Better Basic Bridge: There are rules, and then there are more rules

Nancy Evins • Updated Aug 20, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Beginners to the duplicate world are devastated when the director is called on them. It is a necessity, nothing to be embarrassed by. It’s not a reflection on your character to have a director called to the table when someone leads out of turn or drops a card face up where it can be seen by others.

Leading out of turn has several penalty choices. Declarer can forbid the lead of the suit; let his partner play the hand; insist the right person lead, making the wrong card a card that must be played at the first opportunity.

Declarer can use this in wondrous ways, but I’ve seen some who run a side suit so that the penalty card can be tossed. If the lead out of turn card is an ace, declarer should lead that suit a once, knowing that small cards can force it out without having to give up an honor.

The purpose of those rules is to protect others who will be playing that hand and an error might give another table, where the problem happened, a high board when they shouldn’t get one. And that affects every table there.

I’m impressed with almost all directors who must learn all these laws and can evaluate the situation and come up with the right answers of which there are so many.

If the players don‘t agree with the director’s decision, they may call for a board meeting to plead their case.

Players who feel their opponents have done something more serious can also ask for a hearing.   

Many years ago my fave partner and I were playing in a tournament in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Our female opponent, highly inebriated at the time, made a ridiculous charge against us. 

We had planned to play in the Midnight Swiss with our teammates, but were called to a board meeting where we could defend ourselves.

However, when this lady began to talk, it was so convoluted and illogical that the board dismissed it immediately. Still, it caused us to lose our teammates since they thought we would be so much longer and they got another pair.

I heard later that the nickname for this woman was “the Bowling Green b----.” Of course I never would use that word, but when I heard she was a great seamstress, I did refer to her as that “Sew and Sew.”

Later, at that same tournament, we played with her again, only with a different partner, a huge Arabian man. 

Before we began the play we listened as they discussed their systems.

“Do you play splinters,” he asked. For those of you who don’t – and I don’t either, a splinter bid says you have support for partner’s bid of a major by jumping to a new suit, indicating a void or singleton.

She said she did and opened the hand with one spade. Partner jumped to four hearts, and she passed.

This is the time you never double, since you know they can run to another suit.

Turned out she had three hearts, and he had one. So we drew all their trumps and ran our own suits.


Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]

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