The following items summarize changes to "The Laws" that occur frequently in our club games. Please be aware this is only a small part of the overall changes that take effect 1 January, 2018
STOP card tossed from bidding boxes - After roughly two decades of use, the oft-controversial STOP card found in most ACBL bidding boxes will soon be missing from ACBL tournaments.
During July 2017 meetings in Toronto, the ACBL Board of Directors eliminated the STOP card for sanctioned tournaments beginning after January 1, 2018. ACBL-affiliated clubs are not required to remove the STOP card from bidding boxes, but they are encouraged to do so. If players practice not using the STOP card at their local club, they will be prepared for the change when they attend tournaments in the new year. Please have your club Directors remind players of the obligation to pause in the direct seat after a skip bid to avoid making unauthorized information available to their partners. Players should strive to maintain an even tempo during the auction.
Law 6: The Shuffle and Deal. This law has been changed to require that two adjacent cards in the deck not be dealt to the same player. The law continues to recommend that cards be dealt in rotation clockwise (although other methods are legal).
Law 20: Review and Explanation of Calls. There are a couple of interesting changes to this law. The 2008 Laws stated that it was "improper to ask a question solely for partner's benefit (20G1). The new laws use stronger language: "A player may not ask a question if his sole purpose is to benefit partner." As can be seen in the Introduction to the Laws in the front of the book, the phrase "may not" is intended to mean that a player doing this should receive a procedural penalty. As well, there is a new 20G2 that states: "A player may not ask a question if his sole purpose is to elicit an incorrect response from an opponent." So, it is quite improper for a player who knows what is going on to ask a question with the sole intent being to get an incorrect answer that will give an opponent unauthorized information. In general, the laws make a clear statement that players are entitled to have information about the methods of the opponents fully and freely available. But at the same time, the laws take a strong stand against those who might abuse that principle to game the system to their advantage.