offline   Lanor Fow 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 07:40

apologies, was posting on an incorrect original situation
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#14 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 08:04

View Postgordontd, on 2012-March-02, 11:45, said:

I think L46B1c & L46B3b lead us to the 7 being the designated card. It is after all the only card he holds below the rank of an honour.


It is my understanding that the law provides that when a eupemism for small is used that it designates rank. L46B3a provides that when rank is designated but not suit is not named then the suit of the last trick is thereby designated.

As such we mortals are not yet in a position to speak definitively on the matter.
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#15 User is offline   Lanor Fow 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 08:17

If your analysis is correct Axman, how would you rule if the last trick was one that dummy is now void in? (can't remember if there is such a suit in this case, but in a general case where there was)
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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 08:21

View Postahydra, on 2012-March-06, 04:40, said:

46B1c, on the other hand, looks more promising since it doesn't mention anything about suits. So he's played the smallest card in dummy, i.e. the spade 7.


Conclusion does not follow from premise. When a suit is not specified, Law 46B3b applies.

View Postaxman, on 2012-March-06, 08:04, said:

It is my understanding that the law provides that when a eupemism for small is used that it designates rank. L46B3a provides that when rank is designated but not suit is not named then the suit of the last trick is thereby designated.

As such we mortals are not yet in a position to speak definitively on the matter.


46B3a doesn't apply. Dummy is not leading, he is following suit to declarer's lead of a winning diamond. Also, declarer didn't use "a euphemism for small" he called for "a small one".
--------------------
I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
Factor in Alzheimers, and I can not recall a bad result from aggessive action in this situation. -- Aguahombre
When I look through the hand records after a club evening, the boards I didn't play are always the ones where I would have done great. -- Cherdano
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 11:46

View Postblackshoe, on 2012-March-06, 08:21, said:

Conclusion does not follow from premise. When a suit is not specified, Law 46B3b applies.
...
46B3a doesn't apply. Dummy is not leading, he is following suit to declarer's lead of a winning diamond. Also, declarer didn't use "a euphemism for small" he called for "a small one".

46B1c says "'low', or words of like meaning". So the question is whether "a small one" is of like meaning to "low".

46B3b says that dummy must play a card of the designated rank if legal, but if there are two such cards declarer must clarify. Assuming we decide "a small one" fits 46B1c, it says that it's deemed to be the lowest card. Does this mean the 7 because it's the lowest card in dummy? Or did they mean the lowest card of the specified suit, and since no suit was specified it means the suit dummy must legally play, but since he can't follow suit there are two choices, so declarer must clarify? If the former, the requirement to disambiguate would only apply if both other suits have the same lowest card.

One thing that strikes me is that he said "a small one" rather than "the small one". However, he may have been trying to be cute, like the aforementioned players who call "low" or "duck" when dummy has a singleton Ace in the suit led.

#18 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-March-06, 17:41

In this case, declarer eventually clarified that he meant the 7 all along (unless someone wants to argue that he changed his mind), so the distinction really makes no difference. It might, of course, in other cases.
--------------------
I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
Factor in Alzheimers, and I can not recall a bad result from aggessive action in this situation. -- Aguahombre
When I look through the hand records after a club evening, the boards I didn't play are always the ones where I would have done great. -- Cherdano
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