1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
These Laws cannot cover every
situation that might arise, nor can they produce equity in every
situation covered. Occasionally the players themselves must redress
damage. The guiding principle: The side that commits an irregularity
bears an obligation not to gain directly from the infraction itself;
however, the offending side is entitled to profit after an infraction,
as an indirect result, through subsequent good fortune.*
To infringe a law intentionally
is a serious breach of ethics, 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.
There is no obligation to draw
attention to an inadvertent infraction of law committed by one's own
side. However, a player should not attempt to conceal such an
infraction, as by committing a second revoke, concealing a card
involved in a revoke or mixing the cards prematurely.
It is proper to warn partner
against infringing a law of the game: for example against revoking, or
against calling, leading or playing out of turn.
*Two examples may
clarify the distinction between direct gain through an infraction and
indirect gain through good luck.
South, declarer at 3NT, will have nine
tricks available if the diamond suit - six cards headed by the
ace, king, queen in dummy opposite declarer's singleton - divides
favorably; and the six missing diamonds are in fact split evenly,
3-3, between East and West. However, West, who holds three
diamonds headed by the jack, shows out on the third round of
diamonds, revoking. Thus, declarer wins only three diamond tricks
instead of six, for a total of six tricks instead of nine. The
established revoke is later discovered, so one penalty trick is
transferred after play ends. But declarer is still down two.
Here, East-West gained two tricks as a
direct consequence of their infraction. The players should
adjudicate this result, scoring the deal as 3 NT making three.
Note that declarer is not given a penalty trick in addition; the
object is to restore equity, to restore the result likely to have
occurred had the infraction not been committed.
South, declarer at 4,
is entitled to require or forbid a diamond opening lead from West
because of an auction-period infraction committed by East.
Declarer instructs West to lead a diamond - but West, having no
diamonds, leads another suit. East, now aware that partner is void
in diamonds, is able to find what would be, under normal
circumstances, a most unnatural line of defense to give West two
ruffs. Thereby, East-West defeat a contract that would almost
certainly have been made but for the infraction.
Here, East-West profited only
indirectly through their auction-period infraction; their gain was
the direct consequence of declarer's decision to require a diamond
lead, and of West's lucky void. So, the players should allow the
result to stand. Declarer was damaged not by the infraction itself
but by bad luck afterwards - and luck is part of the game of
2. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
Communication between partners
during the auction and play should be effected only by means of the
calls and plays themselves, not through the manner in which they are
made, nor through extraneous remarks and gestures, nor through
questions asked of the opponents and explanations given to them. Calls
should be made in a uniform tone without special emphasis or
inflection, and without undue hesitation or haste. Plays should be
made without emphasis, gesture or mannerism and so far as possible at
a uniform rate.
Inadvertently to vary the tempo
or manner in which a call or play is made does not in itself
constitute a violation of propriety, but inferences from such
variation may properly be drawn only by an opponent, and at his own
risk. It is improper to attempt to mislead an opponent by means of a
remark or a gesture, through the haste or hesitancy of a call or play
(such as hesitation with singleton) or by the manner in which the call
or play is made.
Any player may properly attempt
to deceive an opponent through a call or play (so long as the
deception is not protected by concealed partnership understanding). It
is entirely proper to make all calls and plays in unvarying tempo and
manner in order to avoid giving information to the opponents.
When a player has available to
him improper information from his partner's remark, question,
explanation, gesture, mannerism, special emphasis, inflection, haste
or hesitation, he should carefully avoid taking any advantage that
might accrue to his side.
3. CONDUCT AND ETIQUETTE
A player should maintain at all
times a courteous attitude toward his partner and opponents. He should
carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or
embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment
of the game. Every player should follow uniform and correct procedure
in calling and playing, since any departure from correct standards may
disrupt the orderly progress of the game.
As a matter of courtesy, a
player should refrain from
(a) paying insufficient
attention to the game (as when a player obviously takes no interest in
his hand, or frequently requests a review of the auction).
(b) making gratuitous comments
during the play as to the auction or the adequacy of the contract.
(c) detaching a card from his
hand before it is his turn to play.
(d) arranging completed tricks
in a disorderly manner, thereby making it difficult to determine the
sequence of plays.
(e) making a claim or concession
of tricks if there is any doubt as to the outcome of the deal.
(f) prolonging play
unnecessarily for the purpose of disconcerting the other players.
Furthermore, the following are
considered breaches of propriety:
(a) using different designations
for the same call.
(b) indicating approval or
disapproval of a call or play.
(c) indicating the expectation
or intention of winning or losing a trick that has not been completed.
(d) commenting or behaving
during the auction or play so as to call attention to a significant
occurrence, or to the state of the score or to the number of tricks
still required for success.
(e) showing an obvious lack of
further interest in the deal (as by folding one's cards).
(f) looking intently at any
other player during the auction or play, or at another player's hand
as for the purpose of seeing his cards or of observing the place from
which he draws a card (but it is not improper to act on information
acquired by inadvertently seeing an opponent's card).
(g) varying the normal tempo of
bidding or play for the purpose of disconcerting another player.
(h) mixing the cards before the
result of a deal has been agreed upon.
It is improper to convey
information by means of a call or play based on special partnership
agreement, whether explicit or implicit, unless such information is
fully and freely available to the opponents.
It is not improper for a player
to violate an announced partnership agreement, so long as his partner
is unaware of the violation (but habitual violations within a
partnership may create implicit agreements, which must be disclosed).
No player has the obligation to disclose to the opponents that he has
violated an announced agreement. If the opponents are subsequently
damaged, as through drawing a false inference from such violation,
they are not entitled to redress.
When explaining the significance
of partner's call or play in reply to an opponent's inquiry, a player
should disclose all special information conveyed to him through
partnership agreement or partnership experience; but he need not
disclose inferences drawn from his general bridge knowledge and
experience. It is improper for a player whose partner has given a
mistaken explanation to correct the error immediately or to indicate
in any manner that a mistake has been made. He must not take advantage
of the unauthorized information so obtained.
A spectator, including a member
of the table not playing, must not display any reaction to bidding or
play while a hand is in progress (as by shifting his attention from
one player's hand to another's). He must not in any way disturb a
player. During the hand, he must refrain from mannerisms or remarks of
any kind (including conversation with a player). He may not call
attention to any irregularity or mistake, nor speak on any question of
fact or law except by request of the players.