header                Issue #20               March 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.

Undue delays in defending a hand

Break in Tempo

My reply

Query received from Lisa Adamson, Benoni Northerns.   Pairs. This is a query on the play of a hand, and what was considered to be undue delay in play by defenders.

                           N    S  J 10 8 7 5 2
                                H  5
                                D  Q J 2
                                C  A K J
W    S  A 6 3                                        E   S  Q 9 4
     H  A K 10 9 74                                      H   Q 6 3 2
     D  7 5                                              D   9 3
     C  8 5                                              C   10 7 3 2
                           S   S  K
                               H  Q 6 3 2
                               D  A K 10 8 6 4
                               C  Q 9 6

The contract was 4S by North, the lead was H2, won by W with AH, followed by KH ruffed by N (declarer) with 2S. A spade was now led to SK.

West thought for 45 or so seconds and then played S3. C4 from dummy was taken by the CK, and SJ was led. East now thought for about 30 seconds before playing SQ. At this point N reserved her rights, as she felt that undue delays in the play had conveyed unauthorised information (UI) between the defenders.

Lisa ends with: I have read Law 73 carefully, but would like to know what ruling would be given if the Tournament Director had been called to the table. (4S was made 3 times and 5D was made 3 times).

Certainly there was UI but you must always ask “was there damage”?

Whether East plays the queen or small, E-W will always make 2 tricks in trumps. So no damage.

IF WEST STARTED WITH Ax, now there is a case for an adjustment. The queen and ace could crash.

RULING: No penalty, but the defenders must be told emphatically to play in tempo. Else Law16B1a and 73D kick in.

Also read:   Query 3   where also no damage arose.


After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call or play, as for example by a remark, a question, a reply to a question, an unexpected* alert or failure to alert, or by unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, or mannerism, the partner may not choose from among logical alternatives one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information.

Law 73D1:

It is desirable, though not always required, for players to maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner. However, players should be particularly careful when variations may work to the benefit of their side.

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Sid Ismail
National Director

26 March 2016

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