Ruling the Game÷Hesitations
(From July Issue of Unit 134 Newsletter)

                 Two director calls last Thursday night for hesitations indicated on-going misunderstanding of the Law on hesitations.  Rather than to restate the rather confusing language of the law, Iām going to try to suggest some common sense.

                When a break in tempo occurs, an irregularity potentially arises.  A hesitation that results in a bid is much less likely to produce an irregularity than a double or pass.  Thus, if you think a long time, remember that ending your ćtankä with a bid is far better than doubling or passing.  As for the other side, you should consider the level of player who hesitates.  A novice may simply be desperately trying to recall if partnerās bid is forcing or not.  Calling the director over such a hesitation is downright silly and, worse yet, risks driving novices away from the game.

Still, if a hesitation does occur that you believe could result in an irregularity, call the director.  Do not wait for the hesitatorās partner to take some action.  Call when the hesitation occurs.  The director will attempt to confirm that a hesitation did occur.  He will then instruct the partner that she is to take no inference from the break in tempo, but she may take any action that she believes is justified by her hand.  Contrary to popular belief, a hesitation followed by a pass does not bar partner from acting.  However, that action must be clear cut, and the benefit of the doubt goes to the non-hesitating side.  You need to call the director to get this protection.

When the director is called to your table for a hesitation, statements like ćFrom now on, Iām going to call the director whenever my opponents hesitateä (Why havenāt you been calling?) or ćIāve got my bid, look at my handä (Someone, even you, should have already called the director before you bid.) are really unnecessary. The director is at your table to make sure that the game is fair to all, not to conduct a criminal investigation or to determine whether you are nice (We already know that).  Everyone will enjoy the game a lot more if you apply a little sense to this issue.

Return to: News Page | D10 Homepage
Go to: Upcoming Tournaments