This list is prepared mainly for the benefit of new members, particularly those who are relatively unaccustomed to playing in a club affiliated to the English Bridge Union. Whilst most existing members will already be aware of the majority of these points, we hope that the list will provide a useful reminder. More experienced players are asked to be tolerant of those who are still learning their way around the intricacies of duplicate bridge and to provide gentle help and guidance where necessary.


General procedure and keeping to time


These points help to make sure that play continues at a reasonable speed and that there are no mechanical errors, e.g. cards getting mixed up between hands.


·         Always count your cards before looking at them. If you don’t have 13 cards, call the Tournament Director (TD).

·         Leave the board in play on the table, pointing in the right direction, until the hand is finished. This makes it much more difficult to put the hands back in the wrong slots afterwards!

·         Please enter all players’ EBU numbers into the BridgeMates as soon as requested by the TD or Scorer.

·         North (or South) should enter the board number and contract/played by into the BridgeMate as soon as bidding ends (but after making his lead if on lead).

·         If on opening lead, make it face down before putting your bidding cards away or writing the contract on your score card. Similarly, if you’re dummy, after the opening lead has been faced, put your hand down first, then put away the bidding cards and write down the contract. (See also opening lead item in Bidding/Play section.)

·         Try not to take too long over calls or when playing a card. Our club uses a Bridge Timer. A single long beep signals time to move for the next round. Four short beeps indicate that there are four minutes left until the end of the round. If you have not begun bidding the last board, do not play it but call the TD. One member of each pair should try to keep an eye on the time and warn the others if time is running out.

·         It is discourteous and unfair to keep your opponents and those following waiting. Players should leave the table (e.g. to make coffee) only when dummy or sitting out, rather than between rounds, unless absolutely necessary. If opponents are late arriving, that is the wrong time to wander off; it just increases the delay.

·         Unless dummy has left the table, declarer should never touch dummy’s cards, even to rearrange them. This avoids arguments about whether a card has been played or not.

·         As declarer, if you can clearly see that all the remaining tricks are yours, claim them rather than play on. You must specify clearly your line of play, including a statement about drawing any remaining trumps.

·         At the end of a board, make sure that all players are agreed on the result before putting the cards away. North (or South) should enter the score into the BridgeMate, and East (or West) should check and if correct, accept it. East (or West) should do this with the BridgeMate turned round in such a way that all players can see the subsequent percentage and results if desired.

·         Don’t spend time talking about a hand until you have finished all the boards in that round. And if you do want to discuss a hand at the table, do it very quietly (otherwise people who haven’t yet played it might hear you).

·         It is North’s responsibility to make sure that boards are passed on to the correct table (or relay as appropriate) at the end of each round.

·         When playing a Howell movement, both pairs should check the Howell card at the beginning of each round to make sure that they are playing at the correct table, against the correct pair, and using the correct boards.


Bidding and play


These points help to make sure that everyone bids and plays as fairly as possible. Using bidding boxes at least stops us from using our tone of voice to indicate whether our partner should bid on or pass - but it’s still all too easy to pick up inferences, known as ‘unauthorised information’, either from an unguarded comment, from a facial expression, or even from the speed at which someone bids or plays. You are perfectly entitled to try to take advantage of this if your opponents do it, but NOT when it’s your partner – and, of course, you should try to avoid doing anything yourself which might give away any information of this sort.


Calling the Director


Finally, do call the Director at any time if there’s a problem during the bidding or the play – he or she is there to help, so don’t try to sort things out yourselves. The Director has been trained to help you when something goes wrong and will use the guidance set out by the English Bridge Union to make sure that any problems are dealt with fairly and consistently. Please call the Scorer if you have a problem with your BridgeMate or spot an error.