Laws of Duplicate Bridge

No not the little yellow Book. I was just wondering, between the three of us!, whether anyone has produced a shortened version solely for the New Bridge player?

The reason why I bring this up is because we have played in a several clubs recently and find that some of the most basic Laws and regulations are not understood by many players. For instance we have had an opening 2 Club bid "announced as ""20 to 22""; My partner has been told to remove the stop card even though 10 seconds have not elapsed; a pass card played before the stop card has been removed; a defender has held their card face down after their partner has led but before a card has been played from dummy; bidding cards removed from the table even though the lead card has not been placed face down on the table and searching looks as to why the lead has not been made! Obviously there are the usual unauthorised information exchanges during the bidding and play (we have all three of us seen them). Now I don't mind most of them because they usually give me authorised information which I make full use of. I then get asked "how did you know.....?". I also find that in some cases if you call the director it makes you feel like a "dragon" and upsetting the "local" way of doing things.

So I wondered if there was any way to make a general laws session within teaching so that all students are given the same laws structure with reasons why they are appropriate. I don't mean that we go through the likes of the revoke laws but more the ones that will protect them.

Any thoughts Martin and John? Or any one else that gets lost and finds this thread.

Best wishes



  • I know where your coming from, I dread a Director call who then approaches the table with the yellow book and it certainly puts off new starters.
    I do a short powerpoint presentation to my students (ex students as part of the supervised play) I call it etiquette but includes some of the points you raise, 2 slides. I talk briefly about each point -

    Club Etiquette
    Be polite & friendly
    Be a good "host" or "guest" at the table
    Make bridge enjoyable for yourself, partner and opponents
    Give credit where credit is due
    No arguing or criticism at the table
    Personal grooming
    Mobile phone off
    Enjoy the company as well as the game
    No Bad Behaviour
    The Director is ALWAYS right

    Play Etiquette
    Don't look at others during bidding
    Dummy is silent, only play card when told
    No comments about hand during bid/play
    Avoid looking at other hands
    Smooth bidding, no hovering
    Alert calls to be seen by all
    STOP for 10 seconds
    Leave bids on table until opening lead
    Make no assumptions on hesitations
    Keep in tempo

    Perhaps we can see what response your post gets Chaz and construct our own in the absence of any thing else= unofficially of course!

  • Hi Both,

    There is a simplified law book available from the Bridge Warehouse which has been produced by Mr Bridge. You can see this here:

    John's two lists are very good, but I would add to them that the director should be called whenever there is an irregularity in play of any kind. Getting players used to a director makes calling one feel less "dragon-like" as Chaz put it, and should ensure that the correct ruling is made. There is far too much self-ruling by more experienced players who think they are helping but it would be much better if the proper procedure is followed. The directors are there to help and one of the things we need to do is to encourage more bridge players to understand that.


  • Hi David

    I am aware of the simplified book. However, I was thinking more or less of having a structure within the teaching framework so that all classes are telling the students the same thing with the same reasoning. As I have said I have come across so many new and old students (through no fault of their own) that have no idea about the correct use of the stop card or the time to ask questions about an alerted bid. For the latter I mean many have no idea that they should wait for their turn to bid and then ask. Many have no idea that there is even a paragraph (20F5b) which is most important for them to know and understand. There must be other situations that need to be covered.

    I would add that it also takes a lot of "guts" to call for the director these days. So forget the self ruliing bit for a while and remember many members have no idea whether there has been an irregularity or not. Giving them the education early will help them and the director. This isn't "somebody" elses problem it is ours.


  • Well, I talk about the laws in most lessons at some point, because it is the improvers I teach who are already playing and they raise questions.

    Tomorrow is the first day back after the break and this is down as a recap, laws and game theory, so I will paste in my notes here for the laws part when I have typed them out (as a summary, focusing on a BB@B, calling the director whenever there is an issue and a couple of examples).

  • Sorry, it has been a while since I have had a chance to get on line, I've been that busy.
    Anyway, attached are the notes that I created for handout, covering the rules and ethics.

    This was aimed at my improvers class, most of which play duplicate at our club or regularly get together for rubber bridge.

    Comments welcome :)

  • This is a great discussion and there are some good ideas for the next edition of the Ruffian. Our beginners and new players need to know about the role of the director.

  • Hi Lorna
    I think you may have missed the original thrust of the thread. I was aiming to get something done so that beginners/students have some idea of the laws that directly apply to them and how to protect theselves from either falling into an irregularity or what to do when an irregularity happens at their table. Putting an article into the Ruffian, however good it is at putting over a point, does not guarantee that the article wil be read and understood. Yes they have a lot to learn but these are things that can and should be introduced over the teaching sessions and re-inforced over the supervised play period. It does require a structure and that structure needs to be discussed at National level with teachers and probably Directors as well.

    best wishes

    P.S. does anyone know how to delete unwanted drafts on these pages?

  • Hi Chaz. I agree that some introduction to the rules is a good thing for beginners and reinforcement at supervised play sessions is an ideal way to progress. There are future plans for a student zone on the EBED website with help and resources. I can also pass your comments on the the Education Advisory Group as they would decide on any National strategies.

  • There is a thread about this on the EBU forums - EBU TDs Laws Talk For Players
    There are some good points being made but I would say that most of them include the points made by Martin and John. However, I would add that I think that most of us try to incorporate them into our teaching sessions. I think that more of this needs to go either into the books that we hand out or we need to have a separate pamphlet to hand out to the students near the end of the teaching sessions. Almost like the bidding structure we give them.


  • Lorna
    What do the EAG talk about? What National Strategies? Strategies usually have Objectives and Actions are we allowed to know what is going on?

  • Chaz
    Were you thinking of something like this?

  • Yes, that covers most of what I was thinking about.

    So John, now you have the difficulty of finding the "Education Advisory Group " so they can consider it for the "National strategies"


  • Chaz/Martin/Anyone
    I am sure that this can be improved any amendments/omissions please. I tried to keep it to 2 pages and I know I have duplicated some points.

  • Hi John

    Nice work... just a couple of points:

    1. I would also avoid the term 'penalty' as this can seem like there is a fault - perhaps 'corrections, such as transferring a trick from one side to another so restore equity'?
    2. I know what you are saying with the header, '...avoid calling the director', however, you really want to encourage people to call the director. Maybe call the director if one of the these things happen... a revoke; a faced lead out of turn; bid out of turn, underbid... or anything unusual happens (too many/few cards, impossible scores recorded etc)
    3. maybe a run through of what should happen in a perfect world:
    • Greet the other half of the table and either exchange cards or give a brief explanation of what you do (or just highlight anything unusual for the session, such as 5-card majors etc)
    • Dealer is first to bid or pass
    • each person bids in turn, only taking account of the meaning of bids made by their partner and the partnership agreements (ignore any breaks in tempo, moans, shaking of heads etc and try not to do any of these things yourself)
    • Remember to announce opening 1 and 2NT point ranges, stayman and transfers to hearts or spades.
    • Remember to alert any other conventional bids or unusual meaning bids up to 3NT, or all conventional/unusual bids within the first round of bidding (please see full details on the notice pinned on the board called 'Announcing and Alerting(?) )
    • final contract is agreed, and person on lead confirmed
    • Questions are asked by the person on lead (if any) then the lead card is placed on the table face down
    • partner of the lead asks their questions (if any) - should anything come to light as to the meaning of bids not alerted or incorrect explanations given by the declaring side, call the director now. If there is any incorrect explanations given bay the defending side, the director should be called at the end of the play of the hand.
    • once the lead is faced the biding cards should be returned to their respective boxes and dummy is played out (with trumps on dummy's right)
    • The board should remain on the table and in the correct orientation throughout the play of the hand.
    • give time for the declarer and defense to inspect dummy and to make their plans before playing.
    • Play continues with each person (including dummy) only playing card when it is their time to do so and following suit where possible
    • should any cards be played in the wrong order, revokes played, cards dropped in view of the defenders partner, call teh director.
    • once all tricks have been played, all should agree to the final tally prior to shuffling their cards and placing then in the correct slot in the board. Should there be any disagreement that is not immediately obvious to all and corrected, please call the director for clarification.

    Remember, faster is as important as better - please don't take a long time discussing hands until after the end of that set of boards. Then discuss quietly so as to not advise people at nearby table what you have in which hands and what the best contract is.
    If you are last to finish a round, please quickly shuffle and replace the cards so that the movement can flow more smoothly - now is not the time to complete an autopsy on the bidding and play.

    **At all times follow the instructions of the director. ** Should you feel that a director may have given an incorrect ruling please feel free to question this at the time, though please remember that the director is doing the best they can to give correct rulings and to keep the movement flowing - so should you still feel that this is incorrect, please ask the director for a review at the end of the night and make a note of the board and details of the issue. An appeal is possible following this further review to (committee/head director?) and should be made in writing (email is fine) within 24 hours of the end of the session/publication of the result.

  • Thanks Martin.
    I do have a "run through a hand included in my teaching program" and this looks good.
    In the absence of any other comments amended doc attached. Any other comments let me know

  • Hi john

    Agree most of the list you have made. There are just a few "techincal" points

    Anouncing transfers they should just anounce the suit. So if partner bids 3Diamonds then opener should announce "hearts". See Blue Book 4 E 3.
    I don't think that anyone can refer to their score card for confirmation of the contract. Law 40B 2(d)[yes I know that in a lot of clubs they do].
    Opponents can ask about alerted bids at their turn to bid. It does not require that it affects their bid. However, they should be aware that the end result might be unauthorise information being made availble to partner and if partner acts on that information there could be damage. Law 20 F (1).

    Not sure I could be as comprehensive as you have been, and I have probably missed something as well. That is why I think it is important to get this done Nationally and within the teaching structure.


  • Its amazing what you think you know (or dont know). V3 attached

  • Hi john
    have been busy and as I said before things can/need to be considered.

    "Once placed face down the card cannot be withdrawn." I think we should add "unless instructed by the director after an irregularity." Law 41A.

    "If a player fails to follow suit anyone at the table (usually partner) can ask “Having none?”" That is except dummy asking a defender . Law 42B 1 & Law 61B 2(b)

    not sure about "Players can alert their partners to an incorrect quitted card only until the next trick. Declarer can point out incorrect quitted card at any time." Law 65B 3, this law talks about "a player" it does not distinguish between defender/declarer.

    Not sure about this either "Once Declarer has asked for a card from Dummy, Dummy can only speak if Declarer has called for a card from the wrong suit" Law 46 is what we are looking at and I don't think dummy can ask/say anything except sit there and do nothing, could be wrong.

    I think I would add after "Once placed face down the card cannot be withdrawn." "and the bidding cards can then be returned to the bidding boxes."

    Again it is a complex subject and i admire what you have done but i am sure there are other points to be included. That is why I think this should be dealt with Nationally and through a teaching base.


  • Hi Chaz
    I agree it complex but would add that the EBU/EBED have not done anything so far so this is a starter for students until they do?
    I'll follow up on your points although I am trying to keep it as simple as possible, if I add a lot of if/buts it will be confusing and to long.
    "Not sure about this either "Once Declarer has asked for a card from Dummy, Dummy can only speak if Declarer has called for a card from the wrong suit" Law 46 is what we are looking at and I don't think dummy can ask/say anything except sit there and do nothing, could be wrong." I understood that dummy can draw declarer (anyone?) to a possible infringement, perhaps I can make this clearer by adding "when following suit"

  • Yes john
    I agree with what you have done and know exactly where you are coming from and I applaud your efforts. However, as we have both said that this is something that needs to be taken forward nationally and it is disappointing that no one at EBed /EBU have not taken up the "mantle". It is better that they take it on now rather than later as this is probably something that will never go away. Students need enough to "protect" themseleves and help develop a good understand of how to play the game. It is a very good start and I will copy it out to our students.


  • I have a similar 2-page guide to good etiquette - which I am attaching here. It seems that many of us have similar issues we deal with.

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