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Laws Interpretation


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Law 73A

Law 16A2




                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 1) 




     When called upon to adjust a score under Law 12.C.2, you should adjust

     to a real score (not an average, average+ or average-).  It should be

     a very rare combination of circumstances which make an artificial

     adjustment appropriate.


     Here is an example from the Boston NABC:


              West     North     East     South

                       P         1S       2H

              P        P*        2S       3H

              P        4H        All pass


             *Break in tempo


     The table director decided that the 3heart call was demonstrably

     suggested and pass was a Logical Alternative action for South over

     2 spades.  Since the auction would have not ended there (North would

     have taken action, then West and/of East possibly and maybe South),

     the director protected to A+.


     Once the director has judged to adjust, proper procedure is to decide

     upon likely possible and probably outcomes if South passes.  The

     director then selects the most favorable of these outcomes that was

     likely for the non-offending side.  For the offender, the director

     selects the most unfavorable one that was at all probable.


     In the above example, the director may have concluded that 2S, 3H, 3S

     and 4H were possible contracts with.  Perhaps 3H, 3S and 4H being

     likely.  If the number of tricks to be taken at a contract is not

     clear, then the director will have to consider whether each result at

     that contract is possible, likely or at all probable.  You could have

     a situation where making a contract is not "likely" but is "at all

     probable" while going down one is "likely."


     In the above hand, since 3S clearly makes only three and 4H* was made

     at the table; therefore it is judged likely.  The director should

     assign +140 to the non-offenders as the most favorable result likely.

     The most unfavorable result at all probable is also 3S (doubled

     contracts were not even "at all probable") so -140 is assigned to the



     *While 4H does not make with an alternate defense, an adjustment to a

     different number of tricks in a contract that was actually played

     should only be considered if the contract would have been doubled or,

     possibly, if it was reached on a different auction.



                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 2) 



     So after an irregularity, when the director is called upon to adjust

     the score steps to be followed are:


          1. List the final contracts you think are possible.

          2. Decide which ones rise to the level of "likely."

          3. Select the most favorable one of these "likely" results and

             award the non-offenders.  Note that the result being selected

             is the most favorable result from the body of "likely"

             results.  If one "likely" result is 40% and another 50%, the

             most favorable of the two is selected.  You would not

             automatically select the highest percentage one.

          4. Decide if there is a result or results not judged "likely"

             that is at all probable.

          5. If there are any "at all probable" results, add these to the

             results considered "likely" and select the most unfavorable.

          6. Award the result selected in number 5 to the offender.

                                             (Office Policy - March, 2000) 



     South passes and, before West can call, North opens 1 spade. The TD

     explains the options to East who does not accept the bid out of turn.

     After West opens the bidding, North elects to pass at his turn. The TD

     correctly rules that South must pass throughout the rest of the

     auction. During the play, it is discovered that North's original

     action was a psych. What further action should the TD take?


     Whenever a player is barred from the auction, the TD should inform the

     opponents that, in some situations, they are entitled to protection if

     they are damaged by the enforced pass. LAW 31 (BID OUT OF ROTATION),

     like other laws that mandate an enforced pass, refers the TD to

     LAW 23: When the penalty for an irregularity under any Law would

     compel the offender's partner to pass at his next turn, and when the

     TD deems that the offender, at the time of his irregularity, could

     have known that the enforced pass would be likely to damage the

     non-offending side, he shall require the auction and play to continue,

     afterwards awarding an adjusted score if he considers that the

     non-offending side was damaged by the enforced pass.


     In the situation described above, North knew that it was the

     opponents' hand. He held bad cards and his partner had already passed.

     So why not psych?  As an added bonus, the TD barred his partner so

     they couldn't get into trouble. It seemed as if he had discovered the

     perfect psych. Unfortunately for North, there's always a catch. In

     this case the TD should rule that North could have known when he bid

     out of turn that an enforced pass might work to his benefit. If the

     opponents were damaged by the "safe psych", the score should be




                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 3) 



     A player who really wants to play 3NT, bids 3 clubs to show a stopper.

     The opponents are quick to point out that, since his partner's last

     bid was 4 diamonds, his call is insufficient. Now he faces a real

     dilemma. Five clubs is way too high and 4NT is ace asking. Then he

     hears the TD telling him that his partner would have to pass any call

     other than 5 clubs. 4NT, he cries. It seems too good to be true and,

     of course, it is.


     The TD should rule that all the necessary aspects of Law 23 are

     present. In a normal auction the player could not stop in 4NT and, at

     the time of his 3 club bid, he could have known that this was a way to

     bar his partner. If 4NT yields a favorable result, the board should be




     A player in third chair with a balanced 16 count opens 1NT out of

     turn. His partner is barred and it goes pass-pass to him. He elects to

     bid only 1NT which gets passed out. His partner puts down a 10 count

     in dummy. As it happens, all the cards are wrong and he makes just two

     for a top. In this case Law 23 does NOT apply. The player had no way

     of knowing when he opened out of turn that barring his partner could

     help his side. This is just the rub of the green and he keeps his good



     In all of these examples, the offender was assumed to act without

     malice aforethought. If the TD was convinced that the player had acted

     deliberately to bar his partner, it would be cause enough to convene a

     conduct hearing.


     LAW 72.B.2: A player must not infringe a law intentionally, even if

     there is a prescribed penalty that one is willing to pay.  The offense

     may be the more serious when no penalty is prescribed.

                                         (Directions - January/April 1993) 



     The following is an article by Chip Martel published in the ACBL

     Bulletin June, 1996 - This article and the opinions it expresses are

     endorsed by the ACBL Laws Commission and ACBL management.


     Bridge is not a game of secret codes, so Law 20 gives players the

     right to ask questions about their opponents' agreements regarding

     bids, leads and signals.  These questions can be asked by any player

     whenever it is that player's turn to bid or play.


     Sometimes, however, questions can cause a problem.  Here are three

     cases in point:


     1. A recent letter to the Bulletin described a situation where the

        letter writer was criticized for asking about his opponents' bids

        after each Alert was made.

     2. There have also been problems when the opening leader leads an ace

        and the declarer asks what the opponents lead from ace-king

        despite holding the king.



                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 4) 



     3. A similar situation occurred when the opening leader asked about

        this Blackwood auction:


                  1S - P - 4NT - P

                  5C - P - 5D  - P

                  5S - P - 6S    all pass


     The opening leader was told 5 clubs showed one or three key cards, and

     that 5 diamonds asked for the trump queen.  The leader then asked

     about the 5 spade response even though the asker held the spade queen.


     In this column I will discuss some guidelines for asking questions and

     how they apply to these three cases.


     There are certain normal types of questions which can be asked without

     anyone's drawing inferences about what you had.  Perhaps the most

     common normal question is after an opponent Alerts a bid.  If you want

     to ask at your next turn to call, you are perfectly within your rights

     to do so.  A second normal time to ask about the opponents' auction is

     at trick one.  Before the opening lead, or before playing to trick one

     (as either declarer or non-leader), it is normal to ask for an

     explanation of the auction.


     Again, you may make a general inquiry about the auction, or ask about

     any Alertable bids freely.  You should be careful about your

     questions, however.  Questions such as, "Could you please explain the

     auction?", "Any special agreements about 2 spades?" or "Was 3 clubs

     forcing?" are fine.


     But it is best not to guess what a bid shows as part of your question

     such as "Was 4 diamonds a splinter?".  Looking at the opponents'

     convention card is also a good way to get information without

     suggesting what you are interested in.


     As declarer you are free to ask about the opponents' leads and signals

     at any time, but the normal time to ask is at trick one.  Thus, at

     trick one you are free to look at an opponent's convention card or ask



     There are two reasons for this.  First if an opponent leads an ace it

     would be foolish to have a rule which said that you could find out if

     the opponents lead ace from ace-king only when you do not have the

     king.  This would force you to reveal if you had the king every time

     an ace was led!  Second, even if you have the king, you often want to

     know whether the leader's partner expects the leader to have the king.

     Third hand's signal on the lead of an ace is quite different if the

     lead usually shows the ace-king than if the lead denies the king.


     If the information if available on the convention card, it is best to

     get your information there.  This may avoid having an opponent infer

     something from a direct question.


     With ground rules established, we can now address the three cases




                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 5) 



     In Case 1 the player was perfectly entitled to ask about each

     Alertable bid as it was made.  If you want to know what the opponents'

     auction means as it develops, you must do so.


     Case 2 was covered above.  At trick one you may ask about the

     opponents' leads without their having any right to draw an inference

     about your hand.  Keep in mind, however, that it is best to ask a

     neutral question such as "What does the ace lead show?" or "What are

     your leads?" rather than "Do you lead ace from ace-king?"  YOU MIGHT



     Similarly in Case 3, after the Blackwood auction, the opening leader

     was perfectly entitled to know what the 5 spade bid showed (in fact it

     was poor form by the declaring side not to have included an

     explanation of 5 spades when describing the auction).  Again, this is

     because you are not required to give away your hand in order to find

     out what the opponents' bids mean.


     Also, even if you had the queen of trumps you might be very interested

     in the meaning of 5 spades.  Perhaps the 5 spade bidder decided to

     show the spade queen even though he didn't have it (or perhaps he made

     a mistake).  You are entitled to know if the 6 spade bidder thought

     their side had the trump queen.


     So far, we have been talking about normal questions.  To clarify this,

     let's now consider a not-so-normal question.  If the auction starts

     one diamond - pass - one heart, to ask about the one heart bid would

     be an unusual question.  Almost everyone plays this auction the same,

     and any unusual meaning should be Alerted.  Thus, a question about one

     heart at this point would strongly suggest that you have some hearts

     and are surprised by the one heart bid.


     If you ask about an unAlerted bid in the middle of an auction, your

     opponents' may be entitled to protection if you have no reason to ask

     about this bid.  You may also put your side at risk by passing

     information to your partner by this question.  If, after you ask about

     the one heart bid, your partner later chooses a heart as an opening,

     your opponents may be entitled to redress.


     This last example raises another important issue about questions.  Any

     time you ask a question during the auction or as a defender you may

     pass unauthorized information to your partner.  Asking questions at

     normal times usually does not convey information.  If you rarely ask

     about Alerted bids during the auction, however, and then ask about an

     Alerted three club bid, you may be telling your partner you have



     Sometimes a failure to ask a question may also pass information.  For

     example, if an opponent opens a skip bid of two diamonds, which is

     Alerted, and you wait 10 seconds before passing, but don't ask about

     the two diamond bid (or look at the convention card), you may tell

     your partner you have no interest in bidding no matter what two

     diamonds shows.



                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 6) 



     Normally you should ask about an Alerted skip bid immediately and then

     wait 10 seconds after the answer.  Thus you do the same thing both

     when you have a problem (and first need to know what the opposing bid

     means, then need some time to think about what to do) and when you

     have a clear action.


     It is particularly bad form to double an Alerted bid without asking or

     checking its meaning.  This tells your partner you have such a strong

     holding you can double no matter what the bid means.



     Law 41D states "...dummy spreads his hand in front of him on the

     table, face up, sorted into suits, the cards in order of rank, in

     columns pointing lengthwise towards declarer, with trumps to dummy's



     In a case where the dummy places 12 (or fewer) cards on the table and

     the defense is injured by not cashing an obvious card, an adjustment

     to equity should be made.


     For example, dummy lays down xxxx, xxxx, x, xxx at a spade contract.

     The defense leads the diamond Ace and would clearly have continued the

     suit except for dummy's singleton.  The TD should adjust the score by

     that trick or to the score that would have been obtained with normal

     defense had dummy been placed correctly.

                                    (Office Clarification - January, 1995) 



     Possibly the least understood change in the 1987 edition of the Laws

     is the creation of the "minor penalty card."


     For a defender's exposed card to be a minor penalty card, it must be a

     single card smaller than a 10 which is accidentally exposed.  For

     example, if a defender pulls a card from his hand and another card,

     the four of clubs falls on the table face up, that card becomes a

     minor penalty card.


     It may help to think of such a card as a "restricted" card, rather

     than a minor penalty card -- in effect, there is no penalty associated

     with it , only a restriction on that player's subsequent play in that

     suit.  The restriction is a small one. He may not play another card in

     that suit below the rank of 10 before he plays the penalty card; he

     may, however, choose to play an honor card.  There are NO lead

     penalties for offender or his partner.


     Two points should be borne in mind about penalty cards.  First,

     declarer never has one.  Second, if partner has a major penalty card

     and you obtain the lead, declarer has the right to let your partner

     pick up that card and then require or forbid you to lead that suit.

     So, if you're on lead and partner has a penalty card, don't lead

     before declarer has a chance to exercise his options.

                                          (ACBL Bulletin  -- January 1993) 



                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 7) 



     The Laws treat a played card by a defender much differently from a

     played card by declarer.


     Law 45.C.1 says that a defender's card must be played if it is held so

     that it is possible for partner to see its face.  Note that it is

     irrelevant that partner claims to have not seen the card or says that

     he was not looking; the director need only determine that defender's

     partner COULD have seen the card had he been looking.


     Law 45.C.2 says that declarer's card is played if it is held in a

     faced position touching or nearly touching the table, or held in a

     position that indicates it has been played.  The fact that one (or

     even both) of the defenders has seen the card is not germane.


     In addition, any player must play a card he names or otherwise

     designates as one he intends to play.  A card from dummy is played if

     declarer so designates it, or if he intentionally touches it other

     than to arrange dummy's cards.


     Law 46.A instructs declarer to clearly state the suit and rank

     whenever he calls a card from dummy.  If declarer fails to do so, Law

     46.B explains the consequences.


     One should be aware of the parenthetical clause in the first paragraph

     of 46.B., which states that the restrictions enumerated later apply

     EXCEPT when declarer's other intention was incontrovertible. Failure

     to take this segment into account may cause a Director to err in

     certain situations.  Whether the intention was "incontrovertible" is a

     matter of judgement.  Note that this same standard applies to naming a

     suit but not a rank, or the reverse - or declarer's directive to "play

     anything."  (ACBL Bulletin - January 1993)


     NOTE: Directors should be alert to situations where an apparent

     inadvertency is actually an instance of the declarer thinking ahead,

     i.e., calling a card to the current trick that he really intends to

     play to a subsequent trick. For example, declarer has led his

     singleton to dummy's AK of an off suit. He plans to cash both and take

     a pitch from his hand and then play a trump towards his hand. Before

     he cashes the second high card from dummy he calls for dummy's trump

     and then wants to retract it as inadvertent. To be deemed inadvertent,

     a called card from dummy must be solely the result of a slip of the

     tongue and not a momentary mental lapse. Hence, declarers attempted

     changed may not be allowed.  (Office policy - 12/2003)



     At their recent meetings in Toronto, the ACBL Laws Commission agreed

     that it was NOT illegal, to point out during play that another player

     has a trick turned wrong - this is to say that no law specifically

     forbids it.



                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 8) 



     However, they also point out that the practice, in general, cannot be

     considered proper.  There are a number of laws that touch on the

     issue.  Law 65.C comes closest to the point by saying that "EACH

     PLAYER ARRANGES HIS OWN CARDS in an orderly overlapping row in the

     sequence played, so as to permit review of the play after its


     SIDE or the order in which the cards were played."


     This is one of those laws that establishes proper procedure.  No

     penalties are mentioned; indeed, a violation is usually of no great

     consequence.  If it ever did become a problem (e.g. a player never

     keeps track and consistently argues about the number of tricks won) a

     Director could penalize the offender by powers granted in Law 90.


     Other laws affect only some of the players at the table:



     Law 43.A.1.c: "Dummy must not participate in the play, nor may he

     communicate anything about the play to declarer", prohibits dummy from

     saying just about everything, including that which has to do with the

     way another player's cards are arranged.  However, dummy is allowed to

     attempt to stop declarer from leading out of turn, which might serve

     to alert declarer to the fact that he did not win the previous trick.


     (Law 42.B.2: He may try to prevent any irregularity by declarer.)



     In the Proprieties, Law 73.A.1 says that "communication between

     partners during the auction and play should be effected only by means

     of the calls and plays themselves."  It follows from this that

     partners are not allowed to "communicate" with one another when they

     have a trick turned wrong.  A player might, for example, make a

     seemingly innocent comment that his partner has the current trick

     turned wrong and, because of this, partner could avoid making a

     defensive error later in the hand.  This is precisely why such a law

     exists.  On the other hand, it would be silly to expect three players

     to wait patiently for the fourth player to wake up to the fact that he

     won the last trick.  A simple "your lead partner" would be completely



     It is hard to imagine an instance in which a declarer could be faulted

     for drawing attention to the fact that dummy or an opponent had a

     trick turned wrong.  Of course, if declarer erred in what he said, he

     could be held responsible should an opponent subsequently misdefend.


     The often cited example of a defender cashing the setting trick to 3NT

     after partner wakes him from his reverie with "we have four tricks

     partner" should be dealt with as in all similar cases: by applying Law




                                                         LAWS.033 (PAGE 9) 



     (Spider Harris adds the following on turning a card the wrong way)

     It is, in general, not proper to announce that another player has

     turned a card the wrong way.  Such notification might be construed as

     a suggestion to partner as to how play should be conducted thereafter,

     such as suggesting that partner take a trick if he can, or some such.

     Certain exceptions might be noted, however.  If declarer tells either

     the dummy or an opponent, there can hardly have been any unauthorized

     communication, and a later dispute as to the result might thus be

     avoided.  In addition, it will frequently be alright to call attention

     to such a card on the just-completed trick.  This would often serve to

     prevent a lead out of turn, or an unreasonable delay by the person who

     does not realize that he won the trick.


     A defender or the dummy should be careful about speaking up, since

     such action might affect the result.  If the action may have

     constituted the transfer of unauthorized information, the Director

     should consider assigning an adjusted score if such information was

     likely to have influenced the play.


     In short, if you are the dummy or a defender, just leave it alone

     until the hand is over.  However, it would seem that declarer can

     never be wrong to call attention to anyone else at the table.

                                         (Directions - July/October, 1992) 



     When there is a dispute pertaining to a call or the call of a card

     from dummy, it is customary to give more weight to the "speaker's"



     In cases where there is no evidence to the contrary TDs should rule in

     agreement with the "speaker".  This would apply to cases where it is

     2 to 2 or 1 to 1.


     Where all the other players (excepting the "speaker") have given SOME

     indication that they thought the "speaker" said something else, TDs

     should rule with the majority.


     In cases that are 2 to 1 it is material to which side the one

     abstaining belongs.  When the "speaker's" partner abstains, there

     should be a slight tendency to rule with the majority.  When it is a

     member of the other side abstaining, there should be a marked tendency

     to rule with the majority.


     These are guidelines.  Whenever there is substantial evidence, TDs

     should rule with the evidence.  Committees have purview as these

     matters are questions of fact.  (Office Policy - November, 1994)



     The Laws define a lead: "The first card played to a trick."  For the

     first trick, the "opening lead" is properly made by the defender to

     declarer's left; for later tricks the lead is properly made from the

     hand which won the preceding trick. That all seems simple enough, but

     the matter often becomes quite a bit more complex.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 10) 



     The declarer has many options.  He may accept the lead than then be

     either the declarer or the dummy.  He may reject the lead and either

     (1) leave it as a penalty card while permitting the other defender to

     lead anything he wishes, or (2) have it picked up without further

     penalty attached to it and require the other defender to lead that

     suit (once) or forbid the lead of that suit (for so long as the proper

     leader retains the lead).


     Please note that in the case of a lead out of turn withdrawn when

     declarer either requires or forbids the lead of the suit by the proper

     hand, law 16C2 applies to the defending side.  The partner of the

     player who led out of turn may make no play that could be based on the

     knowledge that his partner holds the card led out of turn if he has a

     logical alternative play available to him.


     For other defenders' leads at partner's turn, the declarer has exactly

     these same options - except that whether he is to be declarer or dummy

     has already been decided.  And, as above, if declarer either forbids

     or requires the lead of the suit led out of turn from the proper

     leader, law 16C2 will still apply.


     Declarer's lead from the wrong hand is not so severely penalized since

     he has no penalty cards.  When the declarer's side is properly on lead

     and he leads from the wrong hand, either defender has the right to

     accept or reject the improper lead.  If either defender plays to the

     lead, it is accepted (but if the defender to the right of the improper

     lead is the first to play, Law 57 gives the declarer extensive

     rights); if either rejects it, the card must be withdrawn and declarer

     leads what he wishes from the correct hand.


     Extending all these rights to the defenders may tax the Director's

     ability since there are two defenders each having two options; whoever

     acts first speaks for the partnership, and they may not consult about

     the option to be selected.  If both act at the same time, a play takes

     precedence over an oral selection to reject the lead, or, if both

     speak, next in rotation after the irregular lead "wins."


     If the declarer leads when it was a defender's turn, the defenders'

     options are as above, except that if the lead is to be retracted, of

     course the proper defender then leads, rather than the declarer.


     It is important to note that a lead must be made intentionally -- a

     card exposed accidentally, or one inadvertently played as the fifth

     card to a trick, is not to be treated as a lead.  The only time that

     intent is not a factor occurs when you, as a defender, must lead a

     penalty card.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 11) 



     Although the subject has been covered in past articles, there still

     seems to be some confusion about the difference between a mistaken bid

     and a mistaken explanation. Part of the problem stems from the fact

     that, on the surface, the two situations are identical.


     Assume that North makes a bid and South tells East-West that it shows

     a certain hand. It later becomes evident that North's hand bears no

     resemblance to the one described by South.


     East-West summon the Director and claim damage. "I would never have

     done what I did if he had told me what he really had!" says East, and

     all agree with him.  What happens then?


     Before a ruling can be made, the Director must first determine whether

     North made a bid that was not in accordance with his partnership

     agreement (a mistaken bid), or whether South told the opponents of an

     agreement which did not exist (a mistaken explanation).  The

     legalities of the two are totally different.



     It is NOT illegal to make the wrong bid because you have forgotten

     your partnership agreement.  Usually in such cases, you will reach a

     bad contract and get a terrible score.  In other words, justice will

     be served.  Sometimes, however, you will stumble into a lucky spot or

     the opponents will err because they have been given the wrong idea

     about your hand.


     Regardless, the opponents are unlikely to be due redress for any

     apparent damage.  Such situations are simply viewed as the "rub of the



     While East may be correct in saying he would have done better had he

     known what North actually had, we must remember that North's bid

     fooled South as well.  South did all that is required by law: he told

     East-West what North's bid promised by agreement.  Therefore, there is

     NO ADJUSTMENT.  Of course, it is understood that North is not allowed

     to take advantage of partner's proper explanation.



     In the above example, if North had bid correctly according to their

     agreements and it was South who was in error with his explanation,

     then East-West would be entitled to protection.  While South can never

     be positive about what North actually holds, he can, and should, know

     what North is supposed to have.  When the opponents ask you about a

     call for which you have a partnership understanding, you are required

     by law to accurately describe your agreement.  When South fails to

     live up to this responsibility, the Director should give redress for

     any apparent or probable damage.


     If South correctly informs East-West of his partnership agreement, it

     doesn't matter (legally) whether or not North's hand matches the




                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 12) 



     Since there is no "penalty" for a mistaken bid, other than what the

     game itself will often extract, a pair may be tempted to always claim

     that the explanation was correct.  For this reason, the Laws instruct

     the Director to assume that the explanation was wrong until the

     offending pair can produce credible evidence to the contrary.


     The most common source of such evidence will be the convention card

     -- if what South claims to be the agreement isn't on the card, his

     side will probably lose the case.


     If South has given a mistaken explanation, then North must inform the

     opponents at the proper time:  After the auction is over if he is the

     declarer or the dummy; after the play is complete if he is a defender.

     If South wakes up later on in the auction and realizes that he has

     misinformed the opponents, he should call the director immediately.

                                           (ACBL Bulletin - December 1992) 



     It is not uncommon for a Director to be called because a player's hand

     does not fit the description given previously by his partner.  As we

     all know, any ruling in these situations will depend on whether the

     bidder forgot (mistaken bid) or the explainer forgot (mistaken

     explanation). The first step for the Director, therefore, is to

     determine whether the pair had an agreement and, if so, what that

     agreement was.


     The obvious, and simple, way to discover a partnerships's agreements

     is to look at their convention card.  However, when doing so, the

     Director should be careful to avoid some common traps:


     1. Always check to see that both cards are marked the same. If they

        are different, it would tend to indicate that the pair never had

        an agreement.

     2. Make sure that whatever is written on the card applies to the

        auction at hand; this is especially important if there has been

        any interference by the opponents.

     3. Be very skeptical if a pair claims that they play a "variation" of

        a convention which they have not so indicated on their convention


     4. Remember that if one player thinks their understanding is "X" and

        their partner believes it to be "Y", then they in fact have no

        agreement and any explanation that doesn't accurately describe

        their partner's hand must be ruled as misinformation.


     In 1989 the ACBL Laws Commission suggested that Directors should

     "assume that a mistaken explanation was given, thus placing the burden

     of proof on the offenders." This is, in general, a good policy in many

     ruling situations: protect the non-offenders unless the offenders can

     offer a clear and convincing defense for their actions.

                                              (Directions - Jul/Oct, 1992) 



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 13) 



     The following is the response that John Harris used to answer

     questions sent to him on Notrump bidding.


     1. The bid of a natural notrump MUST promise a balanced hand. No

        agreement, either explicit or implicit, that the bid may be made

        with an unbalanced hand is legal;  also illegal is any set of

        agreements which force certain hands to be opened 1 NT with

        unbalanced distribution.


     (Example:  A forcing club system with 5-card majors and diamond

     openings promising 3+ may force 1 NT on 4-4-1-4 or 3-4-1-5 hands.)


     2. A range of not more than 5 HCP, or two non-consecutive ranges of 3

        HCP, or less, is permitted as a natural call.  Use of a wider

        range, or a lower limit of less than 10 HCP, is defined as a

        conventional opening and NO conventions (including Stayman) are

        permitted in responses or rebids.  These limits apply to NATURAL

        NT overcalls as well as openings.


     3. Point count ranges for natural NT bids above the 1-level are not

        defined, but the restrictions of (1) above apply.


     There is not now, nor has there ever been, any regulation which

     prohibits a player from opening (or overcalling) a natural NT with a

     singleton if sound bridge judgment dictates doing so.  What IS

     prohibited is any agreement that such bids do not promise balanced



     Repeated openings with a singleton by any player will tend to create

     this implicit and illegal agreement with his partner, and he may be

     proscribed from the practice if his reputation precedes him.  Also

     forbidden is any set of agreements which force opening NT without a

     balanced hand, as mentioned in (1) above.


     It also is not legal to open in NT solely to show high card strength.

     There appears to be little bridge merit, for example, in opening 1 NT







     and one would suspect that is just done to show point count.


     When a NT opening hand contains a singleton or void, the Director

     needs to look into the overall system to determine whether an

     infraction has occurred.  Petitions such as "I just felt like it" or

     "It seemed the right thing to do" should be looked at askance, and the

     burden of proof that the action was "good bridge" is on the bidder.

     If these tests fail to support the bid, then the opponents should be

     protected from damage. It would be appropriate to assess a procedural

     penalty for violation, particularly if the offender has a history of

     transgressions of a similar nature.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 14) 



     The Director shall not accept from claimer any successful line of play

     not embraced in the original clarification statement if there is an

     alternative normal line of play that would be less successful.


     With Spades as trumps, the lead is in the dummy and declarer says

     dummy's good".



     CASE 1:  Spades    A    CASE 2:  Spades    2    CASE 3:  Spades    Q

              Hearts    A             Hearts    A             Hearts    A

              Diamonds  -           Diamonds  -           Diamonds  -

              Clubs     A              Clubs     A             Clubs     A


     Defender holds:   Spades    K

                       Hearts    -

                       Diamonds  AK

                       Clubs     -


     In Case 1, no one should have any problem awarding exactly one trick

     to the defenders.  Declarer may not play the ace of trumps to extract

     any trump of which he was likely unaware and the defender will be able

     to rough one of declarer's outside aces.


     In Case 2, should the Director require that declarer lead the deuce of

     spades first?  The argument put forth to support this position says

     that since declarer is convinced that all of dummy's cards are good,

     the Director should shuffle them and randomly pick the deuce.  This

     line of reasoning depends on the premise that all "good" cards are

     equal.  However it must be clear that trumps are intrinsically

     different and any value that the deuce has as a trump would be wasted

     by leading it.  Remember also that the Laws dealing with claims keep

     referring to "normal" lines of play, which embraces the careless and

     inferior play but not the irrational.  The only rational purpose in

     playing the deuce is to execute some sort of squeeze, which clearly

     does not apply in example 2 above.  The play of the deuce is not

     rational: it can do not good, and may be harmful.


     What then if dummy's trump is the 4? or the 6? or the 8? Where should

     one draw the line?


     Consider the third case.  Would it be normal for declarer to play the

     queen of spades?  If declarer plays out the hand, confident that his

     outside cards are good, he might well play the queen as a "safety

     check" for any overlooked trump.  It is certainly not abnormal for a

     declarer to play a "high" trump in these situations.  Thus, the

     declarer in Case 3 should be forced to play the queen since it is a

     normal play consistent with his statement of claim.  This is true even

     though we would NOT ALLOW declarer to play the queen if it were to his

     advantage to do so.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 15) 



     Obviously, Directors will seldom be faced with the extremes presented

     in 1 and 2 above; most situations will fall somewhere in between.

     However, this principle can be applied whenever the Director rules

     that declarer's card is such that it would be normal to use it to draw

     trumps.  Some cards are inherently high in rank: the ace, obviously,

     but also the king and the queen.  Lesser cards may also fall into this

     category because of the way that play has gone prior to the claim.

     Declarer may falsely believe that a card has been established because

     he thinks he has forced out all of the higher ones, for instance.  The

     important point to recognize is that there is a difference between a

     card that is thought good because of rank and one that is thought good

     by virtue of being the last remaining.


     Whenever there is an attempt to establish guidelines, there is a risk

     that some will use them in lieu of common sense or even of law.

     Guidelines are not laws, but are intended to form a basis for

     consistency.  With this in mind, the following are given as guidelines

     concerning claims:


     A. The order of play of non-trump suits should be the worst possible

        for claimer (although play within the suit is normally from the

        top down).


     B. Declarer may never attempt to draw any trumps of which he was

        likely unaware, if doing so would be to his advantage.


     C. It is considered a normal play for declarer to take a safety check

        with a "high" trump.


     D. Declarer should not be forced to play the remainder of his trumps

        to his disadvantage if both opponents have shown out of the suit.

                                         (Directions - July/October, 1992) 



     I.  How to rule when the Director must determine if a trick has been

         won by the revoker with a card he could legally have played to

         the revoke trick. (Please note the law specifically states,

         "legally played".  It does not allow the Director to use his

         judgment to determine if the card would reasonably have been


      1. In the following diagram, declarer leads the ace of spades and

         West plays a heart. Later West wins a trick with the king of

         spades. That trick is awarded to the non-offenders. Although West

         would not have reasonably played his king under the declarer's

         ace, the king could legally have been played to the revoke trick.

                                             S  Qxx

                                             H  xx

                                   S  Kx

                                   H  Jxx

                                   S  Axx

                                   H  KQ



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 16) 



      2. There can be a two trick penalty only when the revoking side wins

         two or more tricks from the revoke trick and at least one of:


          a. The revoker wins the revoke trick (which can only be done by


          b. The revoker wins a trick with a card he could legally have

             played to the revoke trick.


      3. There now can be a two trick penalty when the offending side did

         not win the revoke trick.


     II. Declarer vs. Dummy as the Revoker - If declarer revokes and if

         dummy wins that trick, declarer is not deemed to have won that

         trick for purposes of applying Law 64A 1.


     There is still no penalty for a revoke by dummy.  Dummy's revoke is

     corrected by restoring equity.



     There appears to be a difference of opinion among some Directors about

     the meaning of "2 lower unbid" on the Convention Card under DIRECT NT

     OVERCALLS.  Originally, the Unusual NT was used to show a minor two

     suiter regardless of the opening bid.


     A later development excluded opener's minor and used 2NT to show

     hearts and the other minor.  If the opening bid was a major suit, 2NT

     continued to show both minors.  This is the accepted meaning of 2

     lower unbid.


     Of course a pair could use direct 2NT overcalls to show any two

     specific suits conventionally (or one known and one undisclosed), but

     uses other than for the MINORS or TWO LOWER UNBID would require that

     the 2NT bid be alerted.



     In team games, when ONE side is responsible for an infraction and the

     board has not been played at the other table, the director should make

     a ruling or advise the pairs a ruling will be made after consultation.

     Meanwhile, the board should be played at the other table. Telling (or

     asking) the players to reshuffle should not be an option even if the

     situation appears to involve a difficult ruling.  When BOTH pairs or

     NEITHER pair is at fault and play of the board has become impossible

     or meaningless, a director can order a redeal to avoid a shortened

     match.  (Directions - April 1992)



     There have been several questions about the new definition of when a

     bid is considered "made" using bidding boxes - especially in how it

     relates to law 25A, changing an inadvertent call.


     The new definition removes from the director the responsibility of

     determining intent. In much the same way that the TD does not need to

     consider intent in judging whether declarer has played a card from his

     or her hand.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 17) 



     If the director does not consider that a call has been "made," the

     applicable Law is no longer 25 but 16, unauthorized information.

     Therefore, the change in definition should give the director more

     freedom to make a fair and equitable decision when necessary.


     If the bid is considered made, however, the director will have to

     apply law 25. This means that the director must determine intent

     (inadvertency)  and whether the correction or attempt to correct was

     without pause for thought.       (April, 2001 - Office Letter)


     NOTE:  Be liberal in judging that mechanical irregularities are

     inadvertent. However, it continues to be difficult to justify pulling

     a bid in place of a pass, double or redouble as mechanical.  Calls

     from different pockets should rarely, if at all, be judged as

     inadvertent. One understandable exception is placing the double card

     out followed shortly with a bid card that skips the bidding.  This

     appears clear that the double card was placed inadvertently on the




     Huddle situations are difficult for players, directors, and

     committees.  The following are guidelines to be applied by directors

     and committees as to how such cases should be handled.


     The relevant portions of the Laws that address these issues are:


     Law 16: "Players are authorized to base their calls and plays on

     information from legal calls and or plays, and from mannerisms of

     opponents.  To base a call or play on other extraneous information may

     be an infraction of law.


     A. After a player makes available to his partner extraneous

     information that may suggest a call or play, as by means of a remark,

     a question, a reply to a question, or by unmistakable hesitation,

     unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, mannerism

     or the like, the partner may not choose from among logical alternative

     actions one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another

     by the extraneous information."


     Law 73A

     1. "Communication between partners during the auction and play shall

     be effected only by means of the calls and plays themselves.

     2. Calls and plays should be made without special emphasis,

     mannerism, or inflection, and without undue hesitation or haste.


     C. When a player has available to him unauthorized information from

     his partner, as from a remark, question, explanation, gesture,

     mannerism, special emphasis, inflection, haste or hesitation, he must

     carefully avoid taking any advantage that might accrue to his side.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 18) 



     Law 16A2: When a player has substantial reason to believe that an

     opponent who had a logical alternative has chosen an action that could

     have been suggested by such information, he should summon the director

     forthwith.  The director shall require the auction and play to

     continue, standing ready to assign an adjusted score if he considers

     that an infraction of law has resulted in damage.


     In applying these provisions, a director (or, subsequently, a

     committee) follows these guidelines in making a determination as to

     whether there should be an adjusted score:


     1. Was there unauthorized information present?  If so, then,

     2. Could a player have made a call that could have been demonstrably

        suggested by the unauthorized information?  If yes, then

     3. Was there a logical alternative call available that was less

        suggested by the unauthorized information? A logical alternative

        is one that would have been seriously considered by a substantial

        number of equivalent players acting on all of the information that

        was legitimately available.   If yes, then,

     4. Were the opponents damaged through the use of unauthorized



     If the answers to all four questions are "yes," the director should

     adjust the table result according to law 12.


     To examine a typical case, suppose that North opens one spade, east

     jumps to four hearts, south passes after a marked hesitation, west

     passes and north now rebids four spades.  East-west protest.  These

     are the four issues to be resolved:


     1. Was there a hesitation which was undue and that gave north

        unauthorized information?


     Most hesitations should be considered undue when they occur in basic,

     simple auctions.  For example, a slow pass as dealer or over an

     opponent's one level opening bid would be considered undue.  However,

     there are some high level competitive positions in which it is more

     normal (thus less informative) to huddle briefly than to act in

     tempo-that is the point of the skip-bid warning.  If East did give the

     skip-bid warning, a 10 second huddle by South is obviously far from

     undue (a pass in tempo would be undue haste).  And if East gave no

     warning, a normal hesitation by south is not undue.  However, an

     agonized 30 second trance would be undue, regardless of whether a

     skip-bid warning was given.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 19) 



     2. Did north make a call that could have demonstrably been suggested

        by the huddle when he bid 4 spades?


     If an overwhelming majority of north's peers would have made the same

     call without the hesitation, then he has no logical alternative to the

     action he took even if a small minority of his peers might have

     actually passed or doubled.  If a substantial minority of his peers

     would choose to pass or double, there is a logical alternative even

     though more than half of his peers might choose to take the action he

     did.  The question is not whether it is logical for north to bid 4

     spades, but whether it would also have been logical for him to do

     something else.


     3. Could south's slow pass suggest north's 4 spade bid over some

        logical alternative?


     The answer to this question is likely to be YES if Pass was an

     alternative.  The fact that south had something to think about makes

     it more attractive for north to choose action over inaction.  In

     contrast, if north is so powerful that his only logical alternative to

     4 spades are other bids or double, then the answer is likely no  -

     south's huddle indicates he has some values, but not necessarily in



     4. Were east-west damaged by the infraction?


     If 4 spades made, or if it was a good sacrifice, usually YES.

     However, if north's hand was so huge that his alternative to bidding 4

     spades was doubling, certainly not passing, and if 4 hearts doubled

     would have been set more than the value of north-south's game, then,

     there was no damage.  If 4 spades went down when 4 hearts would also

     have been set by routine defense, again, there was no damage.


     Some Common misconceptions about huddles are as follows:


     1. North is barred by partner's slow pass unless he has 100% action.

     FALSE!  South's hesitation, if it was undue, restricts north's

     options, but only when alternatives are logical and then only in

     respect to those alternatives that could be suggested.  So north is

     often entitled to act.


     2. North may bid 4 spades so long as he did not base his decision on

        partner's slow pass.

     FALSE!  Committees should pay scant attention to testimony such as, "I

     always bid in auctions like this", or " hardly noticed south's huddle

     - I had already made up my mind to bid 4 Spades."


     It is not that these statements are self-serving and unverifiable-the

     real point is that they are IRRELEVANT.  The issue is not whether the

     slow pass suggested the 4 spade bid to this particular north, but,

     whether, to north players in general, the hesitation COULD  make the 4

     spade bid more attractive than a logical alternative.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 20) 



     3. After south's slow pass, north may not take a doubtful action.

     FALSE!  North will commonly be faced with a choice among a number of

     reasonable options, all of them doubtful.  The rules of bridge require

     that north do something at his turn-every one of his options cannot be

     illegal.  The illegality is for north to select a particular option

     that could be suggested over another by partner's huddle.


     4. North may bid 4 spades if that would have been reasonable action

        had partner not hesitated.

     FALSE!  The issue is not whether 4 spades was reasonable, but whether

     any alternatives were.


     5. North may not make a risky 4 spades bid, which could result in a

        huge set when South has nothing, now that the huddle tells him

        that south has something.

     FALSE!  Even if the 4 spade bid would be disastrous one time in three,

     there may be no logical alternative to it.  The test is not whether

     the bid would be successful an overwhelming proportion of the time,

     but whether an overwhelming proportion of players would choose to run

     the risk.


     6. The director's decision (or the committee's) to bar north's 4

        spade bid, to adjust the score, in effect convicted north-south of

        being unethical.

     FALSE!  What the director found was that north's 4 spade bid was a

     technical irregularity, like a revoke.  It adjusted the score to

     redress possible damage from that irregularity, just as it would take

     away a trick or two had north revoked.  In hesitation cases, directors

     should be concerned not with crime and punishment, but with damage and




     The ACBL Laws Commission has been asked for an interpretation of the

     phrase "logical alternative" as used in law 16.  A logical alternative

     is a call that would be seriously considered by at least a substantial

     minority of equivalent players, acting on the basis of all the

     information legitimately available.


     Suppose that west is dealer at favorable vulnerability.  He opens 4

     hearts, north and east pass and south holds

              S AQ10763 H 94 D Q106 C 74.


     Let us assume as "bridge fact" that most players would consider it

     wrong to reopen with four spades, but that many would be tempted to do

     so.  Then, both pass and four spades are "logical alternatives."


     CASE A: North took only a few seconds to pass over four hearts,

             although west announced a skip bid.  Furthermore, while south

             was considering his actions, north impatiently detached a

             card from his hand as if to lead it.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 21) 



     All this could reasonably suggest a pass to South.  And South did

     indeed pass, which was just as well for him since north happened have

     a near Yarborough.  South later explained to the director that he

     would never bid with a hand like that.  He said he took his normal

     action by passing.  In this case, the director should adjust the score

     to 4SX, down 1100 if that was likely. Rule that way even if believing

     South's explanation completely.  What matters is not that South would

     have bid in the absence of unauthorized information, but that four

     spades was a logical alternative contraindicated by north's tempo and



     If the director believes that south may have taken deliberate

     advantage, he should impose additional procedural penalties for

     violation of law 73C.


     CASE B: North pondered for 30 seconds over four hearts, and asked

             east how weak in high cards west could be, then passed.

             South reopened with four spades, successfully as north had a

             good hand.  South later explained that he had made up his

             mind when west opened that he was always going to bid four



     In this case, because a pass to four hearts was contraindicated by

     north's tempo and questions, adjust the score to the result for four

     hearts passed out.  If it was at all likely that four hearts would

     make, assign that score.  If it was likely that four hearts might go

     down one or two depending on the lead, assign the most favorable

     result that was at all likely for east-west.  If the outcome is in

     doubt, the director may assign non-matching scores for both sides.

     For example, he might rule four hearts making for north-south, four

     hearts down one or two for east-west.



     At the 1992 Indianapolis NABCs, the ACBL Laws Commission reaffirmed

     the position that in order to fully protect their rights, bridge

     players are under an obligations to play at a reasonable level

     commensurate with their expertise.  A serious misplay can be cause for

     a player to have to accept a bad score that was actually achieved even

     though the offender's score should be adjudicated.


     The positions that any result achieved after a to-be-disallowed action

     is not to be considered (because the non-offenders should never have

     been a position to commit the egregious error) was declared invalid.


     When the director decides that there has been a violation of law

     resulting in damage to an innocent opponent, he shall adjust the score

     using the guidelines of law 12C2, which states, "When the director

     awards an assigned adjusted score in place of a result actually

     obtained after an irregularity, the score is, for the non-offending

     side, the most favorable result that was likely had the irregularity

     not occurred, or, for the offending side, the most unfavorable result

     that was at all probable."



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 22) 


     For example:  S  T3

                         H  J6

                         D  AKJ4

                         C  KQT52

          S  A54                        S  Q9876

          H  Q7                         H  T542

          D  T8                         D  976

          C  J97643                     C  8

                         S  KJ2

                         H  AK983

                         D  Q532

                         C  A                        N    E      S    W

                                                             P     1H   P

                                                      2C   P      2D   P

                                                      3D   P      3H   P

                                                      4C   P      4H   P

                                                      5D* P      6D   P

     *Noticeable hesitation                   P    P      P


     East/West called the director after 6D bid following the hesitation.

     The director instructed that play should continue and after South made

     the slam, ruled the contract to be 5 diamonds making six.  North/South



     The committee upheld the ruling, reasoning that South's bidding had

     shown considerable extra values and North had suggested that 5

     diamonds was the proper contract.  The committee felt a significant

     minority would have passed over 5 diamonds.  However, during their

     questioning, they learned that South had misplayed the contract and

     East could have beaten it.  After determining how the play went, the

     committee judged that East should have known he could ruff a trick to

     set the contract and failed to make an easy play (for his level of

     expertise) by not ruffing.


     The committee ruled that north-south can not bid 6 diamonds after the

     hesitation but that east-west had a clear shot to set the contract

     which they failed to do only because of their own carelessness.

     Therefore, the most favorable result for east-west was in fact 6

     diamonds properly defended and the most unfavorable result for

     north-south was five diamonds, making six.  The final ruling was to

     score east-west minus 920, the result at the table.  For north-south,

     plus 420, the presumed result of a five diamonds contract.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 23) 



     The following was taken from the ACBL Bulletin:

     Before getting into law 25, everyone should be aware of the definition

     of when a bid is considered made using bidding boxes. A great part of

     the intent of the change was to enable the director to apply law 16

     rather than 25. The definition from Appendix G is, "Players must

     choose a call before touching any card in the box. A call is

     considered made when a bidding card is removed from the bidding box

     and held touching or nearly touching the table or maintained in such a

     position to indicate that the call has been made." So, if you rule

     that no call has been made, you should apply law 16.  Law 25 should

     only apply when it is ruled that an original call has been made

     according to the definition above.


     You are called to a table. You determine that, 1) a call was made; 2)

     that there was a desire to change it or it was changed; and 3) law 25

     B applies.


     The only way to make that final determination (that 25 B applies) is

     that the call was intentionally selected (i.e., it was not

     inadvertent) and the player's LHO has not called.


     1. If the first call was insufficient, we get to leave law 25 for the

     more pleasant environment of law 27.

     2. If both calls are legal, LHO may accept the second call as legal

     and the auction proceeds without penalty.

     3. If by some chance LHO has made a call over the first call, then the

     second call stands without penalty but law 16C2 applies.   LHO may

     then withdraw his call without penalty.

     Onward to see how to proceed if LHO does not condone the change or has

     not called.

     4. The second call is canceled.

     5. If the first call is illegal, the offender is subject to the

     appropriate law and law 26 may apply to the second call.

     6. If the there were two calls made and the first call is legal, the

     offender may elect to have the first call stand. In this case, the

     offender's partner must pass at his next opportunity and the director

     may apply law 23.

     7. If the offender does not want to let the first call stand or wishes

     to make a purposeful correction if he has not already done so, the

     offender may make any other legal call. In this case, the offender's

     withdrawn call may not be used as a basis for subsequent calls by the

     offender's partner and the offending side may receive no score greater

     than an Average Minus.


     The non-offending side receives the score obtained at the table. The

     only time they may not receive the score at the table is if the

     partner of the offender is judged to have based a call on the

     offender's withdrawn action.


     *** This law is intended to enable a side to recover somewhat from a

     mis-bid which although intentional was based upon a brain hemorrhage.



                                                        LAWS.033 (PAGE 24) 



     Except for knockout play, there may be two way scores. In knockout

     play only, there must be one result. Therefore, a two-way  adjustment

     in knockout play (see Law 86 B) is accomplished by calculating each

     contestant's (team's) score separately and then averaging the two IMP

     scores. In using this method along with 25B, the non-offender's IMP

     score is determined by comparing the result at the table of the

     irregularity with the other table's score.   If this comparison gave

     the offending side  more than minus three IMPs, the  director awards

     the offending side minus three IMPs as their score. The director than

     averages the two scores (the minus three and the IMPs scored by the

     offending side using the obtained results). This averaged score

     becomes the result for each team (plus or minus as appropriate).


     8. As with most withdrawn calls, law 26 applies if the offender's side

     are defenders.

     If a player chooses to make an intentional change of call, his side is

     limited to an average minus: no better than 40% of the matchpoints

     available.  The non-offenders will keep whatever score they achieve on

     the board.


     Example: a player changes a pass to a 4 heart call and makes 5 (+650)

     1) Matchpoints: if +650 is worth 9 out of 12 matchpoints; the

     offending side would be adjusted to 4.8 (Ave-) while the non offenders

     would keep -650 for a score of 3.  If +650 were worth 3 matchpoints

     (less than Ave-), then both sides would keep the score achieved at the

     table.  To enter this result with ACBLScore, the TD should hit S

     (special) and post Q65+ for the offenders and 65- for the non-


     2) Swiss Teams: if at the other table, the offending pair's teammates

     beat 6 hearts for +100, then the non-offenders would lose 13 IMPs

     (-750) and the offenders would be adjusted to Ave- (-3 IMPs).  This

     could result in a two-way result; i.e., the offending side might win

     the match by 10 IMPs while the non-offenders are losing by 23.

     Obviously the TD should assist the teams in scoring and reporting the


     3) Knockout Teams: since we need to produce one and only one winner in

     the match, the different results must be averaged for both teams.  In

     the example above for Swiss, where the offenders are -3 IMPs and the

     non-offenders are -13 IMPs, the net result would be the average of -3

     and +13.  That is (13-3)/2 or 5 IMPs to the offending side and -5 IMPs

     for the non-offenders.  Once again, the TD should be available to the

     two teams when they are comparing.

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