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What does "discard" mean? RR gets lucky

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2017-December-20, 09:21


Table Result 4H= NS+620

RR got very lucky on this board from the North London Xmas duplicate, and this top helped him win the event. After ChCh bid a pre-emptive 3H, the Rabbit added two for his singleton diamond and he thought his spade honours were well placed (!) and decided to add a fourth. West, SB, led a top diamond and switched to the jack of clubs. The Rabbit wondered whether 3NT would have been easier, and had no choice but to let the club run. East, MM, won with the king, and led the jack of spades. RR now recalled that West had bid spades, and thought the finesse was likely to fail, so he rose with the ace, crossed to the ace of clubs, and led the queen of hearts. MM never covered the first honour even if it was right to do so and played low. RR had no choice but to repeat the heart finesse and led the jack and East covered this time. South won and 'exited' with the eight of hearts, but that held the trick. He was waiting for East to lead, when MM said "You won the trick." "Oh, can I see the last one then?" replied RR. "No, you can't," chipped in SB. "The lead is in South." RR cashed the queen of clubs and then wondered if the seven was a winner, and thought it could not cost to try it. He had, by now, forgotten the contract was 4H and he was playing in 3NT. He led the seven of clubs, and West, SB could see what was coming, but was powerless to avoid it. He tried pitching a spade. RR said "Discard, um, a heart". ChCh immediately ruffed, and East played the eight. This time RR was certain East was on lead, and was waiting for Molly to lead but ChCh was having none of it. "The lead is in dummy", he blurted, "you ruffed the last trick". RR now led a spade and was soon wrapping up ten tricks.

SB was furious. "You participated in the play", he said to ChCh. "You had no right to tell RR that it was his lead from dummy, nor what the previous trick had been, and when he said "discard a heart", you should have done nothing. He could not "discard" a heart as that was a ruff." "I am allowed to prevent an infraction," said ChCh, and "a heart" was a valid designation, and the word "discard" is not mentioned in the Laws, so "a heart" was the card called for. The Owl arrived. "I shall go away and rule, but I think this is just rub of the green and RR makes", he opined. "And that is the first stepping-stone trump squeeze I have seen executed in no-trumps." The Rabbit blushed, unsure whether he was being complimented or ridiculed.

How do you rule?
'When I write a Law,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-20, 10:02

I don't think there's any difference between "discard a heart" and "play a heart" as far as designating a card from dummy. When interpreting incomplete designations, verbs like "win" or "duck" can be used to distinguish cards within a suit, but there's no suggestion that saying "discard" means it has to be a loser. He named a specific suit, that has to take priority.

I'm less sure about ChCh's reminder that it's his turn to lead from dummy. If RR started to lead from his hand he can try to prevent that irregularity. But just staring out into space, waiting for an opponent to lead, is not an irregularity. But it doesn't seem like there's any damage -- surely a defender would eventually have pointed this out, and the hand would continue the same way.

#3 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2017-December-20, 10:14

View Postbarmar, on 2017-December-20, 10:02, said:

I'm less sure about ChCh's reminder that it's his turn to lead from dummy. If RR started to lead from his hand he can try to prevent that irregularity. But just staring out into space, waiting for an opponent to lead, is not an irregularity. But it doesn't seem like there's any damage -- surely a defender would eventually have pointed this out, and the hand would continue the same way.

SB argued that ChCh's comment reminded RR that he was playing hearts, not no-trumps, and otherwise, after playing a spade, he might not then have ruffed the top diamond in South. The bit SB objected to was "you ruffed the last trick".
'When I write a Law,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'
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#4 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-December-20, 12:27

North's comment cannot prevent an irregularity; everyone at the table except the Rabbit knows that he's on lead. So it's not a legal "attempt to prevent an irregularity". Also, the extra bit ("you ruffed") is extraneous, and might be ruled as "participating in the play" as SB asserts. This rates a PP ("must not") but there's no rectification specified in Law 43. I suppose one could use 12A1 to adjust the score, but I think I agree with Oscar, it's rub of the green.
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#5 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-20, 13:57

View Postlamford, on 2017-December-20, 10:14, said:

SB argued that ChCh's comment reminded RR that he was playing hearts, not no-trumps, and otherwise, after playing a spade, he might not then have ruffed the top diamond in South. The bit SB objected to was "you ruffed the last trick".

Eventually one of the defenders is going to have to point out that dummy is on lead, and this will provide the same wakeup call.

#6 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2017-December-21, 06:06

View Postbarmar, on 2017-December-20, 13:57, said:

Eventually one of the defenders is going to have to point out that dummy is on lead, and this will provide the same wakeup call.

Not to RR it would. He would accept that the lead was in dummy but not inquire why?

No doubt ChCh participated in the play by advising RR that the contract was hearts by implication - that is a PP - the question then becomes: has RR taken any action in playing the rest of the hand that is demonstrably suggested by him knowing the contract was 4 when there is a les ssuccessful logical altertnative play in 3NT.
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#7 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-December-21, 07:22

View Postweejonnie, on 2017-December-21, 06:06, said:

Not to RR it would. He would accept that the lead was in dummy but not inquire why?

No doubt ChCh participated in the play by advising RR that the contract was hearts by implication - that is a PP - the question then becomes: has RR taken any action in playing the rest of the hand that is demonstrably suggested by him knowing the contract was 4 when there is a les ssuccessful logical altertnative play in 3NT.

Would you not need RR to admit to you that he thought the contract was 3NT rather than "discard" being a slip of the tongue? Which leads back to one of Nigel's bugbears, that honest players are often disadvantaged under the current laws.
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#8 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-21, 08:50

View Postweejonnie, on 2017-December-21, 06:06, said:

Not to RR it would. He would accept that the lead was in dummy but not inquire why?

I think there's a very good chance that the defender pointing it out would say something similar to what ChCh said -- players do it all the time. It would take incredible forethought to realize that omitting this detail would cause RR to misplay (although the fact that he said "discard a heart" does help you guess that he's forgotten the contract).

#9 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-December-21, 09:56

So the Rabbit is too clueless to be aware that he should ask what the contract is, but not so clueless that he could not have known (see other thread) that making an IB might benefit him?

Uh, huh. Sure.
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#10 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2017-December-21, 12:24

View Postbarmar, on 2017-December-21, 08:50, said:

I think there's a very good chance that the defender pointing it out would say something similar to what ChCh said -- players do it all the time. It would take incredible forethought to realize that omitting this detail would cause RR to misplay (although the fact that he said "discard a heart" does help you guess that he's forgotten the contract).

SB was fully aware that he should never do something to "wake up" RR as he had shown earlier in the hand, when he refused to let RR see the previous trick with the terse "No, you can't. The lead is in South". If RR had inquired as to why the lead was in North when East appeared to have won the trick with the eight of clubs, SB would have come up with his standard retort. "I charge for lessons. The lead is in North; now play on, please." I would think the chance of RR learning that it was a suit contract would have been minimal, and I would indeed adjust to 4H-1, as well as give a PP to North.
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#11 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2017-December-21, 12:30

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-December-21, 07:22, said:

Would you not need RR to admit to you that he thought the contract was 3NT rather than "discard" being a slip of the tongue? Which leads back to one of Nigel's bugbears, that honest players are often disadvantaged under the current laws.

The TD should also take into account the fact that RR was seemingly waiting for East to lead and the only logical reason for that is that he thought it was no-trumps, or that trumps were other than hearts. He could of course have thought his seven of clubs was a winner, but then he would have led to the next trick himself.
'When I write a Law,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'
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#12 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-22, 10:18

View Postlamford, on 2017-December-21, 12:24, said:

SB was fully aware that he should never do something to "wake up" RR as he had shown earlier in the hand, when he refused to let RR see the previous trick with the terse "No, you can't. The lead is in South". If RR had inquired as to why the lead was in North when East appeared to have won the trick with the eight of clubs, SB would have come up with his standard retort. "I charge for lessons. The lead is in North; now play on, please." I would think the chance of RR learning that it was a suit contract would have been minimal, and I would indeed adjust to 4H-1, as well as give a PP to North.

Yet this same clueless RR, when he was informed by dummy that he was in a heart contract, managed to come up with the successful end-play.

Apparently he's only totally clueless when it most benefits SB.

#13 User is offline   bixby 

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Posted 2017-December-22, 16:18

This scenario really happened to me about two weeks ago. Declarer, playing 4S, forgot the contract and from the course of play it was clear to everyone else at the table that declarer thought he was playing 3NT. Eventually my partner ruffed a trick that declarer thought was his. When my partner led to the next trick, declarer said that it was his own lead, but dummy said, "no, he ruffed," pointing to my partner. Declarer, still somewhat bemused, allowed my partner to lead to the next trick. At the end of play, declarer had taken nine tricks, and I said, "down one," but declarer said, "no, making three"! Only then did we all tell declarer what the contract was. Declarer had not been woken up even by dummy's remark about my partner's ruff!

Declarer apologized and admonished dummy that her remark about ruffing was improper. Dummy agree that it probably was. We didn't call the director, but we ended up with a top anyway.

In the case posed in the OP, I think dummy has to play a heart when declarer says "discard a heart," but dummy should not have told declarer that the lead was in dummy based on a ruff, and the director may award an adjusted score.
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#14 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2017-December-23, 05:57

View Postbarmar, on 2017-December-22, 10:18, said:

Yet this same clueless RR, when he was informed by dummy that he was in a heart contract, managed to come up with the successful end-play.

Apparently he's only totally clueless when it most benefits SB.

He had already executed his squeeze without malice aforethought. Cluelessly.
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#15 User is offline   mink 

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Posted 2017-December-25, 19:28

When RR led the for trick 10, he had been made aware that was trump. With this information I could imagine a weak player might play a and ruff it. If RR had not been informed and was still under the impression of playing nt, a would have been not a logical alternative even for a player like RR - he started with a singleton in this suit and now is void. It is possible to be unsure if a 7 is high or not, but if he was not aware that opps have still K and J, he would not play bridge at all. So in trick 10 a is played to Q and K. continuation is futile for SB, so he plays K. My guess would be that RR now again "discards" 5 rather than 5 and makes 10 tricks, provided anybody cares to tell him that he has to lead for trick 12.
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#16 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2017-December-26, 05:03

View Postmink, on 2017-December-25, 19:28, said:

When RR led the for trick 10, he had been made aware that was trump. With this information I could imagine a weak player might play a and ruff it. If RR had not been informed and was still under the impression of playing nt, a would have been not a logical alternative even for a player like RR - he started with a singleton in this suit and now is void. It is possible to be unsure if a 7 is high or not, but if he was not aware that opps have still K and J, he would not play bridge at all. So in trick 10 a is played to Q and K. continuation is futile for SB, so he plays K. My guess would be that RR now again "discards" 5 rather than 5 and makes 10 tricks, provided anybody cares to tell him that he has to lead for trick 12.

SB agreed that a diamond would not be led from dummy and that a spade was the only choice at trick 10. SB would have won with the king and continued with the king of diamonds. Now RR had to carefully avoid taking any advantage of the UI given to him by dummy's remark that hearts were trumps, and would be required to "ruff" with the five of spades ... OO agreed with this argument, but RR is considering an appeal.
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-26, 10:32

View Postlamford, on 2017-December-26, 05:03, said:

Now RR had to carefully avoid taking any advantage of the UI given to him by dummy's remark that hearts were trumps

Although dummy's remark was improper, isn't the contract always AI? 41C says that declarer is entitled to be informed what the contract is at his turn to play.

#18 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2017-December-26, 16:09

View Postbarmar, on 2017-December-26, 10:32, said:

Although dummy's remark was improper, isn't the contract always AI? 41C says that declarer is entitled to be informed what the contract is at his turn to play.

He is entitled to be informed of the contract (at his own turn to play from hand or dummy), but he wasn't - he was informed (indirectly)that hearts were trumps.

(He doesn't even need to ask - I am sure in at least one story HH is admonished because when he is defending against RR he takes steps to ensure RR knows what the contract is to try and reduce the effect of RRs GA.)
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#19 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-December-27, 09:40

View Postweejonnie, on 2017-December-26, 16:09, said:

He is entitled to be informed of the contract (at his own turn to play from hand or dummy), but he wasn't - he was informed (indirectly)that hearts were trumps.

He can be informed that the contract is 4, but not that hearts are trumps?

#20 User is offline   weejonnie 

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Posted 2017-December-28, 17:18

View Postbarmar, on 2017-December-27, 09:40, said:

He can be informed that the contract is 4, but not that hearts are trumps?

Yes
The hardest director decisions inevitably are caused by the first failure to call at the appropriate time.
"Funny hand: both sides can make 4 hearts - VM"
No one ever becomes a TD because of the money. They do it because they want to help bridge flourish in their club, region or nation.
Getting rid of one rude player might result in the arrival of four pleasant ones.
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