New to the game of bridge? Over the next few weeks we will list 7 Articles of Bridge Ethics and Etiquette. Topics will include Table Manners, Tempo, Psych Bidding, Falsecards, Cheating, Calling the Director and Skip Bids.
Article 1 - Tables Manners
When dummy lays her hand down, she will usually say, "Good luck, partner." Declarer, upon seeing her hand, will say, "Thank you, partner." Very serious players dispense with these pleasantries because they prefer focusing 100% at the task at hand, which is OK. If you are into the habit of saying "good luck" and "thank you," though, be sure to do it on every deal, even if you want to strangle partner for his horrendous bidding. Partnerships start breaking down and making more errors when one player decides to be crass and not say "thank you" after his partner lays down an awful dummy. It's also important to not tip the defenders off about your bidding gone awry. If dummy says "good luck" and declarer sighs and shakes his head, the opponents can often make inferences about the deal, and defend better as a result.
At duplicate bridge, it is polite to greet each pair of opponents you face. You are not expected to exchange handshakes and huge grins, but bridge after all is a game and salutations are appropriate. At the end of a round, it is also common for either pair to say "thanks" or "good luck." Only at extremely high-level competitions would you not expect many pleasantries.
During the play of the hand, whether it is regular or tournament bridge, talk is usually kept to a minimum. Declarer can call for cards from dummy, and she, along with the defenders, may claim (to win a surefire, specific number of tricks) at any time. Aside from that, players normally do not chat until the hand is finished. Dummy especially should never say anything to assist declarer. The only thing dummy is allowed to do in bridge is to ask partner if she is void when she fails to follow suit. Dummy is NOT allowed to make or suggest a claim.
When a hand is over, you can compliment any player who did something particularly well, either in the bidding or the play. If you are praising partner, be sure not to overdo it because this may be perceived as gloating (particularly if the opposition made a mistake). It is also considered proper manners to refrain from criticizing partner for some wrong action he took. Squabbling after a hand makes the game less fun for everyone at the table. It also delays the play of the next deal.
Next week's topic Tempo.