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Laws and Etiquette
Play at Harrogate Bridge Club is always in accordance with the rules laid down by the E.B.U. Whilst some members may not agree with some of the rules, failure to comply can cause irritation to your opponents and could cause some embarrassment all round if the Director is called.
Some rules that are not always observed are:
The requirement to emphasise a ‘jump’ bid by indicating “STOP” before a bid is made, and the requirement that the next player should wait a reasonable time before making a call after a ‘STOP’ bid has been made.
The need for a player who has alerted his or her partner’s bid to remain silent about the meaning of the bid until specifically asked for an explanation.
The fact that, during the auction a player may only ask for a review of the bidding or an explanation of an opponent’s bid when it is his or her turn to call, and only then if the player is considering making a bid as opposed to passing. Also, when a review of the bidding is asked for, only the opponents of the person asking for a review should speak.
The fact that only the player at the designated compass point is entitled to remove that specific hand from the board and that permission should always be sought from the Tournament Director before a player looks at any hand other than his or her own.
The fact that North and North only is entitled to remove the traveller from the board, but whilst North is responsible for entering the score in the traveller, East and West have a responsibility to check the entry.
Counting your cards
Always, always count your cards before you look at them, after you have taken them from the board, and it is also good practice to count them before replacing them in the board.
Slow play is the Tournament Director’s nightmare. He or she does not wish to antagonise either the slow players or those impatiently waiting for the slow players to finish. Please try to keep the tempo moving, particularly if you know that your opponents are slow.
Generally speaking to is neither illegal nor unethical to hesitate in either the auction or in the play. There are exceptions of course, such as a player hesitating before playing a singleton.
What is illegal is, if your partner hesitates before passing, to take this hesitation into account when making a bid yourself. When you do bid under such circumstances consider most carefully whether or not your bid is, without any doubt, fully justified on the basis of your hand. Do not forget that your opponents are perfectly entitled to reserve their rights and that if there is any doubt, the Director, when called, will rule against the player who makes the bid after a partner’s hesitation.
There are some matters that are not matters concerning the rules of the game but which, nevertheless, are extremely important if all players are to enjoy the game to the full. We are all likely to err at some time or other but failure to follow the unwritten rules of behaviour can only cause irritation to your follow players.
Amongst the matters that can cause irritation are:
Failure to greet new opponents courteously and in particular to carry on talking to your partner as though your new opponents do not exist.
Criticism of your opponent’s or indeed your partner’s play, or offering unsolicited advice to your opponents.
Looking at an opponent’s card or making comments when you are in dummy.
Talking loudly about hands just completed not only irritates other people but can give advantages to sharp-eared players in other parts of the room.
Playing cards from dummy
Dummy should play the cards as called by the declarer. It is incorrect for the declarer to play cards from dummy’s hand unless dummy is unable to do so him/herself. It is incorrect for dummy to play a card without it being called by the declarer, for example a singleton or an obvious follow to a lead. The declarer must nominate before dummy draws the card.
In the case of any illegality in play, or in the case of a dispute between players, always call the Director. Do not be offended if your opponents call the Director or reserve their rights, and if you yourself call the Director or reserve your rights, do so in as amicable a way as possible.
Above all else
Remember that whilst there are obviously players of differing standards in the Club, we are all playing the game as a form of recreation. It is most satisfying to be successful bit it is also important that we all enjoy the game to the full and do not detract from the enjoyment of other members by our behaviour at the bridge table.