Some of the key points.
Dummy is well named, if you are dummy you are the servant of declarer and can do very little on your own behalf. Many people do not realise this.
Dummy must not play a card until it is called for by declarer. Yes the opening lead is a Club and you have a singleton, it doesn't matter, lay the card with the other 12 and wait for declarer to ask for it. Don't hover, the best place for your hands between plays is your lap. Partner is running a long suit from dummy in No Trumps, wait till they call for a card rather than assume they will keep playing the suit. Partner will soon get used to asking for the card they want.
Dummy cannot draw attention to an error by opponents in the play at the time the error is made. You spot a revoke or a lead from the wrong defender, tough you are dummy, its your partner playing the hand. You can only draw attention to the infringement after the hand is finished. If Dummy does point out an alleged infringement by opponents during the play then any penalty that would have occurred is cancelled so don't do it! You aren't being mean in keeping quiet till the end of the hand, you are being dummy!
If declarer calls for a card from dummy but the lead is from their hand that's tough too, you have to play it. You CAN try to stop an error, but you need to act fast, once the card has been called for it is effectively played. Hard isn't it, you want to say “it's from your hand partner” but you aren't allowed to. Think of it this way, partner is just asking you to move the card they have selected out of dummy for them. They are perfectly entitled to do this themselves, though if they went to play from dummy you CAN stop them if the lead was from their hand but you must do so before they select a card.
There are a few cards left and none of dummy's cards are significant, partner calls you to play “any”. Now it's up to the defenders to decide what card you can play, you simply aren't allowed to decide at all. You aren't allowed to play the cards, even when it is clear to all the cards don't matter.
What CAN you do? Well you CAN stop partner from making a mistake if you are quick enough. The lead is in dummy and partner starts to pick a card from her hand. You can say “The lead is from dummy partner” and as long as partners card hasn't been played you are OK. Best NOT to indicate dummy with your hand as this could be interpreted as indicating a card or a suit to play. This has happened to me, and I try hard to keep my hands in my lap these days.
Opponents lead a diamond and declarer ruffs. You CAN immediately ask if partner has no diamonds and so potentially prevent a revoke.
You CAN point out a trick has been set incorrectly immediately after the trick has been played, but not later during the play until the end of the whole hand.
If declarer has given a mistaken explanation as to the meaning of a conventional bid during the auction Dummy MUST call the TD and give the correct explanation as to the meaning of the bid after the lead has been tabled but before it has been turned over. The TD will then decide if any adjustment to the score is required. Note that the same does NOT apply to defenders, as calling the TD to say partner has made a mistake would constitute unauthorised information to partner. (Defenders can't point out partners mistake until AFTER the play and then if the declarer feels the mistake has damaged them in the way they played the hand and negatively affected their score then they can call the TD who will then rule if any adjustment has to take place.)
This is not an exhaustive list but covers the most common situations and if you understand and comply with these rules it will make you a more pleasant and knowledgeable player. If you play at other clubs then you will be a good ambassador for the Deva.
Have we missed something you think significant? If so then please mail me and we will include it in updates. Similarly if you have personal bugbears and would like to see an article on them please let us know.
Other topics planned to be covered at some stage in the future: Hesitations, Alerting, Being a good opponent (not so much about the rules, just how you can make the bridge experience a pleasure for all)
Document prepared by P Waring
Checked and Approved by J Stelfox