header                Issue #25               August 2016

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.

Two recent rulings

1. Too strong for a preeempt? 2. Hesitation, then PASS

Exhibit 1 comes from the 3rd session of Pairs in the recent KZN Mini-Congress where I directed.

The hand-

After South passed as dealer West opened 3 and eventually they reached 5 by East. This made on the nose.   "DIRECTOR!" South called.

I hurried over and South complained that West was too strong to open 3. West looked up baffled saying that she had all the requirements for a preempt - a 7-card suit and a non-opener.

My ruling

"We need to understand that different players play differently - they do not have to follow strict rules on what to open. There is nothing in the laws that prevents the player from opening 1, 3 or even 4 for that matter as a tactful 3rd-seat opener. We need to be tolerant for variances in bidding style. There was no infraction, no mistaken explanation, and there was absolutely no damage done to N-S here, since you were not in the bidding at all."

I concluded "Result stands, and a congratulatory well done would be in order."

This hand arose in the Hillbrow Teams night of Monday past. Unusually, it is also hand 19!

The bidding went:

West    North    East    South

 1D      Pass    1H      2S
..Pass    3S     4C      Pass

 4H      All Pass

4H made and then the TD was called and the complaint was that West huddled a long time before passing after the 2 bid. East should therefore pass and not take advantage of the hesitation. The TD consulted with me and...

We had to consider whether East had her bid or was she influenced by the BIT (Break in Tempo). Consider the bidding - Once West opened 1 East's hand has improved considerably. With 2   reasonable 5-card suits and moderate support for partner's diamonds, we thought East was justified in bidding 4 still looking for a game in 3 denominations. Pass was just not an option, so the hesitation didn't affect East's action.


The contract of 4 stands and the score of 620 is to be the result.

Looking at the makeables afterwards, we realised that 4 could have been beaten and N-S inflicted the damage to themselves.

HINT: If partner hesitates then bids or passes, you must bend over backwards not to take advantage of any unauthorised information. If PASS is a logical alternative for you, then you should ethically PASS.

Interested in becoming a Tournament Director?     Contact me please.

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


Sid Ismail
National Director

August 2016

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