We have picked up (or not corrected) a number of bad habits. So, since this is the season of New Resolutions, it seems a good time to remind ourselves about these.
You must not hover over the bidding box whilst you decide what to bid, much less touch one card before selecting another. This is conveying information to partner. Keep your hand well away until you have decided, then extract the bid card decisively.
You must alert promptly any bid from partner which has a meaning or inference which may not be known to your opponents. This applies even if you have written the meanings down on a Convention card and/or announced it orally beforehand. (But do not alert any bid above 3NT unless it occurs on the first round of bidding.)
Statements which you may have read to the effect that certain bids need not be alerted assume that fully completed Convention Cards have been prepared, exchanged and read before the start of play, which is never the case at our Club nights. We are all required to follow the spirit of Alerting as well as the letter of the Law.
When an alert is made, the next opposition player need not ask for an explanation, and should not do so if it has no bearing on what they might bid. The other opposition player may not ask for an explanation at this point, or amplify any question which her/his partner has asked. S/he may ask for (further) explanation when it is her/his own turn to bid.
The player on lead to the first trick may ask for a recap of the sequence and meaning of the bids, but her/his partner may not say or ask anything about the auction until the first lead has been placed face-down on the table.
If you are on lead, do not write down the contract before selecting your card and placing it face down on the table. That wastes time for everyone (and stresses the TD!). If you are the partner of the player on lead, do not be so busy writing in your own card that you do not see and approve the opening lead promptly.
Dummy must not indicate in any way the card that is to be played to this or the next trick. You may know that the insignificant-looking Diamond 6 is a winner, but declarer may not have been counting!
Speed of Play
Many hands are still being played unnecessarily slowly, which is discourteous to everyone else. A few critical hands may warrant more than 7 minutes, but most don’t. And if you know or suspect that you are behind the clock, please forego inspection and discussion of the traveller.
If we can improve our overall speed we get home earlier, or can sometimes embark on movements which allow us to play two or three extra Boards in the evening.
11 January 2018