EBU introduces “BB@B” (Best Behavior at Bridge)

Following up on the American Contract Bridge Leagues “ZT” (Zero Tolerence), the European Bridge Union as initiated its own version with a more positive spin. The EBU’s “Best Behavior at Bridge” focuses more on the carrot than the stick, offering this handy code of conduct:


• Greet others in a friendly manner prior to start of play on each round.
• Be a good ‘host’ or ‘guest’ at the table.
• Make your convention card readily available to your opponents and fill it out completely.
• Make bridge enjoyable for yourself, partner and opponents.
• Give credit when opponents make a good bid or play.
• Take care of your personal grooming.
• Ensure that your mobile phone is turned off.
• Enjoy the company as well as the game.

The EBU’s BB@B offers a refreshingly positive perspective to Law 74, Conduct and Etiquette:

A. Proper Attitude
1. Courtesy
A player should maintain a courteous attitude at all times.
2. Etiquette of Word and Action
A player 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.
3. Conformity to Correct Procedure
Every player should follow uniform and correct procedure in calling and playing.

B. Etiquette
As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:
1. paying insufficient attention to the game.
2. making gratuitous comments during the auction and play.
3. detaching a card before it is his turn to play.
4. prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.
5. summoning and addressing the Director in a manner discourteous to him or to other contestants.

Ditto on the ACBL’s no-nonsence clear yet more somber Zero Tolerence guidelines:


The ultimate purpose of the Z-T policy is to create a much more pleasant atmosphere in our NABCs. We are attempting to eradicate unacceptable behavior in order to make the game of bridge more enjoyable for all. Below are some examples of commendable behavior, which, while not required, will significantly contribute to the improved atmosphere:

Being a good ‘host’ or ‘guest’ at the table.

Greeting others in a friendly manner. Praising the bidding and/or play of the opponents.

Having two clearly completed convention cards readily available to the opponents (This one is a regulation, not just a nicety).

The following list are some examples of behavior which will not be tolerated:

Badgering, rudeness, insinuations, intimidation, profanity, threats, or violence.

Negative comments concerning opponents’ or partner’s play or bidding.

Constant and gratuitous lessons and analyses at the table.

Loud and disruptive arguing with a director’s ruling.

If a player at the table behaves in an unacceptable manner, the director should be called immediately. Annoying behavior, embarrassing remarks, or any other conduct which might interfere with the enjoyment of the game is specifically prohibited by Law 74A. Law 91A gives the director the authority to assess disciplinary penalties.

The following procedures have been given to the tournament directors for implementation.

At the start of each event, the director shall make an announcement that the tournament will be observing ZERO TOLERANCE for unacceptable behavior. It is requested that the director be called whenever behavior is not consistent with the guidelines outlined above.

The director, when called, shall make an assessment of the situation. If it is established that there was unacceptable behavior, an immediate ¼ board disciplinary penalty (3 IMP in team games) shall be assigned to all offenders. This may involve any one or all four players at the table irrespective of who initiated the unacceptable behavior. If both members of a partnership are guilty, the penalties are additive (¼ board EACH = ½ board!). The Board of Directors strongly believes that assignment of disciplinary penalties will improve the overall behavior at our tournaments.

If it is determined that the same offender is responsible for a second offense in the same event, then the offender(s) shall be ejected from future competition in that event. An offender removed from an event shall be deemed to have not played in the event, no masterpoints will be awarded and no refunds will be made. All previously-obtained results shall, however, remain valid as to their effect upon other competitors. In the case of a serious offense and in the case of multiple offenses (three) during a tournament, a disciplinary committee may be convened to determine whether the offender(s) should be allowed to play in other events at the tournament and/or whether additional sanctions may be appropriate.

Warnings are strongly discouraged and will be given only when there is no clear violation or in cases where the facts cannot be determined. Offenders are to receive immediate penalties. Regardless of who may have initiated unacceptable behavior, ALL offenses are punishable. Retaliatory behavior is a punishable offense. Frivolous accusations will also be considered as offenses under this policy.

In accordance with the Laws of Duplicate Bridge, a director’s decision to impose a disciplinary is final; however, all such decisions may be appealed. An appeals committee may not overturn the director’s decision, but could recommend that the director reconsider the imposition of a penalty. It should be noted that the committee may feel that the penalty assessed was not severe enough and may refer the matter to a disciplinary committee.

A Zero Tolerance Report Form shall be available for players to report incidents which occur away from the table; and for directors to document complaints and action taken. The DIC shall provide a summary report of all behavioral penalties to the Tournament Chairman and/or Recorder.

By the way, here’s a few additional ACBL tips on etiquette:

1. Not paying sufficient attention. See Slow Play
2. Making gratuitous comments during the play as to the auction or the inadequacy of the contract
3. Detaching a card from the hand before it is the players turn
4. Arranging the cards played from a previous trick in a disorderly manner or mixing the cards together before the result has been agreed by all players
5. Making a questionable claim
6. Prolonging play unnecessarily

For the latest on the ACBL’s Zero Tolerence policy, see: