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President — June Buckland

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Your Committee

Chairman — Gavin Wilson 📧 gavin@claygate.club

Treasurer — Muriel Hodder

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The Director team

The Director team comprises:

  • Rowena Austin
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The Scorer team

The Scoring Team comprises:

  • Carol Wildig (Team Leader)

  • Gavin Wilson

  • Ruth Rettie 

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In 2018, Claygate will start rolling out the wireless scoring system called BridgePal, which runs on smartphones and tablets.  The implementation team today consists of Gavin Wilson and Carol Wildig, but more volunteers will be very welcome.  We will provide as much help and training as each North needs to enter the scores into the handset.

Further information about BridgePal can be found here.

Directors' Casebook
30th March 2015 at Claygate: Uneventful until the final hand!

With 15½ tables, this was never going to be a silent evening. But I was never called as TD until after we had played our final hand. A heated row had started on table 5.

Case 19: East psyches

Circumstances

Psyche-H30-30mar15_zps0vlcgs5p.png

The auction went something like:

The Auction
E
S
W
N
No
1
No
No
1NT
No
2♣1
No
No
No
 
 
Notes:
  1. Alerted as 'Stayman'.

South was highly upset that, in his view, East had clearly psyched with his 1NT overcall as he had just 7 HCP and no heart stopper. He was also vexed that East had passed having stated that West's response was Stayman. South was concerned that an outbreak of such psyches would upset the club membership as a whole. East said that, as a passed hand, his 1NT could not be expected to contain more than 11 points. East also said that, through his passing his partner's 2♣, the partnership had missed its best contract: 2♠.

Analysis

Of course if East had shown his 4-card spade suit in response to Stayman, West would undoubtedly have gone straight to 4♠, if not further. The partnership was therefore never going to play in 2♠.

Law 40C states that:

  • A player may deviate from his side’s announced understandings always provided that his partner has no more reason to be aware of the deviation than have the opponents. Repeated deviations lead to implicit understandings which then form part of the partnership’s methods and must be disclosed... If the Director judges there is undisclosed knowledge that has damaged the opponents he shall adjust the score and may award a procedural penalty. Other than the above no player has any obligation to disclose to opponents that he has deviated from his announced methods.

The EBU's White Book 2013 states the following:

  • A psyche or psychic bid is a deliberate and gross mis-statement of honour strength and/or suit length... A psychic bid is a legitimate ploy as long as it contains the same element of surprise for the psycher’s partner as it does for the opponents... In the majority of cases the TD will find nothing untoward and classify it as a green psyche... Psychic bids do not have to be reported but a player may request the TD to record them. To do so is not to accuse the opponents of malpractice. The TD may record any hand if they think fit.

On the bidding, I had no grounds for believing that East's partner had reason to believe her partner had deviated from their announced system. From her viewpoint with 15 HCP, it was possible that South had 11-12 and her partner had 10-11 plus the A stopper.

Judgement

I therefore ruled it as a GREEN psyche and took no action to adjust the score.

I discussed the matter with another director that evening, and with the committee by email the next day, and we decided to start a Psyche Book.

26th January 2015: Some straightforward rulings (although it did not seem so at the time)

This was a busy night in which trouble seemed to follow one particular partnership around the room. I didn't feel particularly anxious but we had a Call out of Rotation, an Insufficient Bid and a Lead out of Turn — all on the first hand, and those were all my me...

Case 18: East Meant to Pull out a Double card when he actually pulled out a Pass

Circumstances

The auction had gone something like 1♠ : Pass : Pass. East drew a Pass card from his box and placed it on the table, and tried immediately to retract it and exchange it for a Double card.

Analysis

Law 25A states that:

  • Until his partner makes a call, a player may substitute his intended call for an unintended call but only if he does so, or attempts to do so, without pause for thought. The second intended call stands and is subject to the appropriate Law. No substitution of call may be made when his partner has made a subsequent call.

Judgement

I allowed East to change his pass to a Double.

Case 17: East Passed Out of Rotation when it was West's Turn to Open the Bidding

Circumstances

East passed when it should have been his partner opening the auction.

Analysis

Law 30A states that:

  • When a player has passed out of rotation before any player has bid the offender must pass when next it is his turn to call.

Judgement

I called Nigel over to adjudicate and deliver this verdict: East had to pass for one round.

No-one complained afterwards, so the Red Book's Law 23 about adjusting for potential damage did not apply.

Case 16: The Card Discovered on the Floor

Circumstances

I was called over to a table where a red-backed card had been discovered on the floor. It was suggested that the card (the 9) may have fallen out of a board just passed to the adjacent table, and that it may have belonged to East.

Analysis

Though the calling table had yet to play their red-backed hand, I asked them to pause their play and count their cards, which they did. Everyone had 13. I then looked at the hand records for the red-backed hand to be played on the adjacent table, and saw that indeed East should have the 9.

I then interrupted play on the adjacent table and asked East to count her cards. She had 12. I put the card face down next to her current blue-backed trick pile. Unaccountably South then had a look at the card.

Judgement

Law 14 says that:

  • When one hand is found to contain fewer than 13 cards ... the Director makes a search for any missing card, and if the card is found, it is restored to the deficient hand. The auction and play continue normally without alteration of any of the calls made, the restored hand being deemed to have contained all of its cards continuously throughout.

So no adjustment is needed with regard to the player (East) whose board was initially short of a card.

I briefly admonished South but decided to take no further action, as it was not too important a card and South might well have forgotten all about it by the time she came to play that hand. But what should I have done?

Law 16C says:

  • When a player accidentally receives unauthorized information about a board he is playing or has yet to play, as by ... seeing a card belonging to another player at his own table before the auction begins, the Director should be notified forthwith, preferably by the recipient of the information.

If the Director considers that the information could interfere with normal play he may, before any call has been made, adjust the players’ positions at the table, if the type of contest and scoring permit, so that the player with information about one hand will hold that hand.

This would seem to be the most satisfactory way of resolving the situation. So N-S would have become E-W for that one hand. But from a scoring viewpoint, each pair would now need to be assigned unique pair numbers, as in an arrow-switched Mitchell event, so that N-S pair x does not get confused with E-W pair x.

19th January 2015: An Assortment of Rulings

My first outing of the New Year saw a noisy 14-table mêlée containing three situations of interest to the apprentice director. I'll start with the easiest one first.

Case 15: The Pair Who Didn't Count their Cards

Circumstances

I was called to the table towards the end of play on one hand. East was left with two cards, while West had four.

Analysis

I concluded that neither East nor West had counted their cards; they agreed. (The cards must have been misboarded on the previous table.)

Law 13 says that:

  • When the Director determines that one or more hands of the board contained an incorrect number of cards ... then when the Director deems that the deal can be corrected and played the deal may be so played with no change of call. At the end of play the Director may award an adjusted score. Otherwise ... the Director shall award an adjusted score and may penalize an offender.

Judgement

I awarded an adjusted score: 60% to N-S, who were innocent of any offence, and 40% to E-W.

Case 14: May an Insufficient Artificial Bid be Replaced by a Sufficient Artificial Bid?

This problem occurred at the director's table. No bias was employed in arriving at the verdict.

Circumstances

Hand10_zps3516b467.png

The auction went something like:

The Auction
E
S
W
N
1♠
No
2♥
No
4♥
No
4♣1
 
Notes:
  1. Insufficient bid.

I established with the offender's partner that the 4♣ was intended as Gerber. The pair also play Blackwood 4NT.

Law 27B.1(b) says:

  • if the insufficient bid is corrected with a legal call that in the Director’s opinion has the same meaning — the meaning of (information available from) a call is the knowledge of what it shows and what it excludes — as, or a more precise meaning than, the insufficient bid (such meaning being fully contained within the possible meanings of the insufficient bid) the auction proceeds without further rectification...

(There is an intriguing discussion on a bridge forum about whether a simple Gerber 4♣ can be replaced by Roman Key-Card 4NT in this situation. See http://iblf.matthew.ath.cx/index.php?showtopic=4411)

Judgement

I allowed West to replace her insufficient 4♣ bid with 4NT, and the auction and play proceeded as normal.

Case 13: Did North go out of his way to avoid exploiting unauthorised information from partner's hesitation?

Circumstances

This was certainly the most argumentative case of the evening. E-W apparently were late arriving at the table, because of slow play on the previous table. Here is the layout:

Hand23_zps8182c623.png

The auction proceeded as follows:

The Auction
S
W
N
E
No1
No
No
1♠
No2
1NT3
No
2♠4
No
No
Double5
No
3♥
End
 
 
Notes:
  1. With 11 HCP, 7 losers and a 5-4 shape handy for a 2♣ rebid, many would open 1♥on this hand.
  2. Passing after some considerable thought. Without the suit quality to overcall 2♥, and not a great shape for a double, South is probably regretting her initial pass.
  3. Slightly unusual with 4 HCP — the void is of no value in NT. Many would show the 3-card spade support immediately with a 2♠ response.
  4. Looks an underbid with 17 HCP and 6 spades, but that is not the matter in question.
  5. The controversial bid. Where did the justification for this bid come from, given that partner had hesitated before passing on the previous round? North has just 7 working HCP, and N-S were also vulnerable.

So the contract was 3♥ by South, which made. (E-W could have made 4♠, as eight pairs did on the evening.) I was called by East, who insisted that he alone be permitted to provide the initial description of the situation. East's argument was that North had received unauthorised information from his partner's second-round hesitation, and that North would not have doubled otherwise. North argued that East and West had both limited their hands through their bidding, and that his take-out double was an everyday balancing bid.

This situation was well above my pay-grade, and after several glances across the room, I saw that Nigel Barnes had now finished playing his hand, so I brought Nigel over to assist.

Analysis

Nigel's argument was that North must go out of his way not to use the unauthorised information created by his partner's hesitation. It does not matter that N-S employ balancing bids in their system — what matters is what the rest of the room would use in this situation. Many would be surprised that North could bid a take-out double, which would push his partner into a 3-level bid vulnerable, on seven working HCP.

The Yellow Book says the following:

Where 'unauthorised information' is conveyed by his partner, a player is required to act as follows:

  • (A) If he believes there is only one action that any reasonable player would take, then he takes it.
  • (B) Otherwise he considers what 'logical alternatives' there are.
  • (C) If one of the 'logical alternatives' is 'demonstrably' suggested (over another) by the 'unauthorised information', then he must avoid that action.

Basically, a player who has received 'unauthorised information' form his partner MUST seek to avoid gaining advantage from it.

Law 16 in the Red Book says:

  • A logical alternative action is one that, among the class of players in question and using the methods of the partnership, would be given serious consideration by a significant proportion of such players, of whom it is judged some might select it.
  • After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call or play, as for example by a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected — i.e. in relation to the basis of his action — alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, or mannerism, the partner may not choose from among logical alternatives one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information.

Many in Claygate Club would give serious consideration to passing, rather than doubling, in North's seat. South's hesitation suggests that a double by North might be feasible. North should have sought to avoid gaining advantage from South's hesitation, and therefore he should have passed.

The irregularity on this hand occurs at the point at which North doubles. Although some of E-W's earlier bidding is questionable, as the non-offending side, it does not commit any serious error after the irregularity, so Law 12C1(b) does not apply:

  • If, subsequent to the irregularity, the non-offending side has contributed to its own damage by a serious error (unrelated to the infraction) or by wild or gambling action it does not receive relief in the adjustment for such part of the damage as is self-inflicted.The offending side should be awarded the score that it would have been allotted as the consequence of its infraction only.

Judgement

Nigel and I gave an adjusted score: N-S 40%, E-W 60%.

Post-event Analysis

Summarising Nigel's second thoughts the day after:

  • The double should not be allowed.
  • E-W may be guilty of wild or gambling behaviour in their strange bidding. They should not have been rescued from their bad score.
  • In retrospect, the hand should have been scored as 2♠ + the average number of overtricks — i.e. 2♠ + 3 = 200.
Indignation after 1NT is doubled

In a busy evening for the director, this was the hand that most frequently caused problems for partnerships wherever it landed. Below I discuss the hand at two tables. On the evening, at both tables, I let both scores stand as played. South made either 9 or 10 tricks in spades. But what should I have done? I did not ask to examine any of the pairs' System Cards, but my belief is that no pair had a System Card readily available to their opponents which described how the pair had agreed to handle this situation. In neither case was I confident that I knew what the result would have been, had the infraction not occurred.

1NTdoubled27-oct-14_zps495d3a3d.png

Case 12: Indignation after 1NT is doubled

Circumstances

At one table, for example, the auction went as follows:

The Auction
S
W
N
E
No
1NT 1
Dbl 2
2♣ 3
2♠ 4
No
No
No
Notes:
  1. Announced as 12-14.
  2. Showing at least 15 points, preferably 16+. For penalties.
  3. Announced by West as Stayman. East asserted, after the hand had been played, that her bidwas indeed Stayman, even though she had no four-card major.
  4. Messing it up for N-S, who can maximise their score by doubling whatever contract E-W land in. The key points for South to observe is the vulnerability and the fact that, with her 7 points, N-S have the bulk of the points. Even if E-W find a heart fit, it will be kept to the 2 level; so if South really wants to punt 2♠, she will be able to bid it when the auction comes back to her.

Analysis

West's explanation of her partner's 2♣ bid as 'Stayman' is clearly mistaken, whatever East claimed afterwards. Law 21B1b says that:

  • The Director is to presume Mistaken Explanation rather than Mistaken Call in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

I had no strong evidence that South would have bid differently, had West provided the correct explanation for her partner's bid. My judgement is that, rightly or wrongly, South was concerned that E-W were taking the auction away from N-S, and that her partner needed a pointer to South's clearly best suit. South was in an excellent position to extract a good penalty so it was the bid of 2♠ which was the cause of N-S's poor score rather than the 2♣ bid. Therefore N-S had not been damaged by West's Mistaken Explanation, and the score achieved should stand.

Case 11: More Indignation after 1NT is doubled

Circumstances

At another table, E-W were playing an unalerted Forcing Pass convention:

Another Auction
S
W
N
E
No
1NT 1
Dbl 2
Pass 3
2♠ 4
No
No
No
Notes:
  1. Announced as 12-14.
  2. For penalties.
  3. A forcing pass, which West failed to alert.
  4. Again messing it up for N-S, who can maximise their score by doubling whatever contract E-W end up in. Afterwards North argued that South would not have bid here if she had known that East's pass was forcing on West to bid. My view is that it is poor bidding by South to do anything but pass here when she knows N-S have at least 22 HCP between them.

Analysis

Law 20F5a says that:

  • ‘Mistaken explanation’ here includes failure to alert.

In the second auction, I remain unconvinced by North's claim: that South would have passed, had she known East's pass was forcing on West to bid. North implies that South believed she was making a 'rescue bid' with her 2♣ because of the probability, in her mind, that 1NT doubled would make. Had she known East's pass was forcing, she would have needed to weigh the possibility that E-W would find a fit in ♣,  or  — in which case she would probably still have bid 2♠ after the E-W fit was found — against the possibility that E-W would end up in 2♠, the only contract she could herself double. The possibilities seemed too vast at the time, which was very late in the evening. I felt that North was aggrieved because South had made the wrong bidding decision, and was using the fact that West had not alerted East's forcing pass as justification for requesting an adjusted score.

I think it was safest to let the score achieved stand.

Source: A description of the Forcing Pass convention can be found at http://www.bracknellbridge.com/after1ntdbl.htm

Nigel Barnes's Analysis

This is my synopsis of a different view, provided by Nigel Barnes:

  • If East's pass had been alerted, South should pass.
  • West will then redouble.
  • In response, East will presumably bid 2♣.
  • After this, S will either bid 2♠ or pass.
  • If South passes East's 2♣, North will then either pass or double.

So I would give a weighted average — something like:

  • 50% of 2♠ + 2 = 170 => 50% x 14 match points = 7.0 MP
  • 25% of 2♣ Dbld - 2 = 500 => 25% x 22 match points = 5.5 MP
  • 25% of 2♣ - 2 = 200 => 25% x 17 match points = 4.25 MP

This gives a total of 16.75 MP.

This is messy, perhaps better to give N-S/E-W 60/40% on the basis that N-S have potentially been damaged, but the damage is difficult to assess without spending the next 30 minutes polling the experienced players in the room.

An Insufficient Bid: should there be any Lead Penalties?

Circumstances

It was a chaotic evening, for which I arrived ill-prepared. Sixteen-and-a-half tables' worth of noisy bridge players seemed likely to break all recent records for both numbers and volume levels. Both incidents to which I was called involved insufficient bids — a common situation which nevertheless I hadn't previously faced. I did not acquit myself well, but did I eventually come up with the correct ruling? This is the second incident:

clay20140901-1_zpsaaa92ee0.png

The auction went something like this:

The Auction
N
E
S
W
1
2♣
2♠
No
3
3♣
 
 

Analysis

East's 3♣ is an insufficient bid. The first step in rectifying the problem comes from Law 27A1:

  • Any insufficient bid may be accepted (treated as legal) at the option of offender’s LHO.

In this case, South would not accept East's 3♣. Law 27B1 states the next step:

  • If an insufficient bid in rotation is not accepted it must be corrected by the substitution of a legal call.

East chose to pass instead. Law 27B2 spells out the implications for West:

  • ...if the insufficient bid is corrected by a sufficient bid or by a pass, the offender’s partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call.

South then bid 3NT, with everyone then passing. So West was on lead, but were there any restrictions on her opening lead? Law 27B2 continues:

  • The lead restrictions in Law 26 may apply.

Law 26 specifies that:

  • When an offending player’s call is withdrawn, and he chooses a different final call for that turn, then if he becomes a defender ... if the withdrawn call related solely to a specified suit, and if the suit was specified in the legal auction by the same player, there is no lead restriction.

Judgement

There are a lot of 'If's in that Law, but I took it to mean that because the insufficient 3♣ bid which East withdrew specified the same suit — i.e. clubs — as East had already bid (in her 2♣ overcall), there were no lead restrictions on West.

An Established Revoke which made no difference to the tricks won

Circumstances

I was called to the table at the end of the hand. As far as I could tell, everyone was agreed as to what had happened: in the course of enjoying dummy's long diamonds in a 3NT contract, declarer had played a small black card when he still had a small diamond left.

Analysis

Law 64A2 is clear on this matter: When a revoke is established ... and the trick on which the revoke occurred was not won by the offending player then, if the offending side won that or any subsequent trick, after play ends one trick is transferred to the non-offending side. (A trick won in dummy is not won by declarer for the purposes of this Law.)

Judgement

N-S must deduct one trick from their total, because the trick on which the revoke occurred was won by dummy.

Folly at the Foley after a Hesitation
Folly at the Foley after a Hesitation

Circumstances
After a quiet morning session, players began to step up their director-calling rate following the lunchtime break. I was called to a table where East believed that South should not have bid after his partner had hesitated for some time before passing.
With West as dealer on hand #32, the bidding had gone:
(1NT) : Pass : (2♥)1 : 3♥
(3♠) : Pass2 : (Pass) : 4♥
End


Notes:

1. Transfer to spades.

2. After a long think.

Analysis
This is much the most complex judgement ruling I have been required to make in my short career as director. It was not helped by the aggressive nature of East, who had called me in the first place. He had 1 HCP, and knowing that his partner had at most 14 HCP for her 1NT bid, he knew that N-S should have game on.

Everyone agreed that North hesitated — "I need time to think," she said once I had been called — and it was unfortunate with her 11 HCP that she had not doubled or bid 4((Hs}} herself. She must have realised her partner held a strong hand with good hearts for his 3♥ bid. (If he had held a mediocre hand with top heart honours, he could have doubled the 2♥ bid.) N-S were an occasional partnership, and I do not believe they had a sufficient detailed system card which would have described their approach to this situation.


North's think-then-pass behaviour did let her partner infer that she had some values, whereas a pass in tempo, and East's subsequent pass, might have meant that East had up to 10 HCP and therefore that, with West having up to 14 HCP and South having 16 HCP, North had 0 HCP.


Mathematically North could have from 0 to 14 HCP, but her unalerted second round pass suggests fewer than 10 HCP to me.


Law 16A3 says that 'No player may base a call or play on extraneous information — for example an unmistakable hesitation.' This was such a case of extraneous information.


Law 16B2 states that 'When a player considers that an opponent has made such information available and that damage could well result he may announce, that he reserves the right to summon the Director later. The opponents should summon the Director immediately if they dispute the fact that unauthorized information might have been conveyed.' As all the players agreed North had hesitated, there was no need for East to call the director immediately. He could have said he reserved his rights and called me at the end of the hand.


Law 16B1(a) stipulates that: 'After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call ... for example by a remark or unmistakable hesitation ... the partner may not choose, from logical alternatives, one that could have been suggested by the extraneous information.'


Law 16B1(b) defines the term thus: 'A logical alternative action is one that, among the class of players in question and using the methods of the partnership, would be given serious consideration by a significant proportion of such players, of whom it is judged some might select it.'


South has 16 HCP and a 4.5-loser hand. What were his logical alternative actions?

 

  1. Pass. Cautious if partner has 0 HCP, and terrible if he has 8+.
  2. 4♥. The hand is good enough for some club players to open an Acol 2♥. But an Acol 2♥ would not propel himself to 4♥ with no support from partner and no intimation of great weakness in the opponents' hands. The bid could have been suggested by the hesitation.
  3. 4♣. Showing a second suit below 4♥ in case North prefers it. But being able to bid this depends on the same knowledge that the direct 4♥ bid requires. The bid could have been suggested by the hesitation.
  4. Double. Although having a poor single trump, he should expect to make at least 4 tricks in hand, and only needs a 5th for luck to get the contract down. He has a good defensive hand, in other words. Personally I do not believe that South needs any unauthorised information from his partner to make a Double. But the double could have been suggested by the hesitation.

Law 16B3 states that 'When a Director believes that a player who had a logical alternative has chosen an action that could have been suggested by extraneous information, he shall assign an adjusted score if he considers that an infraction of law has resulted in an advantage for the offender.'

Pass seems to be the only action suggested by North's pass alone, unaided by the unauthorised information of the hesitation. 3♠ undoubled makes six tricks for NS +300. I should have awarded NS this score rather than the 420 for 4♥ making.


What followed
The discussion disintegrated due to the time pressure and my lack of firm control caused by inexperience. East threw his cards in, telling me to award NS 4♥ making. I looked at the traveller and saw 4♥ had already been made several times. 4♥ making was entered on the traveller, and I left the table a little shaken.

E-W still came top overall, despite my mistake, and their award of EBU masterpoints was unaffected by my misjudgement.

 

 

The case of the Revoke noticed too late.

Case 8 — the Revoke noticed too late

Circumstances

Over halfway through the evening, I was called to a table where North believed that East had revoked. East disagreed. The main problem was that play had ended, and all the hands had been shuffled and replaced in the board. North claimed she could recall what she and East, at least in the tricks relevant to the revoke, had played.

Analysis

Law 66 rules that if, after a claim of a revoke has been made, a player mixes his cards in such a manner that the Director can no longer ascertain the facts, the Director shall rule in favour of the other side. In this case all four players had mixed their cards — albeit before anyone had claimed a revoke — but preventing me from establishing the facts. The side claiming the revoke should have made their claim before mixing their cards and returning them to the board.

What followed

I decided I was unlikely to get agreement from all the players as to precisely what cards had been played. It would also have been time-consuming, on an evening in which my primary focus was on my time-keeping. I therefore told the players it was too late to dispute what had happened and that the previously agreed number of tricks should stand.


Relevant Laws

  • Law 66D
    • 'If, after a claim of a revoke has been made, a player mixes his cards in such a manner that the Director can no longer ascertain the facts, the Director shall rule in favour of the other side.'
Experiences as a player on a Mr Bridge holiday

Case 7

Circumstances

Declarer called for a heart to be played. Absent-mindedly, dummy played the ♥A when there were at least three lower hearts he could have chosen from. Almost equally absent-mindedly, declarer then played her ♥K on the trick, when she had at least three lower tricks. Realising the error, they then called for the director.

Analysis

Under Law 46B2, when declarer calls for a particular suit in dummy without stating which card, he is deemed to have called for the lowest card in the suit. Therefore dummy pulled out the incorrect card.

Under Law 45D, the card must be withdrawn if attention is drawn before each side has played to the next trick.

Case 6

Circumstances

There were several players on the holiday who would stare intently at their partner when they had played an important card — for example, an attitude signal or suit preference indicator.

There were others who clearly watched for their partner's reaction to particular cards.

Analysis

This is all clearly wrong. 'Extraneous' information is defined in the Laws as not part of the lawful procedures of the game. Under Law 16, 'No player may base a call or play on extraneous information — for example a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, or mannerism. After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call or play — for example by a movement — the partner may not choose, from logical alternatives, one that could have been suggested by the extraneous information. When a Director believes that a player who had a logical alternative has chosen an action that could have been suggested by extraneous information, he shall assign an adjusted score if he considers that an infraction of law has resulted in an advantage for the offender.'

Case 5

Circumstances

Some players on this holiday would routinely move the board to one side of the table immediately after the opening lead had been faced.

Analysis

Under Law 7A, the board has to stay in the centre of the table.

Is it worth getting picky about this? Not if declarer has some health reason — e.g. poor vision — for needing dummy closer to her.

Relevant Laws

  • Law 7A
    • 'When a board is to played, it is placed in the centre of the table until play is completed.'
  • Law 16A3 and 16B1
    • 'No player may base a call or play on extraneous information — for example a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, or mannerism.'
  • Law 16B1(a)
    • 'After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call ... for example by a remark ... the partner may not choose, from logical alternatives, one that could have been suggested by the extraneous information.'
  • Law 16B3
    • 'When a Director believes that a player who had a logical alternative has chosen an action that could have been suggested by extraneous information, he shall assign an adjusted score if he considers that an infraction of law has resulted in an advantage for the offender.
  • Law 45C4(b)
    • 'Until his partner has played a card a player may change an unintended designation if he does so without pause for thought.'
  • Law 45D
    • 'If dummy places in the played position a card that declarer did not name, the card must ve withdrawn if attention is drawn to it before each side has played to the next trick.'
  • Law 46B2
    • 'If declarer designates a suit but not a rank, he is deemed to have called the lowest card of the suit indicated.'
A Quiet Night In: Incidents from 17th February 2014

Case 3

Circumstances

I was called in the middle of the auction, along the lines of (No):No:(No):1, (2♣):2. South had bid 2, and then, after some reflection, said "Oh, I didn't mean to bid that."

Analysis

By her remark, South had made unauthorized, extraneous information available to her partner. North must not base her subsequent bids on that extraneous information. (Laws 16A3 and 16B1)

Nor, under Law 16A3, may the opponents base their subsequent calls and plays on this extraneous information. (Although a non-offending side can use information arising from a withdrawn call or play, under Law 16D1, they cannot use extraneous information from any source, even if it comes from their opponents.)

What followed

After I told South that the bid should stand, West passed, and North said "I was going to bid this anyway" as she laid down her 4 bid, which ended the auction. But they made 12 tricks, as most did, so I don't believe anyone felt particularly hard done by.

South had not revealed the bid that she had wanted to make. North had, in my opinion, not chosen her 4 bid on the basis of her partner's unfortunate remark. So I did not believe the remark had resulted in an advantage for the offending side, and I therefore did not adjust the score under Law 16B3.

Case 4

Circumstances

With about three cards left to play, South, a defender, announced: "Well, they're all good." Declarer East said this announcement had disturbed her train of thought. I was then called.

Analysis

Under Law 68B, no concession had occurred because North had immediately objected to South's concession. The board should have been played out subject to the conditions stipulated by Law 68B2.

Dummy's holding consisted entirely of top cards, but North held the final trump. Everyone was content to have N-S win one trick and E-W win the other two.

Under Law 69A, the board was scored as though the tricks conceded had been lost in play.

Relevant Laws

  • Law 16A3 and 16B1
    • 'No player may base a call or play on extraneous information — for example a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, or mannerism.'
  • Law 16B1(a)
    • 'After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call ... for example by a remark ... the partner may not choose, from logical alternatives, one that could have been suggested by the extraneous information.'
  • Law 16B3
    • 'When a Director believes that a player who had a logical alternative has chosen an action that could have been suggested by extraneous information, he shall assign an adjusted score if he considers that an infraction of law has resulted in an advantage for the offender.'
  • Law 16D1
    • 'When a call or play has been withdrawn as these laws provide for a non-offending side, all information arising from a withdrawn action is authorized.'
  • Law 25A1
    • 'Until his partner makes a call, a player may substitute his intended call for an unintended call but only if he does so, or attempts to do so, without pause for thought.'
  • Law 68B2
    • 'If a defender attempts to concede one or more tricks and his partner immediately objects, no concession has occurred. Unauthorized information may exist, so the Director should be summoned immediately. Play continues. Any card that has been exposed by a defender in these circumstances is not a penalty card but the information may not be used by the partner of the defender who has exposed it.'
  • Law 68D
    • 'After any claim or concession, play ceases. If the claim or concession is agreed, Law 69 applies. No action may be taken pending the Director’s arrival.'
  • Law 69A
    • 'Agreement is established when a contestant assents to an opponent’s claim or concession... The board is scored as though the tricks claimed or conceded had been won or lost in play.'
  • Law 71.2
    • 'A concession must stand, once made, except that the Director shall cancel a concession if a player has conceded a trick that could not be lost by any normal play of the remaining cards.'
Incidents from 13th January 2014

Last night I was called to adjudicate on two similar situations in which declarer had not followed suit. The judgements were quite different, even though in both cases declarer had clearly played their card, and had intended to play that card, and my attention had been sought before any revoke had been established.

Case 1

Circumstances

In the first case, declarer was third to play to a trick. Even though the lead had come from dummy, and declarer had no doubt chosen that lead, when the defender played a card from a different suit -- because she had run out -- declarer decided to follow the defender’s suit rather than dummy’s.

Analysis

This was a revoke, because declarer had failed to follow suit when she could. (Law 61A)

The revoke had not been established (Law 63A1) because the revoke had been noticed before the next trick had commenced.

Law 62A instructs declarer to correct her revoke whenever she becomes aware of it before it is established.

Law 62B2 says that to correct her revoke, declarer simply withdraws the card she played and substitutes a legal card. No further rectification is required.

This ruling may seem a little tough on the defenders, who may have hoped to gain from declarer’s error, but these are the rules. Law 16D1 says that all information arising from a withdrawn action is “authorised” to the non-offenders, so the defence could try to exploit that advantage.

Case 2

Circumstances

In the second case, a defender had led a diamond, and declarer had thought the card was a heart, so pulled out a heart herself and produced it face up before realising the card led was actually a diamond.

Analysis

There was uncertainty at the table as to whether declarer had to play the card. But Law 45C2(a) insists that declarer must play the card if it is held face up nearly touching the table.

This was not a ‘mechanical’ error. Declarer had intended to play the card she chose. It was only after pausing for thought that she wished to withdraw the card she had played. Law 45C4(b) does not allow her to change the card.

This was not a revoke because declarer no longer possessed any of the suit led (diamonds). Law 44D entitled any card in her hand to be played.

So declarer’s card had to be played.

Relevant Laws

  • Law 16D1
    • 'When a call or play has been withdrawn as these laws provide for a non-offending side, all information arising from a withdrawn action is authorized.'
  • Law 44D
    • 'If unable to follow suit, a player may play any card (unless he is subject to restriction after an irregularity committed by his side).'
  • Law 45C2(a)
    • 'Declarer must play a card from his hand if it is held face up, touching or nearly touching the table'
  • Law 45C4(b)
    • 'Until his partner has played a card a player may change an unintended designation if he does so without pause for thought.'
  • Law 61A
    • 'Failure to follow suit in accordance with Law 44 or failure to lead or play, when able, a card or suit required by law or specified by an opponent when exercising an option in rectification of an irregularity, constitutes a revoke.'
  • Law 62A
    • 'A player must correct his revoke if he becomes aware of the irregularity before it becomes established.'
  • Law 62B2
    • 'To correct a revoke the offender withdraws the card he played and substitutes a legal card. A card so withdrawn becomes a major penalty card (Law 50) if it was played from a defender’s unfaced hand. The card may be replaced without further rectification if it was played from declarer’s'
  • Law 63A1
    • 'A revoke becomes established when the offender or his partner leads or plays to the following trick (any such play, legal or illegal, establishes the revoke).'