Judy Kay-Wolff

Your two cents worth, please …

(Scenario #1:)  BOTH VULNERABLE.   SOUTH as dealer, passes.   The auction proceeds with West opening 1H holding the following:   8  A7653  K3  KQ1073; an immediate skip to 4S by North, followed by two passes.   As West do you take another call?

(Scenario #2)  IDENTICAL SITUATION except over 4S, East huddles at least 15-20 seconds AND PASSES.  NOW, THE QUESTION IS:   AFTER A LONG HITCH BY PARTNER,  would you now bid 5C?

(By the way, with everyone being aware of the situation, West jumped right in with 5C and voluntarily offered to me “I was always going to bid”).   What say you?   Tomorrow you will see the hand that hitched which is rather ludicrous and the end result.

By the way we heard an interesting auction before the game began yesterday.  Someone repeated a duplicate story that proceeded 1NT P 3NT P (which normally closes the auction of course) – but surprise, surprise, the opener jumped to 6D (making of course).  Recorder, anyone?

And who ever said duplicate was boring?


RoseDecember 4th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

SCENARIO #1 — May or may not because of vulnerability.

SCENARIO #2 — Even if they put a gun to my head (and I knew it wasn’t loaded), I would not dream of bidding after the huddle.

What actually happened? What was partner’s hand?

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 4th, 2010 at 5:37 pm


I’ll give people a chance to answer before giving the details.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Larry CohenDecember 4th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Just can’t take action after partner’s huddle. Have to Pass — and let yourself sleep at night with a clean conscience rather than act and try for a good bridge result and end up feeling unethical.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 5th, 2010 at 8:35 am

Other than Rose and Larry, doesn’t anyone else have an opinion after a huddle whether it is right to balance? Shocking to me with all the bitching about taking advantage of huddles in non forcing auctions, that no one else would venture an opinion.


CPDecember 5th, 2010 at 10:13 am

i agree wholeheartedly with Larry. How can anyone in all good conscience even consider bidding after a long huddle.

It seems like without directors being called, this will happen more and more. I cannot imagine a director allowing such a tactic.

Curious as to the result on the board — and to see what this “huddle” looked like.

Can’t believe others are mysteriously silent on this balance of 5C when it seems like a slam dunk. Maybe that is the way of the future. Going from bad to worse!

CarolDecember 5th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

My aggressive partner would pass without the huddle!

SonnyDecember 5th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Scenario #2 is open and shut to PASS and even #1 is too dangerous vulnerable to come back into the auction. I know it is a bidder’s game, but there are limitations.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 5th, 2010 at 4:32 pm


104 8 AQJ8652 A62 (AND PASSED!!!!!!)

opposite reopener’s

8 A7653 K3 KQ1073


The director should have been called, but was not. ALL three directors who were questioned AFTER THE FACT ROLLED IT BACK TO 4S (DOWN ONE FOR A TIE FOR TOP FOR NS).

Let this be a good lesson why after a huddle, the director should be called … to protect huddler’s partner from taking advantage of unauthorized information. Had South called after the huddle, as she should have, the director would have barred West from balancing (after the hitch). Good lesson for all of us WHEN to call the director.

Of course, it was unadulterated insanity for East to not bid 5D and they might have even reached the game (or slam)

legitimately — but that’s neither here nor there!

Paul IvaskaDecember 5th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I would pass with or without the hesitation. Indeed, if someone were to put a gun to my head (or elsewhere) and instruct me that I was not allowed to pass, I would double. 5C is not absurd, but it is quite close. After all, my suits lack internal solidity, and I have considerable defense, though RHO’s initial pass improves the prospects for 5C slightly. Needless to say, any action after a clearcut hesitation is unconscionable (and. under the rules, it’s irrevelant what any particular player would have done without the U. I., not that any of us can say with certainty what we would have done in other circumstances). Moreover, there is a hidden danger to 5C, i. e., if partner takes the bid at face value, we’ll probably be in six. Of course, if she/he doesn’t, myriad further ethical problems arise.

PaulDecember 6th, 2010 at 9:32 am


Calling the director after the huddle is recommended but he is not going to bar West from bidding. He should say that West has some unauthorised information and should take care not to take advantage of it. This is not the same as ‘forcing’ him to pass.

II find the tactic of ‘your partner has hesitated, therefore you must pass’ is used commonly in some clubs and it is just wrong. Actually I think it is just bullying and it tends to be used most by poor players who think they know the rules. We should be educating people properly about their ethical requirements and the constraints that partner’s hesitation puts them under.

Finally in most of the rest of the world, and in the ACBL now under the 2007 Laws, it is sufficient for both pairs to agree that there has been a significant break in tempo and it is not mandatory to call the director until the end of the hand. Naturally with less experienced players it is best to call the director sooner rather than later.

PegDecember 6th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I must admit that I remain convinced that we really either need to start playing bridge on netbooks with 100% accurate accounting for time – or have time clocks. When we are at the table and concentrating, our conception of how much time has passed can legitimately be over or under estimated in purely an honest manner.

Technically, we are supposed to pause at least 10 seconds after a preempt like this – and I know many who won’t pause for even 3 seconds. Can everyone here judge if they have waited 8 seconds or 10 seconds or 15 seconds in these situations? Do we always call the director when someone passes 2 seconds after the preempt (unfortunately, I know I do not.) Isn’t this sometimes worse than the 15 second thinking?

Needless to say, I agree with all who say that the pass by the purported hesitator is Not Bridge!

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 6th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

To “Paul”:

Thank you for your comments. However, I beg to disagree.

Directors and directing standards are different in all parts of the world. I happen to believe the director quality here in the states (with certain obvious exceptions) leave much to be desired at the clubs as well as the sectional and even regional tournaments. However, I drive a hard bargain as I believe the game should be played as I once knew it. It has fallen from grace and the ACBL (IMHO) has made feable efforts, if any, to help it get back on track. More training is mandatory but they don’t like to impose on the directors.

As far as the subject incident, I feel the ONLY TIME TO CALL THE DIRECTOR is immediately after the hitch and pass. You don’t wait till the horse is out of the barn and then call in the Mounties. Summoning the director immediately after the excessive lapse of time and pass makes the partner quite aware that no marginal bids can be made based on the hesitatiton. As my late husband Norman Kay used to say “It’s like having an insurance policy — some type of protection knowing partner wanted to do ‘something.'” In this case the hand helped to produce 7 diamond tricks and 5 club tricks (opposite partner’s DK and C KQ10XX). Not bad for a Passing Hand.

Had the director been called (which was not the case), I believe Lefty would have been forced to pass and 4S would have bought the contract. Quite a difference in results (from an average plus to a tied for top). I found Paul Ivaska’s observation compelling about his intermediate spots a deterrent and defensive values a reason not to bid — and Paul is far from a timid bidder (as well as an extremely ethical player).

And, by the way, no one said calling the director bars lefty from bidding. However, if the director was in the loop, he would call him aside and explain that the hand does not represent anything like a 5C call (especially when partner went into the tank for an eternity and passed).

Perhaps when directors get their acts in shape and bear down on those who take advantage of huddles, we will be making some progress toward playing the game as it should be played.

CALL IMMEDIATELY. WHY WAIT? However, do it in a respectful tone and explain the prior events in a non-accusatory tone and hopefully the director will be knowledgeable enough to have justice triumph.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 6th, 2010 at 2:41 pm


All that glitters is not gold. The STOP CARD perhaps should be accompanied by a remark, please wait 10 seconds — or when remaking the cards — have it printed on them. Most of the people at our game know enough not to make a call immediately, but a few do pass quick as a flash.

The case in point left nothing to the imagination. I said 15 seconds. Perhaps it was 20. Looking at the hand, you can understand why.

As far as quick passes, I blame the ACBL for not enforcing the 10 second rule. Sometimes, in a smiling tone, I might say when I put my stop card back in the box, “you know you are supposed to wait 10 seconds.” They really don’t know that and the directors have not stressed it.

We happen to have a terrific co-owner who also acts as emcee, introducing visitors and old friends returning to the game. She has stressed in the case of long huddles and passes — remember unless your partner has automatic action, he/she will have to pass. So, if you study a long time, you might as well bid or you may bar her/him. After the Stop Card discussion you bring up, I am going to ask her in a casual way to remind people when there is a Stop Card put on the table, Lefty must wait the prescribed 10 seconds before making a call.

All these little reminders go a long way and good directors can be a tremendous help.

PegDecember 6th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Frankly, I think that this entire issue is a mess. Honestly – I often am more annoyed about the 1 second “wait” after someone has made a skip bid. And – sometimes it isn’t even that long. I’ve seen people put their pass card on the table almost before you’ve put your preempt on the table; truly.

Calling the director for this often is an exercise in futility. You get the perfunctory “remember; you are supposed to pause” – but that’s about it. No one ever forces someone to bid with a marginal hand, now that it is clear their partner has nothing to show.

I used to use the stop card myself religiously. I found, however, that it seemed to be of no help. Some people would almost silently count for a few seconds, gazing off in the distance, then place their pass card on the table. Maybe they were thinking about whether to have chicken or brisket for dinner.

Other people I know use the stop card when they want to alert THEIR PARTNER that something special is happening – and not simply to have an appropriate tempo at the table.

I must admit; I still like my idea of all of us learning to play bridge on a computer, and then having the facts there in living digitalized form. Maybe we need to automatically penalize people for passing too rapidly – and then doing a better job of seeing that people have their bid if their partner does the long thought after the preempt.

I’m not sure of what the solutions are. I only know that some people are quite inappropriate at the table.

Bobby WolffDecember 6th, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Hi Peg,

Many of us including me, share your frustration.

Unfortunately the only answer is for the bridge world to go the opposite way than has the financial world. Since the rogues in the financial world seem to try and make money any way they can, leaving behind many innocent victims, the bridge world now seems to try and follow suit with them.

Without pure heart the bridge world has no chance to purify. Perhaps the best way to accomplish what any educated bridge player must want (or surely should) is to ostracize all major ethical offenders from friendship and respect until they at least attempt to rectify their ethics.

Since TD’s are so varied with their enforcement of what they are told to do, and have trouble thinking for themselves and doing the right thing, even if it means insulting the transgressor, we will never right our bridge game, let alone get to heaven.

Be tough and disciplined and we have a chance. Sure, many culprits will show any and every kind of emotion to stop that from happening, but if they quit, what exactly have we lost? It is time to reward active ethics and more importantly, severely condemn lack of them.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 6th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Hi Peg:

There are pros and cons on where to be playing bridge. I personally like getting out of the house and enjoying he sociability of being with people in the flesh as opposed to the computer which I find is very confining. It is just not my bag.

However, unless codes are adhered to and owners and directors at some clubs stop being afraid of hurting the feelings of their customers, this nonsense will continue to go on.

You can’t play bridge with a stop watch. It becomes more of a regimentation than a game to be played for fun. I agree with lots that you say but there must be a happy medium.

They say rules are made to be broken — but as far as timing — quick passes after a stop card is shown and extraordinarily long thought processes before passing are no-nos that cannot influence their partner’s action.

Thanks for getting involved.


dannyDecember 6th, 2010 at 5:36 pm


I have no problem with the huddler’s pass. Terrible bridge action, but no matter, players make mistakes, this was just another. The 5C call would not be my choice with or without UI, but, again, it was not TOTALLY out of bounds.

The real problem on this hand is the second pass! The huddler felt he had already shown values, and that partner had bid his hand. This was the only unethical call of the sequence. It should be dealt with harshly.

Don’t get me wrong, 5C should not be allowed to stand, but it is not the sort of action that requires more than a rollback to 4 hearts, and a kind word or 2 about the misuse of UI. The pass of 5C is just so blatantly taking advantage of his OWN hesitation the previous round, that more action is required…..

PegDecember 6th, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Oh, Judy – I have no intentions of people not getting together! With the ability to get thousands of netbook laptops at minimal price, I think that bridge should be played in person – on a little laptop. Then many of these issues would either go away or be lessened – and you can still socialize with everyone afterwards!

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 6th, 2010 at 9:34 pm


I never heard the term netbook laptop so I did misunderstand you. I don’t think it will be in our lifetime that people will resort to that manner of playing bridge. MANY PEOPLE hate computers and MANY OTHERS do not like to attempt new situations. Great idea — but I think it is a pipe dream.


PegDecember 7th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Judy – I think that some board members are alread discussing the idea. Of course, tens of thousands of bridge players compete online every day – on computers.

I am sure that you are correct some don’t know how, and some don’t want to learn. But, one day those of us who don’t use computers will be all gone. I actually am hoping it will occur in my lifetime – but – might take longer.

At least – that is my prediction!

ChrisDecember 8th, 2010 at 10:04 am

I agree with Paul. You ned to go out of your way to try to ignore the hesitation and make the bid you would have made without it. Any other action, including pass, is unethical. We are supposed to make the same call that we would have made had we been using screens.

Bobby WolffDecember 8th, 2010 at 11:10 am

Hi Chris,

Everyone should hear what you are saying and understand it; however, the problem will always remain in the application.

You are advocating that the bridge police should always believe what a player tells them when he selects a bid (or pass) after the UI. To do so, at least to me, is to believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy. There is nothing wrong in believing in all of the above, but in order to play bridge (or any game), the result can never be decided on fantasy and make believe.

When a player is advantaged by being able to use UI, (whether he does or not will always be subjective) — the problem needs to be attacked at its source, not after it has occurred.

My guess is that all psychologists will agree that one doesn’t have to be evil, a confirmed liar, or be anything but a worthwhile person and still believe (fantasize) that he was going to bid anyway.

To counter that unfair advantage (to say the least) we MUST not allow it. To me, but possibly not to others, that is the end of this discussion.

AnthonyDecember 8th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

In Scotland we have been asked to leave the Stop card on the table for 10 seconds, during which time LHO must sit still. OK so not everyone adheres to this, but it help matters somewhat.

PegDecember 8th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Anthony – I think that we have this same rule here. In theory – great. In practice? Not so great.

Some only use the stop card in specific circumstances – to control their opponents when they wish to do so and to alert their partner to a bid they are going to make. Otherwise, they do not use it – and I think that the regulation says you should always use it.

I’ve also seen people wait a bit – but they clearly are sitting there not even thinking about their hand and tapping their fingers until the requisite time has passed.

Very difficult to police. I am not sure what the answers are.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 9th, 2010 at 4:29 am


HATS OFF TO SCOTLAND! They care enough to make the effort to call attention to the players of the intention of the card I think it is admirable to bring it to the front.



Judy Kay-WolffDecember 9th, 2010 at 4:53 am


Let’s face it — here in the States it is a free for all. The rules are not enforced as they should be, favoritism is shown, and the regulations are not adhered to as they should be. It is an accident waiting to happen — and frequently it does.

What is so difficult about demanding one who is about to “skip”to take out the Stop Card and place it on the table. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to coordinate the bid with the use of the card. Once the card is placed on the table and the bid is made. THE LHO TAKES TEN SECOND BEFORE HE/SHE CALLS OR PASSES. It should be as automatic as not overcalling 1H over 1S or 1NT over a 2H opening. It is a formatted sequence that must be followed and there are no excuses for violation except Alzheimer’s.

Dixie Perkinson, at the Last Vegas Bridge World game, announced it routinely in her opening greeting. Everyone shook their heads in total agreement. No big deal! What is so difficult about obeying the protocol.




I fail to see the difficulty in either obligation.

IT IS A BASIC RULE WITH A CARD PRINTED SPECIFICALLY FOR A PURPOSE , probably the easiest of all ACBL rules ro abide by. It is one of the simplest concepts in bridge and no excuses should be made for its violation. It will stop much Unauthorized Information (UI).

PaulDecember 9th, 2010 at 8:01 am

As Anthony points out, in Scotland (and the rest of the UK) the STOP card basically works. The players and administrators are in alignment.

In the ACBL the administrators have let the players down and now there is free for all. The use of the STOP card is not mandatory, it is discretionary and this means that you cannot effectively police its use.

I also noted in the Orlando motions (for the BOD?) that there was a motion not to prohibit the use of the STOP card after the first round of a non-competitive auction. I do not know what happened in the vote. But it highlights the fact that many believe the STOP card is used to alert partner, and not the opponents. To my mind this just reinforces the lack of respect for the STOP card.

It is hard to see the ACBL changing its current policy, unfortunately.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 9th, 2010 at 8:40 am


Your staterment –“The players and administrators are in alignment” says it all. Sadly, it is a free for all in some areas of the ACBL. including several parts of laws commission, appeals committee, directors at the lower levels (by far the worst and least knowledgeable about the concepts of the game — and I could go on).

The States have slipped in many areas of adjudiction. It’s like Bobby used to call it “The ‘ole boys club.’ … which means you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. A typical example is based on my blog, The Bastardization of Bridge” which was reviewed at the Nationals by the so-called directors’ committee, but we have heard nothing — which means they are no doubt closing their eyes to all the heresy of the directors involved and their deliberate refusal to right the wrong — AND THE WRONG WAS STRICTLY THEIRS. GET USED TO IT — OUR GAME IS GOING DOWNHILL and in my opinion will eventually hit the skids.

Here in the States, we call it Fighting City Hall and untill we get back some of the good old time type of administrators incarnated, things will not get better. Their love and majesty of the game was unparalleled. It was not about making others look bad — but about making the game look good.

Bobby WolffDecember 9th, 2010 at 9:30 am

A new thought which is about 20+ years old:

Sometimes in the distant past Bobby Goldman suggested a “pause” card which would be used in competitive sequences to remind others (specifically one’s LHO) to pause (not necessary for it to have to be a skip bid) and bid in tempo. An example would be when two partnerships are having a fierce turf battle with one side suggesting spades as trump and the other hearts. When one bid 4 hearts, then the next, 4 spades, the card should be used to slow the tempo down so that partners will not be able to calibrate the degree of desire in the bid itself.

At least to me, this suggestion, if done without malicious intent, could only help what bridge lovers are trying to do and make it a fairer game, but alas our administrators thought, at that time, that we were putting too great an emphasis on active ethics to the detriment of the newcomers.

Since I thought just the opposite e.g. novices need to be immediately educated about their ethical responsibilities and not wait until bad habits are developed so that they would eventually have to be debriefed and unlearn them, I was, of course, disappointed that the “pause” card was never used after a very brief experimental period.

So the “foxes” continue to patrol and therefore monitor the “henhouses” with predicable positive results (and scrumptious eating) for the four legged ones.

Perhaps, Paul, Scotland can lead the way to pause our way to better (at least more ethical) bridge.

PegDecember 9th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Part of the problem, as I understand it, is how the laws are currently constructed. I could be in error, but I think right now, the laws say that IF you EVER use the stop card, you must use it all the time.

So – if the auction goes (no bids by the competition) 1NT – 2C – 2D – 3NT – the 3NT requires a stop card and a 10 second pause. Ditto for 1H – 1S- 4C(splinter) and 1S – 1NT – 2H – 4D(splinter). Most people do not pause 10 seconds in auctions where there is no competition by their side – and – I’m not sure if it is necessary to have a 10 second pause in these circumstances. If the stop card is used all the time, however, then I think people are required to do it?

Yes, a mess.

I like Bobby’s idea of having a “pause” card in competition. Bridge is supposed to be an intellectual game. Why should we be penalized if we think for 5 to 10 seconds in a competitive auction? In reality, part of the problem is some people pass like a bat out of hell when they have minimal values, so the fast pass transmits as much if not more info than the somewhat thoughtful but not tanking forever pause.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 9th, 2010 at 9:25 pm


To me it’s all a bunch of nonsense –if you are expected to alert your own side’s jump (unless not a normal meaning) in an uncontested auction. If that is so, the rules need fixin’. That’s for damn sure.

My concern is after a skip bid, when the next hand thinks an

extraordinarily long time, does nothing and partner thinks it is o.k. to balance with minimum values. Some assess blame to

stupidity. That might be true but not that stupid not to realize that their partner has values and jump back into the auction.

Club owners can be of great help if they try to keep balancing from being encouraged by huddles — and

with no shame!