Ruling the Game÷Hesitations
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.
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.