This document is provided
courtesy of the
American Contract Bridge League
2990 Airways Blvd.
Memphis TN 38116–3847
A Club Director’s Guide for Ruling at the Table
Duplicate Decisions (DD)
has been reformatted into a book that an ACBL club director can use in place
of the official Laws
of Duplicate Contract Bridge.
All of the Laws have been written and presented in everyday English to help
club directors understand their meanings. In addition to the table of
contents, an index which refers to the appropriate Law by topic is available
in the back of this book.
DD can be used to make most of the rulings that will come up during a
typical club game. The ideal way to use this publication is to tab the most
common rulings. Occasionally DD will refer the director to the official Laws
book. In those cases, the director will have to do some research before
making a ruling.
Every club director needs to become very familiar with the Laws in order to
make good rulings. It is helpful to highlight the sections of each Law that
are most frequently used in making a ruling pertaining to that Law. DD
is designed to be used in conjunction with
The ACBL Club Directors
Handbook, which was
published in 2003 and developed to assist club directors in running
outstanding club games. The handbook contains all of the information
previously found in the Appendix to DD plus information that will help club
directors make their club games the best games in town.
The new handbook is a source of tips, ACBL regulations, ACBL programs such
as the IN (Intermediate-Newcomer) Program and New Player Services,
movements, ACBLscore, Alerts, Zero Tolerance, etc. Directors will
benefit from reading the "Ruling the Game" column, which is published
monthly in The Bridge
Bulletin. It’s a good way
to learn more about the Laws and how they should be applied.
ACBL’s web site is also a good source of information that
directors will find helpful in running club games.
Good luck! Let ACBL hear from you whenever you need help.
ACBL Director of Education
ACBL Duplicate Decisions - Adobe PDF File
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I — DEFINITIONS
CHAPTER II — PRELIMINARIES
1. The Pack
2. The Duplicate Boards
3. Arrangement of Tables
5. Assignment of Seats
INDEX To Laws
CHAPTER I — DEFINITIONS
An arbitrary score awarded by the Director. See Law 12 for
specific instructions dealing with the assignment of an adjusted
An adjusted score is either artificial or assigned. An artificial
adjusted score is one awarded when no result can be obtained or
estimated — average plus, average minus or average.
An assigned adjusted score is a bridge score awarded to one
side, or to both sides, in place of the result actually obtained after an
An undertaking to win at least a specified number of odd tricks
in a named denomination: e.g.,
etc. (See "Call"
Any bid, double, redouble or pass. There are specifically worded
Laws dealing separately with: calls, bids, passes, doubles and
redoubles. Be sure you read the Laws that apply to your particular
1. A call that, by partnership agreement, conveys a meaning other
than willingness to play in the denomination named (or in the
last denomination named), or high-card strength or length
(three cards or more) there. However, an agreement as to overall
strength does not make a call a convention.
2. Defender’s play that serves to convey a meaning by agreement
rather than by inference.
A term used in the Laws to refer to spades, hearts, diamonds,
clubs or notrump.
A call over an opponent’s bid increasing the scoring value of
fulfilled or defeated contracts. (See Laws 19 and 77.)
Any ace, king, queen, jack or ten. It should be noted that the ten
is an honor card and should be treated as such in the application of
Laws 24 A. & B., Card Exposed or Led During Auction, and Law
50, Disposition of Penalty Card.
A bid that fails to supersede the immediately previous bid.
A deviation from the correct procedures as set forth in the Laws.
A call specifying that a player does not, at that turn, elect to bid,
double or redouble.
See Law 50.
A deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength or suit
length. See the discussion under Law 40.
1. The priority of suits in bidding and cutting. Starting at the
bottom, the suits rank in alphabetical order: clubs, diamonds,
hearts and spades, with notrump next.
2. The trick-taking power of each card within a suit. The ace,
king, queen and jack have priority in that order. The lower
cards rank numerically.
The play of a card of another suit by a player who is able to
follow suit or to comply with a lead penalty. Failure to play any card
to a trick may also constitute a revoke (See Law 67).
The clockwise order in which the deal and the right to call or
An extended period of play during which a number of boards,
specified by the sponsoring organization, is scheduled to be played.
A bid that is either of the same number but of a higher ranking
denomination or of a greater number than the last bid.
A natural bid indicating a desire to play in the denomination
named, but not necessarily at that level. It promises or requests
values in that denomination.
The correct time at which a player may call or play.
CHAPTER II — PRELIMINARIES
No result achieved with a pack of 52 cards is ever to be
considered valid if the pack does not conform to the specification
of this Law. This holds true
even when the discrepancy appears to be
irrelevant, such as there being two 2C’s but no
This Law does not require that
the backs of the cards be the
same, so the Director may not throw
out a result for this reason. If
different backs gave any player unauthorized information, however,
the Director could award an adjusted score using Law 16.
Example: If a player notices the
different backs are all one suit
and is able to get an early count on the hand as a result, the Director
should rule this constitutes unauthorized information.
When the Director is informed that
a pack is missing one or
more cards, he must either locate
the exact cards missing from
that same pack or substitute a new pack. If a card is simply added
to complete the pack, the missing card(s) may reappear, such as by
coming unstuck, thereby creating a pack with too many cards.
The Duplicate Boards
Whenever the dealer and/or vulnerability markings are other than
specified in this Law, the actual markings are to be deemed correct
for that session. In other words, the Director’s ruling is based solely
on the actual "VUL" marking on the board. Either red pockets or
"VUL" lettering, however, is sufficient for the Director to make the
indicated pockets for the board vulnerable. A correctly marked board
should be furnished for the next session.
Arrangement of Tables
It is recommended that the tables be set square to each other to
eliminate as much as possible the chance of hands being visible at
adjoining tables. More tables will fit into the same space by placing
them corner to corner in a diagonal pattern. This latter setup may be
considered for Swiss team events as long as the same match is not
played at adjoining tables, a setup that should be avoided.
For pair events, two players constitute a pair.
newcomer events as noted in the next paragraph, the Director is
prohibited from permitting a three-player pair to participate. The
Director may, however, authorize a substitute in an emergency.
At the discretion of the club or tournament chairman,
pairs may be permitted in newcomer events which are
held for players with less than 20 masterpoints.
earned shall be apportioned among the three players in approximate
ratio to the number of boards each played. For example, a "pair"
consisting of "A", "B" and "C" (all newcomers) finish first in a
10-table Mitchell newcomer game. According to published award
charts, each player of a two-member pair is entitled to 50 club
masterpoints. In this three-member pair, "A", "B" and "C" divide
100 club masterpoints according to the number of boards each
In a Swiss team event, the Director
may permit four, five or six player
teams, but no team may have more than six players.
Board-a-match team events of one
session are limited to four player
teams. Five- or six-player teams may be permitted in multi-session
Assignment of Seats
This Law states that each player or pair is responsible for his
own correct seating assignment each round.
If a player or pair
are at the wrong table or direction for a round, and the Director is
compelled to assign an "artificial adjusted score" as a result, the
player or pair in the wrong place shall be considered the offending
In a pairs event, players normally
make a selection of their
specific compass position. Other than in Howell (one winner)
movements, the Laws require each player to retain the same position
throughout the session. As an example, if a player starts as West,
he should continue as West throughout. In a Howell a player should
pick two compass positions to play —
North and East.
In a Swiss teams event, players
normally choose where they will
sit each match. If a disagreement between teams arises, each team
captain is required to submit his lineup by compass direction and
table to the Director. These are submitted simultaneously with no
knowledge of the other team’s intentions. The Director then requires
the teams to abide by these lineups. In a Swiss teams competition,
each match is considered to be a session for the application of the
Index to Duplicate Laws