header                Issue #14               September 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.

Defender plays before dummy

Query from Robert Stephens,
My reply

Hi Sid

If South leads a card towards KTxx and supposedly calls for the King, but East heard "Ten", and plays the Queen before dummy had pulled the card (K according to declarer), how would you rule the situation?

The suit was Axx opp KTxx, with Jx opp Qxxx in defenders' hands.


Hi Rob

What did West hear? If West heard king, then we have no problem.

In these situations where each player hears a differing card, then I will rule in favour of declarer, i.e. king played.

East should not play prematurely, unless he is claiming.

The only time East can change his card is when dummy plays a wrong card (to the one nominated) and declarer retracts the wrong card and replaces it with the one he nominated (with no penalty card). Dummy is human and can hear incorrectly. (Law 45.5.D)

We played in a Costa del Sol tournament and dummy had K-J-9-6-4 and I was East, behind dummy, with A-Q-10-2 and declarer played a small one towards dummy and called for the king. I pounced on it with the ace and was about to play the next card, when I saw that dummy pulled and played the 4. Of course I objected saying that I distinctly heard declarer calling for the king. “Not so,” declarer explained to the TD who arrived in a flash, “I said pekinho” – in spanish that means “small one”. My ace was deemed to be played.   The kin in pekinho is all that I heard.

Hope that helps.


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


Sid Ismail
National Director

3 September 2015

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