|When things go wrong in the play
When things go wrong in the play
It is very common for things to go wrong in the play. People lead when they shouldn't, fail to follow suit when they can, drop cards on the table and so on. The laws prescribe penalties for these and every other possible occurrence. These are not designed to punish the person who makes the mistake but to ensure they do not profit from it and to restore equity. The situation is often more complex than many players realise and, as ever, the best thing is to call the director straight away and let her do her job.
A claim is when declarer stops playing and says he is going to make all the rest of the tricks or how many he is going to concede to the defence. Play should stop immediately once a declarer makes a claim. If one or both of the defenders then dispute the claim or the claim is invalid the director should be called who will then act as arbiter. Any points of contention in the claim (such as failure to state the drawing of outstanding trumps in the defender's hands) will be settled against declarer if there is a logical but not irrational line of play that allows the defence to win one or more tricks. In other words, the defence are given the benefit of any doubt.
When has a card been played?
If you are a defender and pull a card out of your hand and then don't like the look of it then you can change your mind and put it back in your hand and play another card. But if on seeing the card you drop it on the table in your horror and you scoop it right up then sadly the card is played. The same applied if you accidentally drop a card on the table or floor. It becomes a played card at the moment your partner could have seen its face. The director does not need to interview your partner with a lie detector test to ascertain whether or not the card was actually seen: it is enough that for that split second it was in a position where it could have been seen. If you are declarer the rule is not the same because there is no worry about your revealed cards being of help to your partner. A declarer can drop some cards on the table and just pick them up with no penalty whatever. Declarer's card becomes a played card when it is 'maintained' in the playing position. It does not matter whether it has been seen or could have been seen. In fact declarer can show the defenders every card in his hand if he wishes!