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Laws of Contract Rubber Bridge
Part 5 - Laws 17-40: The Auction

 
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81

This document is provided courtesy of the
American Contract Bridge League

2990 Airways Blvd. S Memphis TN 381163847
9013325586
S Fax 9013987754
 

THE AUCTION

CORRECT PROCEDURE

LAW 17
DURATION OF THE AUCTION

The auction begins when the last card of a correct deal has been placed on the table. The dealer makes the first call, and thereafter each player calls in rotation. When three passes in rotation have followed any call the auction is closed, unless Law 34 applies.

 

LAW 18
BIDS

Each bid* must name a number of odd tricks, from one to seven, and a denomination. A bid supersedes the previous bid if it names either a greater number of odd tricks or the same number of odd tricks in a higher denomination. A bid that fulfills these requirements is sufficient; one that does not is insufficient. The denominations rank in descending order: notrump, spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs.
 

* Pass, double and redouble are calls, not bids.
 

LAW 19
DOUBLES AND REDOUBLES

A player may double only the last preceding bid, and then only if it was made by an opponent and no calls other than pass have intervened.
A player may redouble only the last preceding double, and then only if it was made by an opponent and no calls other than pass have intervened.
A player should not, in doubling or redoubling, state the number of tricks or the denomination; but, if he states either or both incorrectly, he is deemed to have doubled or redoubled the bid as it was made. The only correct form is the single word "Double" or "Redouble".
All doubles and redoubles are superseded by a subsequent legal bid. If there is no subsequent bid, scoring values are increased as provided in Law 81.
 

LAW 20
REVIEW AND EXPLANATION

A player who does not hear a call distinctly may forthwith require that it be repeated.
At his own turn to call during the auction, a player (unless required by law to pass) may require a restatement of the auction in its entirety.
After the final pass, declarer before making any play, or either defender at his first turn to play, may require a restatement of the auction in its entirety.
A request to have calls restated should be responded to only by an opponent (dummy or a player required by law to pass may so respond). All players, including dummy, should promptly correct errors in restatement.
A player may require an explanation of the partnership understanding relating to any call made by an opponent, but only at the player's own turn to call or play. A request for an explanation of a call should be responded to by the partner of the player making the call (see Proprieties 4).

 

LAW 21
CALL BASED ON MISINFORMATION

A player has no recourse if he has made a call on the basis of his own misunderstanding.
Until the auction is closed, a player may, without penalty, change any call he may have made as a result of misinformation given him by an opponent, provided his partner has not subsequently called. If he elects to correct his call, his LHO may then, in turn and without penalty, change any subsequent call he may have made.

 

LAW 22
PROCEDURE AFTER THE AUCTION IS CLOSED

After the auction is closed:
(a) if no player has bid, the hands are abandoned and the turn to deal passes in rotation.
(b) if any player has bid, the final bid becomes the contract and play begins.
 

IRREGULARITIES

LAW 23
CARD EXPOSED OR LED DURING THE AUCTION

(Club Law 23)

 

Whenever, during the auction, a player faces a card on the table or holds a card so that it is possible for his partner to see its face, every such card must be left face up on the table until the auction closes; and (penalty) if the offender subsequently becomes a defender, declarer may treat every such card as a penalty card (Law 50).
In addition,
(a) if it is a single card below the rank of an honor and not prematurely led, there is no further penalty.
(b) if it is a single card of honor rank, or any card prematurely led, or if more than one card is so exposed, (penalty) the offender's partner must pass when next it is his turn to call.
(c) when the penalty under this or any other law compels the offender's partner to pass, and offender could have known at the time of his infraction that the enforced pass would be likely to damage the non-offending side, the offenders should redress the damage in accordance with Proprieties 1.
 

LAW 24
IMMEDIATE CORRECTION OF A CALL

A player may substitute his intended call for an inadvertent call, but only if he does so, or attempts to do so, without pause for thought. If legal, his last call stands without penalty; if illegal, it is subject to the applicable law.
 

LAW 25
CHANGE OF CALL

(Club Law 25)

When a call is substituted for a call made previously at the same turn, and it is too late for correction as provided in Law 24, then
(a) if the first call was illegal, the substitute call is cancelled and the offender is subject to the applicable law.
(b) if the first call was legal, the offender must either

(i) 

allow his first call to stand and (penalty) his partner must pass when next it is his turn to call; or

(ii) 

make any other legal call and (penalty) his partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call.

The offender's partner will also be subject to a lead penalty as provided in Law 26 if he becomes a defender. Law 23(c) may apply to (b)(i) and (b)(ii).
 

LAW 26
CHANGE OF CALL - LEAD PENALTIES

When a player makes a call and subsequently changes it to another legal call (except as permitted under Law 24), then if he becomes a defender:
(a) if the changed call was in a suit, and the substituted call did not repeat that suit, declarer may* either require the offender's partner to lead, or prohibit him from leading, such suit when first the offender's partner has the lead (including the opening lead). A prohibition continues for as long as offender's partner retains the lead. When the irregular call artificially relates to a denomination other than the one actually named, "such suit" is the suit or suits to which the call relates.
(b) if the changed call was

(i) 

in notrump, and the player's (or the offender's) final call at that turn was not, or

(ii) 

pass, double or redouble, other than an out-of-rotation call repeated in turn in accordance with Law 30(a) or Law 32(b)(i),

declarer may* prohibit offender's partner from leading any one specified suit when first the offender's partner has the lead (including the opening lead). This prohibition continues for as long as offender's partner retains the lead.

 
* Declarer makes the decision at the time that offender's partner first has the lead.
 

LAW 27
INSUFFICIENT BID

(Club Law 27)

Any insufficient bid may be accepted (treated as legal) at the option of offender's LHO, and is accepted if that opponent calls.
An insufficient bid made in rotation must be corrected by the substitution of either a sufficient bid (not a double or redouble) or a pass *, unless the irregular bid is accepted.
If the call substituted is
(a) the lowest sufficient bid in the same denomination, the auction proceeds as though the irregularity had not occurred **.
(b) any other sufficient bid or pass, (penalty) the offender's partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26 will apply if he becomes a defender.
If the offender attempts to substitute a double or redouble, it is cancelled; he must pass at that turn and the offense is subject to the penalty provided in subsection (b) above.
If a player makes an insufficient bid out of rotation, Law 31 applies.
 

* The offender is entitled to select his final call at that turn after the applicable penalties have been stated, and any call he has previously attempted to substitute is cancelled, but the lead penalties of Law 26 will apply if he becomes a defender.
** Offender's partner must not base any subsequent calls or plays on information gained from such a withdrawn bid.

 

CALL OUT OF ROTATION

LAW 28
CALLS CONSIDERED TO BE IN ROTATION

A call is considered to be in rotation
(a) when it is made without waiting for the RHO to pass, if that opponent is required by law to pass.
(b) when it is made by the player whose turn it was to call, before a penalty has been imposed for a call out of rotation by an opponent; it waives any penalty for the call out of rotation and the auction proceeds as though that opponent had not called at that turn.

 

LAW 29
PROCEDURE AFTER A CALL OUT OF ROTATION

After a call out of rotation, offender's LHO * may either
(a) make any legal call; if he chooses to do so, the call out of rotation stands as if it were legal (but if it is an inadmissible call, see Law 35), and the auction proceeds without penalty; or,
(b) require that the call out of rotation be cancelled. The auction reverts to the player whose turn it was to call. The offender may make any legal call in proper turn subject to Laws 30, 31, and 32.
 

* He alone exercises the option, although any player may draw attention to the irregularity.
 

LAW 30
PASS OUT OF ROTATION

(Club Law 30)

When a player has passed out of rotation
(a) before any player has bid, or when it was the turn of his RHO* to call, (penalty) the offender must pass when next it is his turn to call.
(b) after any player has bid and when it was the turn of the offender's partner to call (penalty) the offender must pass whenever it is his turn to call; the offender's partner may make a sufficient bid or may pass, but may not double or redouble at that turn.
 

* After any player has bid, a call at the turn of offender's LHO is a change of call; Law 25 applies and not this section.
 

LAW 31
BID OUT OF ROTATION

(Club Law 31)

When a player has bid out of rotation
(a) at the turn of offender's partner to call, or before any player has called when offender's LHO was the dealer, (penalty) the offender's partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26 will apply if he becomes a defender.
(b) at the turn of the offender's RHO* to call,

(i) 

if RHO passes, the bid out of rotation must be repeated, and there is no penalty (if the bid out of rotation was insufficient, it must be corrected as provided in Law 27).

(ii) 

if RHO makes a legal** bid, double or redouble, the offender may in turn make any legal call. If such call repeats the denomination of the bid out of rotation, (penalty) the offender's partner must pass when next it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply). If the substituted call does not repeat the denomination, (penalty) the offender's partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26 will apply if he becomes a defender.

 
* After any player has bid, a call at the turn of offender's LHO is a change of call; Law 25 applies and not this section.
** An illegal call by that opponent may be penalized in the usual way, after which this subsection. (b)(ii), applies.
 

LAW 32
DOUBLE OR REDOUBLE OUT OF ROTATION

(Club Law 32)

When a player has doubled or redoubled out of rotation,*
(a) if it was the offender's partner's turn to call, (penalty) the offender's partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply); the offender may not thereafter, in turn, double or redouble the same bid he doubled out of turn; and the lead penalties of Law 26(b) will apply if he becomes a defender.
(b) if it was the turn of offender's RHO* to call,

(i) 

if offender's RHO passes, the double or redouble out of rotation must be repeated and there is no penalty.

(ii) 

if offender's RHO bids, the offender may in turn make any legal call, and (penalty) the offender's partner must pass when next it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26(b) will apply if he becomes a defender.

 
* After any player has called, a call at offender's LHO's turn is a change of call; Law 25 applies and not this section.
 

LAW 33
SIMULTANEOUS CALLS

A call made simultaneously with one made by the player whose turn it was to call is deemed to be a subsequent call.

 

LAW 34
RETENTION OF THE RIGHT TO CALL

When a call has been followed by three passes, the auction does not end when one of those passes was out of rotation, thereby depriving a player of his right to call at that turn. The auction reverts to the player who missed his turn. All subsequent passes are cancelled and the auction proceeds as though there had been no irregularity.

 

INADMISSIBLE CALLS

LAW 35
INADMISSIBLE CALL CONDONED

When, after an inadmissible call specified below, offender's LHO makes a call before a penalty has been assessed, there is no penalty for the offense (the lead penalties of Law 26 do not apply). If the inadmissible call was
(a) a double or redouble not permitted by Law 19, that call and all subsequent calls are cancelled; the auction reverts to the player whose turn it is to call and proceeds as though there had been no irregularity.
(b) a bid, double or redouble by a player required by law to pass, that call and subsequent legal calls stand; but if the offender was required to pass for the remainder of the auction, he must still pass at subsequent turns.
(c) a bid of more than seven, that call and all subsequent calls are cancelled; the offender must substitute a pass, and the auction proceeds as though there had been no irregularity.
(d) a call after the auction is closed, that call and all subsequent calls are cancelled without penalty.
 

LAW 36
INADMISSIBLE DOUBLE OR REDOUBLE

(Club Law 36)

 

Any double or redouble not permitted by Law 19 is cancelled, and the offender must substitute a legal call; and (penalty) the offender's partner must pass whenever it is his turn to call (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26(b) will apply if he becomes a defender.
If the right of the non-offending side to penalize is forfeited, Law 35 applies.

 

LAW 37
BID, DOUBLE OR REDOUBLE IN VIOLATION OF
THE OBLIGATION TO PASS

A bid, double or redouble by a player who is required by law to pass is cancelled, and (penalty) both members of the offending side must pass during the remainder of the auction (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26 will apply if they become defenders.
 

LAW 38
BID OF MORE THAN SEVEN

(Club Law 38)

No contract of more than seven is ever permissible. A bid of more than seven by any player is cancelled, and (penalty) both members of the offending side must pass during the remainder of the auction (Law 23(c) may apply), and the lead penalties of Law 26 will apply if they become defenders.
 

LAW 39
CALL AFTER THE AUCTION IS CLOSED

(Club Law 39)

A call after the auction is closed is cancelled, and
(a) if it is a pass by a defender or any call by declarer or dummy, there is no penalty.
(b) if it is a bid, double or redouble by a defender, the lead penalties of Law 26 apply, unless the call has been condoned (see Law 35(d)).
 

LAW 40
PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS

(Club Law 40)

A player may make any call or play (including an intentionally misleading call such as a "psychic bid", or a call or play that departs from commonly accepted or previously announced practice) without prior announcement, provided that it is not based on a partnership understanding. But a player may not make use of a bidding or play agreement unless
(a) his side has disclosed its use of such a call or play beforehand, or
(b) it has been agreed beforehand that the use of partnership understandings be disclosed at the time they are used. His partner must then disclose it. In this case, partner's disclosure must be confined to an indication that a partnership understanding has been used; he should not offer any explanation unless requested to do so.
Any group may restrict the use of special partnership understandings in its games.

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