Brush up on the Rules.
Do not panic. Not all 93 laws, but just FOUR
4 situations which occur all too frequently in regular club tournament:.
Opponent leads out of turn.
Case study: The bidding has just finished and you are declarer about to play 3NT. But your right hand opponent leads. Call the Director immediately. There are many advantageous options for you as declarer. The one most of you will not know about is Rule 54(b) where declarer becomes dummy: Yes, you can accept the lead out of turn. The choice to lay down your cards is yours only. (Not your partner`s).
It happens almost every week in almost every tournament. Your partner might have opened one no trump and your right hand opponent then bids one diamond. Call the Director immediately. Because it might suit you to exercise your right to accept this bid under Rule 27A(1). If you do, the bidding restarts from 1D. Which means you can then bid 1H yourself as your overbid whereas you would otherwise have been forced to bid 2H. Useful to know if, for example, you hold 4 hearts and minimal points. A quirk of this rule is that, by accepting the insufficient bid, you can even repeat what your partner said. In other words, if you hold diamonds in this case plus 6 points and no 4 card major, you can bid 1 No Trump.
Case study: You have counted your points and are about to take the 2 hearts from your bidding box when you are distracted by a mobile telephone ringing at the next table. Instead of taking out the 2H bid you put 2S on the table and your left hand opponent immediately and eagerly tenders the red card. You`ve been doubled. You look down at the table and "Oops, what have I done?" is the question you ask yourself. Don`t panic. Rule 25A comes to your rescue. Call the Director immediately. You can change the bid to 2H with no penalty if it is clear to the Director that 2H was what you intended to bid. These unintended calls more commonly occur when the bidding box cards become worn and sticky.
HESITATION before passing
You can ponder over a bid for an eternity but, but...you should not then PASS!
Case study: Your left hand opponent deliberates for 2 minutes after you have bid 4 hearts - but then passes**. Your partner also passes but your right hand opponent then calls 4S** which is followed by three passes. If you feel that RH opponent only bid 4S by drawing the conclusion that his partner`s hesitation meant he was thinking of doing the same, then tell your opponent that you "reserve the right to summon the Director later" (under rule 16B2) and explain why. If your right hand opponent disputes your claim, call the Director immediately.. What then happens is that you play the hand and, if the Director discovers that very few pairs had bid 4S and it caused you damage, he may substitute an advantageous score for the aggrieved party.
**NB: If left hand opponent passes after a long deliberation, I hear many players telling their RH opponents they must then pass. NOT TRUE.
In certain countries, and especially in non-affiliated clubs, there are very few people who will know these rules. Ignorance is to a certain extent bliss. The rules are complicated. No need to try memorizing many of them either . Unless, that is you play frequently in tournaments with prizes. All your more experienced opponents will be taking legitimate advantage of them.
If you are paying a hefty entrance fee, do your best to ensure you play on a level playing field!
If anyone would like further clarification of these or any of the WBF`s 93 Rules, send a mail and I will do my best to help.