header                Issue #11              17 May 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.

Misinformation / Wrong Explanation

Incident at the recent Nationals Ruling and Appeal

On the very last day this incident occurred in the finals of the Congress section of the Barometer Pairs.

3C was alerted as Ghestem and South explained it as "hearts and another, possibly diamonds." On the appeal form she admitted that she was having "a senior moment," and it must be pointed out that N-S are an established pair and participated in the recent trials to select the Women team to represent South Africa.

North (dummy) did not explain that 3 meant the majors during the clarification period, thus running foul of Laws 20F4 and 20F5:

4. If a player subsequently realizes that his own explanation was erroneous or incomplete he must call the Director immediately. The Director applies Law 21B or Law 40B4*.

5. (a) A player whose partner has given a mistaken explanation may not correct the error during the auction, nor may he indicate in any manner that a mistake has been made. 'Mistaken explanation' here includes failure to alert or announce as regulations require or an alert (or an announcement) that regulations do not require. (b) The player must call the Director and inform his opponents that, in his opinion, his partner's explanation was erroneous (see Law 75) but only at his first legal opportunity, which is
(i) for a defender, at the end of the play. (ii) for declarer or dummy, after the final pass of the auction.

4 made on the nose. E-W felt that they were done in and called for a TD. I went over to the table, and E-W contended that if they had the right information - that 3 was for the majors, East would have a 3 cue bid available to show 11+ and club support. Now West would have an easy time bidding 5 over 4. As it was, the confusion about what 3 meant prejudiced E-W in that a double was the best bid now, but was not as specific about club support.

I consulted my co-TDs and we all agreed that there was damage as a result of the wrong explanation and we wanted to adjust to 5+1 except for the fact that trumps were breaking 4-1.   We ruled that the result be altered to 5= instead.
N-S appealed, paying the R250 fee which would be forfeited if the appeal was frivolous.

Some background:   There were at least 2 misinformation TD calls per day, and the majority of them applied to the Ghestem convention. As TDs, we became strict and penalized these instances where there was damage in the bidding or/and play. Partnerships were warned that if there was one other case of a Ghestem misinformation, they would be barred from playing Ghestem. We were positively sick of it.

The Appeal

Because of the timing (they had to catch the flight to C.T. soon) an Appeals Committee was quickly formed. This comprised of Peta Balderson (chair), Jenny Gautshi and Di Adrain.

The facts were explained, the appeal form handed over to them, and they deliberated. E-W were absent. The appeal took but 10 minutes of deliberation.

Appeal Committee Ruling:   The ruling by the TD was upheld, score of 5= is correct and North was advised accordingly by the AC. The deposit was returned.

Later, North apologised to the TD for "losing her cool" at the time the decision was relayed.

*Law21B3 (Misinformation): 3. When it is too late to change a call and the Director judges that the offending side gained an advantage from the irregularity he awards an adjusted score.

*Law 40B4: 4. A side that is damaged as a consequence of its opponents' failure to provide disclosure of the meaning of a call or play as these laws require, is entitled to rectification through the award of an adjusted score.


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


Sid Ismail
National Director

17 May 2015

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