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What was he thinking about? Misleading or not?

#1 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 02:10


E plays 5NT and has lost two tricks. The dummy plays the K, N 7, E 3 and S thinks a quite long time and finally plays the 9. Both E and S are good enough players to keep track of what is played and which cards are still in play. During the auction N and S were silent, but it’s known that E has four spades and S, who lead the 10, has the nine too. The declarer is wondering what S is thinking about and decides that he doesn’t have the 6 or 7 with the jack, but it wouldn’t need much thinking to let the a low spade go if he didn’t have the jack. E decides that S has the jack, the 9 and the last club, that was eventually played. So het plays spades to the king and the last trick is for N.
No director was called, S is the club’s director and E is the best qualified director that’s available. But what would you decide?
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#2 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 04:02

Off the top of my head: E made a perilous inference at his own risk, the score stands. But if S really is that good he deserves a penalty for the pause to reinforce his deceit.

I would check the book to be sure however.
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#3 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 05:15

It's appalling that Bridge players think.
If they keep this up who knows where it will end.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#4 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 05:54

Holding onto the low spade is fairly important. If declarer has a full count of the hand, discarding it guarantees declarer gets it right. Even if not, it changes declarer's thought process in a way that is not always obvious and very likely worth working through the permutations. Even an expert defender would want to make sure they have counted everything properly before discarding the club.

Given the facts it appears East drew a false inference through a variation in tempo, but that South had a "demonstrable bridge reason" for this variation. Law 73D1 tells us this break in tempo is not an infraction. Law 73E2 tells us that the director can only adjust if South could have been aware the change in tempo could work to their benefit AND if south had no demonstrable bridge reason for doing so. IMO, the first condition is met but the second one is not. So no adjustment.
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#5 User is offline   axman 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 06:01

View Postsanst, on 2022-October-29, 02:10, said:


E plays 5NT and has lost two tricks. The dummy plays the K, N 7, E 3 and S thinks a quite long time and finally plays the 9. Both E and S are good enough players to keep track of what is played and which cards are still in play. During the auction N and S were silent, but it’s known that E has four spades and S, who lead the 10, has the nine too. The declarer is wondering what S is thinking about and decides that he doesn’t have the 6 or 7 with the jack, but it wouldn’t need much thinking to let the a low spade go if he didn’t have the jack. E decides that S has the jack, the 9 and the last club, that was eventually played. So het plays spades to the king and the last trick is for N.
No director was called, S is the club’s director and E is the best qualified director that’s available. But what would you decide?

Decide what? The players have not presented a controversy.

Is the bridge question, for a player that holds at most 1H and 1S or 2S what valid inferences are attributable to the pause preceding the play of the C9? One that I can conjure is 'what club spot can declarer hold?' (which might be attributed to a hazy recollection of events). <If such occasion, it has not yet been proved that S holds the SJ stiff.>
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#6 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 12:01

View Postsfi, on 2022-October-29, 05:54, said:

Holding onto the low spade is fairly important. If declarer has a full count of the hand, discarding it guarantees declarer gets it right. Even if not, it changes declarer's thought process in a way that is not always obvious and very likely worth working through the permutations. Even an expert defender would want to make sure they have counted everything properly before discarding the club.

Given the facts it appears East drew a false inference through a variation in tempo, but that South had a "demonstrable bridge reason" for this variation. Law 73D1 tells us this break in tempo is not an infraction. Law 73E2 tells us that the director can only adjust if South could have been aware the change in tempo could work to their benefit AND if south had no demonstrable bridge reason for doing so. IMO, the first condition is met but the second one is not. So no adjustment.

I agree about not giving the spades position away, but I don't buy the rest easily. If S is as competent as Sanst says and has counted E to two remaining spades, then surely the club discard is automatic, he must keep the heart winner and the spade give-away. So where is his bridge reason? Thinking about what thinking might make E think (or whether it will breach Law 73) does not cut it as bridge for me.

Similarly, if E is competent and has things fully counted as Sanst says then I'm not really convinced that the pause could reasonably lead him to infer a singleton J of spades with the winning heart and the club. He should realise that this hypothesis gives no more reason to pause than the small singleton would, or indeed Jx without the heart for that matter. I would expect him to be puzzled by the delay but then realise that S is just playing with his head. So like you I'm not convinced that an adjusted score should be assigned, but for the opposite reason, the inference is not suggested by the pause.

I would ask S what he was thinking about to see if he had some bridge reason, but I don't see one yet.
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#7 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 14:42

View Postsfi, on 2022-October-29, 05:54, said:

Law 73E2 tells us that the director can only adjust if South could have been aware the change in tempo could work to their benefit AND if south had no demonstrable bridge reason for doing so. IMO, the first condition is met but the second one is not. So no adjustment.

I don't even see how the first condition is met. The only way declarer can go wrong is by believing South has J, 9, 9, as he did. With that hand, South has the most trivial decision of any of the situations discussed. If South is the type of player who does not need any time at all to remember all played cards, then South will absolutely have been aware that a change in tempo would *not* work to their benefit.

Even though it did*. But I don't think East is ever going to able to make a case that South knows East well enough to conclude he would make a completely illogical conclusion.

*In fact, it's not clear that the hesitation did work to their benefit, since East's reasoning that South would make a poor play of throwing a low spade sounds like he would have made the wrong decision regardless.
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#8 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2022-October-29, 19:13

Agree with sfi.
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#9 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2022-November-06, 21:11

Yes both E and S may be good enough players to ordinarily track the cards, but I think any inference at this point that a player has not just lost count and is regaining it is ridiculous. Lots of good players who normally manage to track the cards still lose count frequently enough that this is a reasonable possibility.
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#10 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-November-07, 03:24

View Postakwoo, on 2022-November-06, 21:11, said:

Yes both E and S may be good enough players to ordinarily track the cards, but I think any inference at this point that a player has not just lost count and is regaining it is ridiculous. Lots of good players who normally manage to track the cards still lose count frequently enough that this is a reasonable possibility.

Agreed, but that's a defect in construction of the OP, which effectively forbids us to assume lost count - hopefully not just to save pride of the directors involved :)
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#11 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2022-November-07, 04:54

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-October-29, 05:15, said:

It's appalling that Bridge players think.
If they keep this up who knows where it will end.

Thought crime!
I don't expect the folks running a bridge site to fix human nature --- hrothgar
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#12 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2022-November-07, 17:07

View Postpescetom, on 2022-November-07, 03:24, said:

Agreed, but that's a defect in construction of the OP, which effectively forbids us to assume lost count - hopefully not just to save pride of the directors involved :)

Even players who are "good enough" sometimes slip up. Then they stop to think just to go over in their head to make sure.

Unfortunately, this is probably likely to happen in a situation where L73D1 says they should be "particularly careful" to avoid variations in tempo. But I don't think it violates 73E2 -- South did have a bridge reason for their BIT, trying to confirm that all the clubs had been played.

Furthermore, if you assume South is strong enough to keep track of the cards, then throwing the club should be a no-brainer. So the only reasonable interpretation is that he wasn't sure of his count, you can't infer anything about the other cards.

#13 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2022-November-07, 17:40

View Postpescetom, on 2022-November-07, 03:24, said:

Agreed, but that's a defect in construction of the OP, which effectively forbids us to assume lost count - hopefully not just to save pride of the directors involved :)

Don't you ever check your work, even if you're fairly sure you're right? The number of players that always play in tempo is tiny, even at major events.
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#14 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-November-08, 03:12

View Postsfi, on 2022-November-07, 17:40, said:

Don't you ever check your work, even if you're fairly sure you're right? The number of players that always play in tempo is tiny, even at major events.

Yes of course, although unfortunately I'm not yet in the class that can be relied on to have everything counted in the first place (still improving, at least).
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#15 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2022-November-10, 18:35

It's not common, but even world champions sometimes lose concentration and forget the count of a suit. I'm pretty sure I've read accounts of it in Bridge World tournament reports.

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