Avoiding Slow Play or Keep it Moving
We all want to help improve etiquette, friendliness, and smooth play at the table. Do you ever wonder how you can help? In this ongoing series, we explore bridge "rules of the road." First, we’ll focus on tips that help speed up play. Thinking during the bidding and play of a difficult hand is a normal part of bridge. Many of the problems of slow play come at the time before and after the hands are actually played.
1. Lead before you do anything else! If you are on lead, lead before marking a personal scorecard or entering the contract on The Bridge Scorer. Making your lead first enables dummy to set down the cards and declarer and your partner to begin analyzing them. Are you worried that you will forget the contract? You won't, and you might even make a better lead because you concentrate on that important task without distraction. Remember also to lead face down, but know that once the card touches the table (barring some other impropriety); it cannot be substituted for a different card.
2. Eliminate postmortems at the table. This advice not only saves time, but could also save partnerships. Hand analysis at the table takes time away from everyone playing the next hand and can strain even the best partnerships. If you have a key point to discuss, make a mental note and go over it with your partner after the game. Hand records are useful tools and make it easier to recall and discuss hands after the game.
3. Claim when you can, but know how to claim correctly. The basics are simple: When it's your turn to play, face your cards and state a line of play. It's not enough to say, "The rest are mine." You need to explain to the defenders how the remainder of the tricks belongs to you. Also know that once you claim, the rules forbid you from "playing out the cards." If an opponent insists, call the director and let him or her sort it out.
Keep these three simple tips in mind the next time you play and pass them on to others. Slow play is an annoyance to everyone and these tips will improve the game for all.
“I have always believed that your attitude your partner is as important as your technical skill at the game.” Rixi Markis, one of the all-time great players.
Before you sit down to discuss what you are playing, you should start your partnership off on the right note. Half the battle of winning is being a good partner. Always observe the following.
1) Do not give lessons, unless you are being paid to do so.
2) Never say anything to your partner unless you would want him to say the same to you. If you are unsure whether your partner would want you so say something, don’t.
3) Never “result” (criticize your partner for a normal action just because it did not work this time).
4) Unless your intent is to clear up a misunderstanding, avoid discussing the just played. If you cannot resist. Be discreet.
5) Remember that you and your partner are on the same side.
6) If you feel the urge to be nasty, sarcastic, critical or loud – excuse yourself and take a walk.
7) Do not forget your partner wants to win as much as you do.
8) When there is time between hands, do not discuss bridge.
9) When you want to consult another player about a disaster, ask about your hand, not your partner’s.
10) Do not ever criticize or embarrass your partner in front of others.
11) Remember that bridge is only a card game.
Bridge is a timed event. Games should start on time and the Director should keep them moving on schedule. There is nothing more frustrating for a pair than to follow two slow players all day and never be able to begin a round on time.
The guideline for ACBL events is 15 minutes per two boards. The Director has an obligation to his players not to allow one or two persons to make the game unpleasant for the majority. First offenders should be warned, given one round to get back on schedule and informed procedural penalties may be assessed for future offenses. It is understood that the Director will make every effort to determine who is “at fault” before assessing any penalty.