header                Issue #28               Nov 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.

I was away from my club last week as I was directing the Inter Provincials and Inter Club competitions in Pretoria. An incident occured at my club and Peter Callaghan, who ably assists me in running the Benoni Bridge Club, asked me on Sunday how he should rule.

What happened is that while playing a hand the cards were found to be defective - at trick 10! - one hand had 4 cards left, another had but 2 cards. What to do?

Fortunately it was a part-score. What Peter did was to rule 50%:50% at the time pending my ruling.

How would you rule?

I told Peter that it is incumbent for the players at a table to ensure that they place 13 cards back in their slot after finishing a hand. What sometimes happens is that declarer gets excited near the end and claims, then throws his cards on the table in ecstacy. It is easy now to misboard the hand.

However, the major weight of the penalty must be borne by the players intending to play the hand. They must always count their cards first before inspecting and sorting their hands.

I fined the table who passed the board 1/4 top and the two players who now played it 1/2 top (one had 12 cards; one had 14). Both tables broke the Law:


A. Placement of Board
When a board is to be played it is placed in the centre of the table until play is completed.

B. Removal of Cards from Board

  1. Each player takes a hand from the pocket corresponding to his compass position.
  2. Each player counts his cards face down to be sure he has exactly thirteen; after that, and before making a call, he must inspect the faces of his cards.
  3. During play each player retains possession of his own cards, not permitting them to be mixed with those of any other player. No player shall touch any cards other than his own (but declarer may play dummy’s cards in accordance with Law 45) during or after play except by permission of the Director.

C. Returning Cards to Board
After play has finished, each player should shuffle his original thirteen cards, after which he restores them to the pocket corresponding to his compass position. Thereafter no hand shall be removed from the board unless a member of each side, or the Director, is present.

D. Responsibility for Procedures Any contestant remaining at a table throughout a session is primarily responsible for maintaining proper conditions of play at the table.

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

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