header                Issue #10              9 April 2015

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 for any infringement, however minor -   do not take the law into your own hands.

The Clarification Period

Query by Cathy Saville, Benoni My reply

Hi Sid,

Thanks for always sending me articles on the Laws on bridge, I really appreciate it.

However….. would you mind sending me the Law that you and Elwynne tried to explain to me re: when asking 4NT and the answer is (eg.) 5S…. and when the bidding is over, that before a card is lead WE have to give an explanation on 5S. I have never had that before.

Hi Cathy

The spirit of the game is based on the maxim “no secrets from the opponents”. The SABF, in trying to make the bidding proceed smoothly without hiccups, have said that cue bids and blackwood responses not be alerted over 3NT (splinters are alerted). So the question becomes “when are the opponents informed as to the meanings of those bids?” Answer – after the auction but before the initial lead. WBF have coined a new term for this period: “the clarification period”. The new laws:


A. End of Auction

The auction ends when:

  1. all four players pass (but see Law 25). The hands are returned to the board without play. There shall not be a redeal.
  2. one or more players having bid, there are three consecutive passes in rotation subsequent to the last bid. The last bid becomes the contract (but see Law 19D).

B. End of Auction Period

  1. The auction period ends when, subsequent to the end of the auction as in A2, either defender faces an opening lead. (If the lead is out of turn then see Law 54). The interval between the end of the auction and the end of the auction period is designated the Clarification Period.
  2. If no player bids (see A1) the auction period ends when all four hands have been returned to the board.

The onus is on you to explain all the bids   and not to wait for them to ask.


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


Sid Ismail
National Director

9 April 2015

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