The English Bridge Union are pleased to be using this BridgeWebs site for a condensed summary of our news headlines.
The laws are updated about every ten years, and the latest version will come into effect in EBU events from start of August. From a player’s point of view, there are no changes to the mechanics or scoring of the game, so you can essentially continue to play your familiar game and allow the TDs to worry about dealing with any irregularities that arise. There have been and will continue to be a number of courses offered around the country for TDs to get to grips with the new laws. They will also be well advised to ensure they first check all their familiar rulings in the new book.
There are however a couple of changes that players would gain from being aware of. The first is that under the new laws, if a claim or concession has been made play is only suspended; if the non-claiming side suggest playing on and if all four players agree to it they may do so. This is not recommended because if they do, the TD will not get involved at all if the claim is subsequently doubted: the outcome at the table will be final.
The big change that will affect players is the introduction of the new concept in Law 23 of a comparable call:
A call that replaces a withdrawn call is a comparable call, if it:
This is similar to the existing idea for allowing replacements bids for insufficient bids but it has been a bit more clearly explained and most importantly its application has been extended to apply to Calls Out Of Turn as well as insufficient bids. In most instances, replacing an insufficient bid or a call out of rotation with a comparable call will allow the auction just to continue.
This should reduce the occasions on which one partner or another is barred from bidding, which has tended to leave the pair concerned to guess, leading to the undesirable situation that the result is largely dependent on luck.
One of the beneficial effects of this change is that the frequency of lead penalties under Law 26 will be greatly reduced and much easier for the TD to implement.
Do note though that if you appear to have gained by an insufficient bid or a call out of turn, the TD always has the ability to adjust the score at the end of the hand.
See examples at EBU LAWS 2017 Summary
22 May 2017 – revised
Some laws have not changed, while some have changed a lot. Not all the changes impact how a TD will rule at the table but, for other laws, TDs will find themselves saying different words when they read the from the law book – and should listen to what they are saying.
Law that are unchanged:
2, 3, 5, 8, 18, 19, 33, 39, 44, 48, 52, 59, 71, 74, 76, 77, 82, 83, 84, 85, 88, 89.
Laws with minor wording changes or changes to cross-references only:
4, 10, 14, 21, 28, 34, 35, 37, 38, 41, 46, 49, 54, 55, 58, 60, 65, 78, 80, 81, 90, 92.
More detailed requirements for design of cards.
B. … No two adjacent cards from the deck shall be dealt into the same hand. …
This should help with answering questions from players about whether back-and-forth dealing is OK.
A. When a board is to be played it is placed in the centre of the table where it shall remain, correctly oriented, until play is completed
Some illegal signalling was transmitted by positioning of the board.
B3. … No player shall touch any cards other than his own (…) during or after play except by permission of an opponent or the Director.
As a player, you can permit an opponent to touch your cards. But Law 66D still says “After play ceases, … no player should handle cards other than his own.”
A3. Any player, including dummy, may attempt to prevent an irregularity (but for dummy subject to Laws 42 and 43).
A4. Dummy may not call attention to an irregularity until play of the hand is concluded (but see Law 20F5 for correction of declarer’s apparently mistaken explanation).
I think these are rewording/clarification to avoid conflicts with the other laws mentioned.
A. If a side has gained through subsequent action taken by an opponent in ignorance of the relevant provisions of the law, the Director adjusts only that side’s score by taking away any accrued advantage. The other side retains the score achieved at the table.
One of a number of examples where the new laws award a split score.
C1(b) The Director in awarding an assigned adjusted score should seek to recover as nearly as possible the probable outcome of the board had the infraction not occurred.
James asked whether current practice of giving the benefit of the doubt to NOS when assigning weightings is not permitted under this new law. Discuss
C1(c) An assigned adjusted score may be weighted to reflect the probabilities of a number of potential results, but only outcomes that could have been achieved in a legal manner may be included.
Explicitly prohibiting “Reveley” rulings.
What was Law 12C1(b) on “Serious Error … wild or gambling” is now Law 12C1(e) “an extremely serious error (…) or by a gambling action”. EBU guidance on what constitutes an
[extremely] serious error will have to be revisited; although the EBU guidance (White Book 126.96.36.199) may already anticipate “extremely”. Clearly to be considered an “extremely serious error” under the new laws, it must have been a “serious error” under the old EBU guidance.
Changes in Law 12C2 allow variations in artificial adjusted scores for multiple instances of “failure to obtain a result”. This is already done in EBU White Book regulations. Also see new Law 86B2
Restructured/reworded. Ambiguity of the case of a surplus card has been resolved – this was discussed at the Panel Weekend in December 2016.
What was Law 17D moved here. “Play of the Wrong Board” simplified – there is no longer the possibility of seating the correct opponents and seeing if they repeat the same calls; instead the wrong opponents get to complete the board.
Clarifications (and some repetition).
B1(a) A player may not choose a call or play that is demonstrably suggested over another by unauthorized information if the other call or play is a logical alternative.
The previous law appeared to allow an illogical alternative even if it was suggested by the unauthorised information. The new law prohibits any call [or play] if the alternative call [or play] is logical.
Clarifications. Now includes end of auction period. Cards from wrong board moved to Law 15.
F4(a) If a player realizes during the auction that his own explanation was erroneous or incomplete, he must summon the Director before the end of the Clarification Period and correct the misexplanation. He may elect to call the Director sooner, but he is under no obligation to do so.
This limits the opportunity of the NOS being able to use the knowledge that the OS has had a misunderstanding. Subsequently the NOS may get an adjustment on the basis of getting the correct explanation but not that there has been a misunderstanding.
Definition of the end of auction period moved to Law 17.
Defines “comparable calls”. Old Law 23 moved to Law 72C.
The scope of this law is now “the auction” not the “auction period”. Cards exposed before the auction begins are mentioned in Law 16D1. Cards exposed after the end of the auction may be covered by Law 49.
Part D applies in the case of part C but part E applies to any of parts A, B or C.
A1. If a player discovers that he has not made the call he intended to make, he may, until his partner makes a call, substitute the call he intended for the unintended call. The second (intended) call stands and is subject to the appropriate Law, but the lead restrictions in Law 26 do not apply.
In A1, there is no “without pause for thought”.
A2. If the player’s original intent was to make the call selected or voiced, that call stands. A change of call may be allowed because of a mechanical error or a slip of the tongue, but not because of a loss of concentration regarding the intent of the action.
Item A2 distinguishes mechanical error from actions resulting from a lapse of concentration.
A3. A player is allowed to replace an unintended call if the conditions described in A1 above are met, no matter how he may have become aware of his error.
Item A3 was a footnote, added after 2008.
Rewritten, using “comparable calls”. See separate HEADING
B. Unless A applies, a call out of rotation is cancelled and the auction reverts to the player whose turn it was to call. The offending side is subject to the provisions of Law 30, 31 or 32.
C. When attention is drawn to an inadmissible double or redouble only after the opening lead has been faced, the final contract is scored as if the inadmissible call had not been made.
This is good. Unfortunately, there is no corresponding statement in Laws 37 or Law 39.
A4. The agreed meaning of a call or play shall not alter by reference to the member of the partnership by whom it is made (this requirement does not restrict style and judgement, only method).
This was a regulation for many Regulating Authorities (for example, EBU Blue Book 5A2) and is now law.
Lots of changes in Law 40B as to what agreements and variation of agreement may be regulated: see the Blue Book and White Book in August 2017 for any changes to EBU regulations.
A3. He plays the cards of the dummy as declarer’s agent as directed and ensures that dummy follows suit (see Law 45F if dummy suggests a play).
B2. He may try to prevent any irregularity.
A3. A defender may not show dummy his hand.
B3. If dummy after his violation of the limitations listed in A2 is the first to draw attention to a defender’s irregularity, there is no immediate rectification. Play continues as though no irregularity had occurred. At the end of play if the defending side has gained through its irregularity the Director adjusts only its score, taking away that advantage. The declaring side retains the score achieved at the table.
C4(b) Declarer may correct an unintended designation of a card from dummy until he next plays a card from either his own hand or from dummy. A change of designation may be allowed after a slip of the tongue, but not after a loss of concentration or a reconsideration of action.
Similar to the change to Law 25A: again “without pause for thought” has gone.
D2. When it is too late to change dummy’s wrongly placed card (see above), the play continues normally without alteration of the cards played to this or any subsequent trick. If the wrongly placed card was the first card of the trick, then the failure to follow suit to that card may now constitute a revoke (see Laws 64A, 64B7 and 64C). If the wrongly placed card was contributed to a trick already in progress and dummy thereby has revoked, see Laws 64B3 and 64C.
When dummy has put the wrong card in the played position but it is too late to change, the card “played” by dummy becomes the card played to the trick. If it is the first card played to the trick, that card determines the suit led for purpose of revokes (and ownership of the trick.)
Heading of Law 47C is “To Change an Unintended Designation”
Law 50E rewritten. See separate HEADING
B2(c) When a defender has penalty cards in more than one suit and his partner is to lead, declarer may elect not to require or prohibit a lead, in which case the defender’s partner may lead any card and the penalty cards remain on the table as penalty cards16. If this option is selected Laws 50 and 51 continue to apply for as long as the penalty cards remain.
16 If the partner of the defender with the penalty cards retains the lead, then all the requirements and options of Law 51B2 apply again at the following trick.
This item and footnote fill in gaps that may have been inferred from Law 50.
17 A lead out of turn at trick 13 must be retracted
… and other minor changes.
Now says something – not just “See Law 54D”.
Extended: A4 and part D added; C1 expanded.
C. A claim of a revoke does not automatically warrant inspection of quitted tricks (see Law 66C).
A. A player must correct his revoke if attention is drawn to the irregularity before it becomes established.
C3. If both sides revoke on the same trick and only one side has played to the subsequent trick, then both revokes must be corrected (see Law 16C2). Every card withdrawn by the defending side becomes a penalty card.
D2. If a defender revokes on the twelfth trick before his partner’s turn to play to the trick, Law 16C applies.
These all address issues that have certainly occurred in training simulations if not in real life.
A4. when agreement is established (as per Law 69A) to an opponent’s claim or concession; the offending side having raised no objection to it before the end of the round, or before making a call on a subsequent board.
Law 64C – added item 2, re two revokes:
D. If the Director can no longer ascertain the facts after such a claim has been made, and only one side has mixed its cards, the Director shall rule in favour of the other side.
B3. When the Director determines that the offender did play a card to the trick, but that card was not placed among the quitted tricks, the Director finds the card and places it correctly among the offender's played cards. The Director shall award an adjusted score if the same card was played to a subsequent trick and it is too late to correct the illegal play.
Important changes. See separate presentation/paper.
Law 23 moved to Law 72C.
C2. A penalty may be assessed against a player who violates C1, but if the opponents have been damaged, see also Law 16B3.
Explicit possibility for a penalty for violation of Law 73C1.
Added part D, re misexplanation when there is no understanding:
B3. If the Director is not called before the round ends, the score may be changed for both sides only when he is clearly convinced as to the result obtained at the table. Otherwise he should either allow the recorded score to stand, or decrease the score for one side without increasing it for the other.
Changes to what was Law 86D. See separate presentation/paper.
Fouled boards at teams scoring moved to Law 86. Specifically, fouled boards at teams are covered by Law 86B2 – which is not the law item that was used in discussions at Prague!
B. The Director is empowered to disqualify a player or contestant for cause, subject to approval by the Tournament Organizer.
… committee (or authorized alternative) …
Acknowledgement of new review procedures.
This page gives a summary of the changes (sections changed) to the Laws of Duplicate Bridge as promulgated by the World Bridge Federation and introduced in England on 1st August 2008, please go to the EBU Page for more information.
Changes affecting Players
You should shuffle your cards after the hand before returning them to the board.
You are still required to agree a hesitation, for example, when it happens and the TD should be summoned if there is any disagreement. The new laws state that the best to time to claim actual damage is at the end of the hand (e.g. rather than on sight of dummy).
You are now allowed to ask about the meaning of an individual call in the opponents’ auction. But it shouldn’t be done in such a way as to suggest a call or play to partner such as "does that 2H bid show hearts?" – perhaps indicating that the questioner holds hearts.
Sometimes players ask questions because they do not think their partner has understood. It is illegal to do so.
There is a short period between the final pass and the first card being faced, when questions are asked. This is now called the Clarification Period. Members of the declaring side may consult their own system cards during this time to make sure nothing has been misexplained, for example.
When you put the dummy down you must display it with the lowest ranking cards nearer declarer.
Dummy cannot ask a defender whether he has revoked (In 1997 it was in 42B1 and still is but is repeated here). However he can still ask declarer.
Defenders are allowed to ask one another whether they have revoked. This returns to a situation outlawed in 1987.
Players are now allowed to point out that a quitted trick card is pointing the wrong way. Declarer can do it at any time; dummy or defenders can do it only until the lead is made to the following trick.
It’s now official - the chief object while playing is to obtain a higher score than other contestants!
Changes affecting Directors
The concept of ‘weighted’ adjusted scores becomes the norm in England. It has been in place since 2000 as an option but it now replaces the current law 12C2. 12C1(e) does not apply in England.
Example: Due to an infraction the TD disallows a score of 4 by E/W and puts it back to 4 by N/S. There is a 50/50 chance that N/S will make 10 or 11 tricks, so the TD can award 50% of 4= and 50% of 4+1. See the White Book p27 for full details. An article will follow in a future English Bridge.
In the current (1997) code there is a little known law that allows you to make a call and then ‘change your mind’. It was quite a well kept secret and had a strange penalty where you could play for at most 40% after you had done it. In the new laws that has gone. You can still make a ‘mechanical error’ and be allowed to change it (L25A) but you cannot change your mind. By and large a bid made cannot be changed.
This is both complicated to explain and understand and may be difficult to apply. There is a significant change to the insufficient bid law. The scope for allowing an insufficient bid (IB) to be replaced without silencing partner has been extended. The old rule of replacing it at the lowest legal level remains, provided that both bids (the IB and replacement bid) are natural. But there is now an added possibility, which comes if a replacement call can be found which has the same meaning, or a more precise meaning as the IB itself.
Confused? Well, Max Bavin has come up with a useful question that TDs should ask, which might help to make it easier to decide. Would all hands making the replacement call also have made the original call in correct circumstances? If the answer is yes, then the change is allowed.
Here are a few examples:
East/West play Precision Club, so 1 shows 16+ HCP and, without interference, 1 shows 0-7 HCP. Can East replace his 1 bid by double if he has 5-7 points? They play that over interference pass shows 0-4 HCP and double 5-7 HCPs.
Would all hands playing Precision Club that would now double also have bid 1 without interference? Yes, so the change can be made and partner can continue bidding. Note that in this case pass would also be okay if East had 0-4 points.
4NT was Blackwood, East missed the 5 bid and 5 showed 0 or 4 aces. East/West play DOPI over intervention (double shows no ace, pass shows one ace). Can East replace 5 by double? Yes, all hands that would double to show no ace, would also have bid 5 without the interference.
This law confirms a number of things already in EBU regulations. It also confirms that you cannot have any aide-memoires or aids to calculation. So you cannot, for example, during the play take out the bidding card to see what 4xx + 2 will score for you.
The criteria for transferring tricks after an established revoke is changed. The TD no longer has to look at whether ‘an additional trick was won by the offending player with a card that could legally have been played to the revoke trick’. Instead he adjudicates either two tricks or one trick as now, and then looks to see whether equity has been served. Deciding whether equity has been served becomes the norm. It always was, but it is now even more important that the TD considers it.
The claim laws acknowledge that, even though play should cease after a claim, it often does not and the TD is given help on how to proceed.
The claim and concession laws still refer to action that would be careless or inferior for the class of player involved, but the bit about being ‘irrational’ has been removed.
The Laws recognize a body called the Tournament Organizer which could be the Club, the County Association, a Congress or Holiday Organizer or the EBU itself and sets out the duties and responsibilities. It replaces the Sponsoring Organisation in the current laws.