The other day I played against a person, well renown for castigating opponents who make overly quick passes, or passes after long lengthy hesitations. He insists that all bids should be made in even tempo, otherwise it is likely that unauthorised information may have been communicated to partner. In his view " tempo deviations " are a total no-no.
Fair enough.......but during one auction at our table the bidding went as follows. 1S on my right. Holding xx....AQxx...Qxx.....AKxx ( non-vulnerable ) I felt a double was well in order....a bid which promised partner a 4-card heart suit. The preacher on my left thought long and hard before making " an awkward pass ", commenting on the way " I am aware of the time I have taken ". My partner bid 2C, and my RHO rebid his spade suit. I raised my partner to 3C. Surprise....surprise....the preacher now entered the bidding with 3S. 4C from partner. 4S from my RHO. But after 2 passes, my partner convinced 4S was making bid on to 5C. Whack ! And 3 more passes ended the auction.
The outcome was an inevitable 2 off for minus 300 and a wretched score for us.
But when I casually commented about this long hesitation and its possible implications......did I get it in the neck.
" Are you suggesting that my partner obtained unauthorised information ? How could you suggest such a thing ? Do you want to call the TD ? " ( " No ", I replied )
" Well, do you wish to retract your comment, and with it your insinuations ? " ( " No ", I replied )
At this point of the interrogation, I politely suggested that he might be best advised to write a letter of complaint about me to the committee ( another thing he is well renown for ).
So now, after careful reflection, I cannot help but arrive at these conclusions :
- the long think pass surely communicated a problem hand, which would be very different from any associated with a simple pass
- the subsequent raise of 2S to 3S must have indicated some spade support and an outside trick somewhere
- the double of 5C if not based on 3 certain quick tricks might well be influenced by the preacher's announcement that he did have something in the way of assistance
- was it ethical for the preacher's partner to double in such circumstances ?
I therefore need a reader or two to offer their views and opinions on this matter. Because I only feel certain about one thing : top class players should always practice what they preach.