This hand shown in the next column seems straightforward but offers several points of interest. East has an easy 1D opening when playing strong no trumps. West might raise diamonds to the two or three level but neither raise expresses the playing strength very well. While a diamond raise might be good in teams, it is often better to respond 1NT at pairs and get the high- scoring denomination into the picture while denying any four- card majors. East would be happy to play in 1NT but North intervenes with 2H. This is extremely dangerous because East might have up to a balanced 19 count and South might have next to nothing. With such a poor heart suit, the carnage might have been horrible but it happened to be safe here after West bid 3D over South’s thoughtful pass. An intervention, with at least one opponent completely unlimited, has to be based on a very good suit or on considerable values. Without these, it is better to wait for the auction to stop and then one of your side can make a protective bid.
South led the AH and continued with a second one. East dropped the 10H and JH but this should fool nobody since South, starting with A75 would lead the ace then the seven. Still, North did not give South a heart ruff and East ruffed the third round of clubs high, drew trumps and made nine tricks for a top. When South asked why there was no heart ruff, North replied that the slow pass over 2H made North think partner was thinking about raising hearts and, therefore, South had three. There are two problems with this. Firstly, it was entirely inconsistent with the play to the first two tricks. Secondly, the Laws of Bridge allow one only to take information from legal calls and plays. It is entirely illegal to take information from the speed, or slowness, of partner’s action despite the fact that many players view this as “good” psychology. When a player makes a break in tempo, their partner may not choose an action which is suggested by the variation in tempo. When this occurs the director may need to adjust the score.