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This is the second in an occasional series where I will look at certain Laws based on incidents at the OBC, sometimes observed by me or otherwise reported to me. The series is intended to help players improve their understanding of the Laws.
You are sitting East, declarer is South and has just won a trick in his hand. Declarer calls for a card to be played from Dummy, Dummy says “you are in your hand”, so Declarer leads a card from his hand and everyone plays on. What has just happened?
Perhaps not a lot but perhaps quite a lot. Under the Laws of Bridge, there have been three infractions and you have given up potentially valuable rights. Declarer has led from the wrong hand (Law 55), Dummy has drawn attention to an infraction (Law 43) and the Director has not been called immediately upon an infraction being identified (Law 9). In reality, none of these infractions are too serious by themselves provided everyone at the table understands what is going on. The key issue, however, is that either defender can accept the lead from the wrong hand (Laws 53 and 55) and if the defenders choose differently, the defender who is next to play after the incorrect lead (i.e. you in this case) chooses what happens. Often it makes no difference but there are occasions where it can have a material impact on the final result.
Martin Illingworth, Chief TD
This is the first in an occasional series where I will look at certain Laws based on incidents at the OBC, sometimes observed by me or otherwise reported to me. The series is intended to help players improve their understanding of the Laws.
Laws 42 and 43 cover what Dummy can and cannot do. Basically, Dummy cannot do very much. Dummy may keep count of the tricks; Dummy plays cards as directed by the Declarer and makes sure that the dummy hand follows suit. Dummy may ask a Declarer, but not a Defender, whether they have no more in a suit once they have not followed suit. Dummy must not participate in the play in any way and must not look at cards in anyone else’s hand.
Importantly, Dummy may try to prevent an irregularity but may not call attention to an irregularity during play; Dummy must wait until the hand has been played before calling attention to an irregularity. So, if Declarer looks to be about to lead from the wrong hand, Dummy can advise Declarer where the lead is. However, if the lead is in Declarer’s hand but Declarer asks for a card from the dummy hand, Dummy should just play the designated card from dummy and do absolutely nothing else. I am sure most of us have broken this Law at some time (I certainly have): it is a natural reaction to say something, but that is the wrong thing to do. More on a related topic next time.
Martin Illingworth, Chief TD