Slow Play Reprecussion and Common Hints to speed up the play at your table..
Clubs need to be aware of their members’ capacity for an evening’s bridge. If the sessions are too long and finish too late, players will be unhappy and stop coming. Local custom and usage will vary, but most clubs find an evening of 24 boards played in around three hours is about right – a little longer if there is a break.
Some days we play at a faster pace, while other days we take things more slowly but, normally, a board should be played in about 7-7½ minutes. So two-board rounds should take 15 minutes, which means that the usual club duplicate of 24 boards can be played in about three hours. For rounds of three boards 22 minutes per round should suffice since less time is taken up with moving. For rounds of four or more boards it is usual to allow seven minutes per board at a club duplicate, although some clubs may find that this can be shortened slightly. Of course, the move can be called earlier if all or nearly all tables have finished play. Sessions for novices need to allow considerably longer – perhaps 8-10 minutes per board or even more.
Slow play can be an intractable problem. Often it is the same players who are holding everyone else up time and time again even though it has been explained to them that they are not being fair to those they are keeping waiting. If a table is behind all the others, the TD can, of course, remove a board and award an average - adjusted if appropriate – but a board should not be removed once it has been started. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove a board in the next round from a table that has been held up by a previous delay. If there is time, it might be possible to play an unplayed board during a tea break or at the end of the evening.
If everyone is taking 25 minutes a round 8 minutes a board and you are taking 30 for every round it doesnt seem like a lot of time, but over a sesson of 8-9 rounds thats 40-45 round or the equivalent of 2 rounds at 22 minutes per round.
1) If you’re simply not sure what to do, please try not to take too long over making a call or when playing a card. You have to make a decision at some point! I have heard Audrey Grant say. if not sure, play fast and with confidence.
2) When you’re on lead, please make your lead before putting your bidding cards away or writing the contract on your score card. Similarly, when you’re dummy, put your hand down first, then put away the bidding cards and 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. THis allows time for declarer to examine dummyand lead as well as the third hand defender all while contract is written.
3) Please keep conversation to a minimum until you have finished playing all the hands for each round. Don’t analyse each hand as it finishes. If there is still time at the end of the round, when all the scoring has been done, then by all means have a post-mortem, but in a low voice so that neighbouring tables can’t hear. If the TD calls the move, please move promptly, even if you haven’t had time for a discussion.
4) 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).
5) (For more experienced players only!) To play more quickly you don't need to play fast; you just need to play slowly less often. Thinking ahead can help you do this. E.g. suppose the auction goes 1NT (15-17) on your right, you pass on ten points, and LHO makes a transfer bid. You should see that there is every likelihood that you will be on opening lead eventually, so you can already start figuring out what your best lead might be, either against no trumps, or against the suit about to be bid by RHO. Once the auction is over, you can then immediately place a card on the table.