header    Launch date:  August 2014            Issue #1

These pages are an attempt to inform bridge players of  the laws governing our game.  In particular, we will be looking at everyday situations where the TD is called.  These pages will be updated each month, so please come again!  

Always call the TD- do not take the law into your own hands.  However small an infringement is, always get the TD present before proceeding.  A typical situation: Your partner opens 1Hand you respond 1S.  Then you are informed that your bid is insufficient since your RHO has overcalled 2C, which you didn't see.  Do you automatically correct to 2S?  The correct procedure is to call the TD instantly.  He will give you various options and may even give you a chance to make a negative double!  Yes, this is allowed now - the Laws have changed somewhat in the last update.

Much of what will appear on these pages are actual events that took place.  This one happened while I was playing in the JBC Mixed Pairs recently -

The bidding proceeded at Love All:   2H -  (2S)  -  4H -  (4S)      The  4H bid was preceded by a STOP card, but  4S was bid immediately.   I reserved my rights (they agreed that there was no pause before the 4S bid) and, since the contract went -1 with our heart game also going -1, we let it go.   Why reserve our rights?   If we went 5H and the original spade-caller goes 5-level we would have had a case - that the quick 4S bid - out of tempo - affected his final decision.

Imagine these scenarios:   You open a preemptive 3H and the next bidder passes immediately;  scenario 2:  next bidder takes forever then passes.  See the problem?  The quick passer has shown a weak hand whereas even the passing waiter knows that the second bidder has values.  Thus the introduction of the STOP card.  Craig Gower mentions that it should be called PAUSE not STOP.  I agree.

The STOP card is used when you are making a jump bid, and   tells the next bidder   to hesitate 10 seconds before making a bid -even when the player has a yarborough- and in this way no extraneous information is passed.  GBU clubs are OK with a 5-6 second delay, but delay is a must.  Conversely, the mandatory delay is made even when you want to make a clearcut  bid - a quick bid also gives UI (unauthorized info).  

Law 16A states:
1. A player may use information in the auction or play if:   (a) it derives from the legal calls and plays of the current board (including illegal calls and plays that are accepted) and is unaffected by unauthorized information from another source;

Lesson:  A quick pass (or a quick bid) after a jump bid on your  right gives UI and runs foul of Law 16.

Note:  STOP cards are generally used only when the opponents are in the auction.  If you went 4NT keycard and get a response of 5D you do not have to STOP when jumping to your 6S slam.
In the next issue we will look at a different everyday situation where the TD is called for a ruling.

Please feel free to write in regarding the bridge laws - to   webmaster [at] gbu.co.za

Ciao for now,

Sid Ismail
National Director


All the Laws of Bridge
(SABF Website)