“There will always be occasions where we have a particularly difficult hand, or something goes wrong and we have to call the director and end up finishing the boards late. However, consistent slow play to the extent of repeatedly holding up the next table or the pair following simply is not fair on them and can result in spoiling their enjoyment of the game. They are usually rushed in order to make up the time you lost”.
It is never good teaching to provide the problem without offering a solution. Please read and begin to put the following in your bridge toolbox.
Please arrive in good time, i.e. 15 minutes prior to the start time, so that you are at the table where you plan to play, and ready to start play. The director has to decide on the movement and the number of boards on each table before play starts, and this depends on the number of tables in play. 15 minutes allows ample time to get your coffee, convention card, use the washroom and sit with your partner. This would also be the time to have the correct table money for both pairs ready on the table as soon as possible for the director to collect.
When you’re on lead, please make your lead before writing the contract on your score card. Similarly, when you’re dummy, put your hand down first, then write down the contract. If you see someone beginning to write down the contract before making the opening lead, remind them politely that they should lead first so that everyone else can be getting on with the hand.
Please try to keep up to a reasonable speed with your bidding and play. We allow 15 minutes for two board rounds 20 minutes for three board rounds, which is normally plenty. If you finish a round late, please make every effort to catch up during the next.
Please keep conversation to a minimum until you have finished playing all the hands for each round. Don’t analyze each hand as it finishes. If there is still time at the end of the round, when all the scoring has been done, and hand records have been entered, then, by all means have a post-mortem, but in a low voice so that neighbouring tables can’t hear. When the director calls the round, please move promptly. This is not the time to go for coffee!
Please don’t leave the room between rounds if you can at all avoid it. The time to make coffee or visit the washroom is when you are sitting out or dummy. Don’t keep your next opponents waiting. It isn’t fair to them. The absolute worst time to wander off is when the director has called end of the round.
If, as declarer, you can see that you will definitely win all the remaining tricks, or a definite number of the remaining tricks, please claim, but in doing so remember that you must make a statement as to how you will play the rest of the hand, and this must include a reference to how you will handle any trumps still held by the defenders (otherwise they can argue that you had forgotten they were still out). Equally, as defender, if it’s totally obvious that your side will win (or lose) the last, say, two or three tricks, please make a claim (or concession).
If a particular table or pair keeps holding you up, draw the director’s attention to it at an early stage so that he can keep an eye on the potential problem. He cannot be expected to see everything happening in the room!
Have fun and may God speed!