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Director's Page
Director's Notes

Each document starts with an 'easy guide' (hopefully), there then may be some notes on more complex situations which rarely arise.

Calls out of rotation - Quite complex so divided into a preamble relevant to all calls and then seperate documents for each type of call:-
Calls out of Rotation - Read this first.
Calls out of Rotation - 1 Pass
Calls out of Rotation - 2 Bid
Calls out of Rotation - 3 x or xx.
Insufficient bid
Comparable Calls after an Insufficient Bid

Dummy has too few cards

Dummy plays wrong card

Opening Lead out of turn

Defender Leads instead of his partner

Revokes that cannot be corrected

Revokes that can be corrected


Card Played

The Director('s) Bytes

Quitting a trick
You may ask to see the cards played to a trick until you turn your own face down.  A player should not lead to the next trick until all players have turned their cards.  This prevents a player trying to play very speedily and rush the others.

Revokes (and suspected revokes)
Players should not reveal cards of quitted (ie already turned face down) tricks without permission of the Director.  A possible revoke on any but the last trick will not be investigated until after play has concluded.  Never look back through tricks before then.  


Agreeing the Score
After the play all four players should agree on the number of tricks won/lost before any cards are returned to the board.  Be specific; agreeing "1 off" without mentioning the contract leads to difficulty if one side thinks the contract was 2S and the other 3S!

Recapping the auction
You should leave all your bidding cards on the table, even if you have passed throughout, until the opening lead is faced.  This procedure comes from the law which says: 
"Any player may ask for a recap of the auction until they have played their first card".  Unlike the play of the cards the auction is not a feat of memory.

"No Partnership Understanding"
Your partner makes a bid that has never arisen before and in a situation you have never discussed.  An opponent asks..... Reply as above.

At your turn to call or play you may enquire about your opponents' agreements whether they have been alerted or not.

“Le Mort” and his duties

Dummy is required by the Laws to: 

  1. Correct, after the final pass of the auction, any incorrect explanation given by partner
  2. Correct a mistake in a review of the auction
  3. Arrange hand by suits, in order, and with trumps if any on the right
  4. Play the card indicated by declarer without question
  5. Choose a card to play if declarer says “play anything”
  6. Turn the played card face down, but only when trick is complete
  7. Keep his played tricks in an orderly row, pointed correctly to show ownership
  8. Answer questions as to the meanings of partner’s calls
  9. Correct any incorrect explanation he may have given as soon as he becomes aware of it. 


  1. It is possible that this correction will reopen the auction, but only if the DIRECTOR rules that the last opponent to pass may change his call
  2. With bidding boxes this will seldom arise but if I am feeling particular upset by players putting the auction away too soon I will ask for a restatement (NO I wouldn’t really – well not often)  
  3. There is no requirement to place them red/black/red black!!!
  4. This is easy if Declarer says “Queen of Hearts” but what about “play a heart” or some such.  The rules are quite (but not very) simple:
    1. “Play a heart” – play the lowest  DO NOT QUESTION
    2. “Lead the Queen” – choose the same suit as the previous card if possible – DO NOT QUESTION
    3. “Yes” or “Thank You” - Play the lowest card WITHOUT QUESTION
    4. “High” – the highest card
    5. “Win” – the lowest card which will be winning the trick so far
  5. This is the only time the Dummy must choose a card to play BUT either defender can overrule and specify the card to be played if they wish
  6. Dummy must not hesitate in order to try and indicate an error, for example, a revoke by a defender
  7. Can’t think of anything to say about this.
  8. Defender’s are allowed to ask questions throughout the play at their own turn if it may influence their plays.
  9. The masculine pronoun is used here as it only happens to MEN.


There are other things that Dummy MAY do and things which MUST NOT be done but as I it has been suggested (unsuccessfully) that I keep these articles short!!!! I’ll leave it for now   


Changing a Call

Can I change my Call? 

The auction:  1NT    Pass   2D

You suddenly realise 2D wasan error – Can you change it? 

The answer is simple: “itdepends on what your INTENTION was” 

A couple of examples to explain: 

Hand 1:  You have a weak hand with 6 hearts and you suddenly remember you are not playing transfers with this partner and should have bid 2H.

Hand 2: You have 16 points and4/4 in the majors.  You meant to bid 2C Stayman but you pulled the wrong card from the box. 


Hand1:  No matter how quickly you do it you MUST NOT change your bid.  You have made a“thought” mistake.  When you bid 2D that was what you intended to do.  Only a fraction of a second later did you change your mind. 

Hand 2:  This was a “mechanical” mistake and you are allowed to change your call.  Before bidding boxes it was called a “slip of the tongue”.  You can change your call right up to the moment your partner calls (even if your LHO has already called or the auction has ended).  The Laws use the phrase“without pause for thought” – the pause is not limited in time as long as it doesn’t involve a ‘change of mind’. 

Of course you will have CALLED THE DIRECTOR to explain all this!!! (and the bits I have left out for simplicity) 

Quite often it is unclear, even to the person making the call, what has caused the error – “How did that happen??”  If there is any disagreement or uncertainty amongst the players then the Director will need to form an opinion on any facts he can ascertain; make a ruling deciding whether the bid can be changed or not; and tell a damaged party they have a right to appeal his/her decision.

What are the penalties for changing a call you shouldn't?    You'll have to wait for the next installment.





Don't Get Bullied at Bridge

If you are a less experienced player you can sometimes feel that your opponents take control of proceedings: they play too fast and make you rush; they make a claim that you are not sure of; or at the end of the hand state the result and put their hands back in the board almost simultaneously without giving you a chance to agree. 

What can you do? 

It is no player’s right todictate the speed of play – everybody should have time to think.  If you are being rushed, delay turning yourcard over – if your opponents start to lead to the next trick ask to see thecards again. 

A claim must be detailed andexplained clearly – do not accept a claim you can’t ‘see’.  If you do not agree with a claim don’t getinto a discussion with your opponents - CALL THE DIRECTOR. 

At the end of the hand, thelaws say “the number of tricks won and lost should be agreed”.  Do not disturb the order of your played cardsuntil agreement has been reached (We all tend to rush this bit on occasions).  If you don’t agree you can compare theorientation of the cards trick by trick. You can’t do this if the cards have been put back!!!  If you cannot agree CALL THE DIRECTOR 

Declarer leads out of turn
Declarer leads a card from his hand when the lead is dummy.  Dummy pipes up "wrong hand". declarer puts the card back and leads from dummy.  Everybody agrees there is no penalty and play continues.

Declarer leads from hand and dummy keeps quiet.  A defender says "wrong hand".  Declarer then waits for a defender to accept or reject the lead.  If the lead is accepted play continues, if it is rejected the card is replaced without penalty and play continues.

1) After the incorrect lead defenders can choose to accept the lead if it might be to their advantage (I often accept an out of turn Ace lead as it is better than declarer leading up to it from dummy)

2) Dummy should not draw attention to the lead out of turn - he can try to prevent it but after it is made should keep quiet.
Getting Less Tricks Than You Claim
I was dummy a few weeks ago when the following occurred:
After 11 tricks LHO (left hand opponent) says "They're both yours" conceding the remaining two tricks.  After any claim play would normally cease - however RHO immediately objected as he is allowed to do.  In this case alone play continues.

LHO now realised that what he led mattered and chose the card which gave his partner 1 trick.
At the end of play it was my turn to object.  I argued that without his partner's intervention (giving unauthorised informatuion) LHO was just as likely to lead the other card; in which case declarer would win both tricks.  Our opponents correctly agreed and allowed us to win both tricks - If there had been a disagreement then the Director would have needed to adjudicate.

Absolutely strictly we should have called the Director but as both partnerships were experienced and were aware of their rights and agreed on the decision we didn't.
Getting More Tricks than you Claim

After 11 tricks declarer holds AJ of trumps and thinks an opponent holds Kx, and claims 1 trick (and hence concedes the other). The surprised silence leads declarer to think something is not quite right and tries to retract claim.  Can this be done??

Simply the answer is NO - However when it turns out that there is only the trump King left out the Director can cancel the concession (Law 71) IF the trick could not be lost by any 'normal' play of the cards.

I would rule that it would not be NORMAL for declarer to lead the J to trick 12 (losing to singleton K) and therefore I would allow declarer to make both the last tricks.

It isn't always quite that simple

Using the STOP card

The bit everybody knows:
When you make a jump bid display the stop card before your bid.

The bits some people know:
You should keep the STOP card displayed for between 5 and 10 seconds
If your partner uses the STOP card wrongly (he STOPS a non-jump bid or doesn't STOP a jump bid you must take no notice.
Opponents may call the attention of the Director if this is likely to or does cause damage to them.

The bits nobody seems to know:
After a STOP bid you MUST delay your next call for at least 5 seconds (or until the STOP card is removed if this is longer)
If your partner misuses the STOP card, as above, certain calls by you may be ILLEGAL - you do not have free choice.  Example:
1 Spade - STOP 2 Spades - ?
Opener should pass 2 Spades unless he has a strong hand that would always proceed after the weak raise.  With, say, a balanced 16 points, he will have to pass.

Your Rights During the Auction

If your opponents:

  • make an insufficient bid: the next player has a right to accept or reject it;
  • call out of turn: the next player has a right to accept or reject it;
  • correct an explanation (or Alert) they have given: you may change your last call if your partner has not subsequently called.

If you:

  • pull out the wrong bidding card accidentally (NOT if you change your mind) you may change it without penalty until your partner has called;
  • pull out the STOP card and then change your mind: you may retract the STOP card without penalty and make any call you wish.
    NB in this case your partner is in receipt of Unauthorised Informatiuon (UI) and must not act on what he has seen or infer anything from it.

When Alerting Goes Wrong

After your 2D (Benji - Strong usually 23+ points) you hear your partner bid 3D.  What would you bid?  After the positive response you should be aiming for a slam (6D or 6NT both seem likely contracts).  You might agree raise diamonds or take a Blackwood 4NT route.

HOWEVER when you bid 2D your partner (not for much longer) announces WEAK!!!  What should you do?
Firstly you must not draw attention to your partner's error in any way during the auction.
Secondly you must pretend you never heard his misdescription and assume he has understood your bid.  Alerts and Announcements are to help your opponents you must not be influenced by them in any way.
Thirdly when he bids 3D you know he has just made a pre-emptive raise of what he thinks is your weak opening - might only be 5 or 6 points with 3 diamonds (Click show all hands).  BUT you must bid on assuming it is a positive response showing a good diamond suit. 

The bid that will most likely get you out of trouble is 3NT - but it would be illegal to make it.  You must bid towards a slam regardless of whether it will be a disaster or not. 
MORAL If you play conventions and you forget them then you must expect the occasional bottom - you can't have it both ways.

You do have a duty to tell your opponents of the mistake.  The right time for this is the end of the auction (if you are declaring) or the end of play (if you are defending).

If this happens to your opponents (or if they use or fail to use a STOP card incorrectly) then you are within your rights to call the Director who can review the legality of their auction at the end of the hand and could adjust the score of the board in your favour if you have been damaged. 

John Whitelock