Laws of Duplicate Bridge, Condensed

Insufficent Bid – 27

  • It is accepted if LHO calls (no penalty)
  • Can be corrected, and can even be changed if new call has a more precise meaning
  • If Offender corrects with anything other than the lowest possible legal bid in the same strain (I.e., a new strain, or a higher bid), or passes, his Ptnr is barred from the bidding.
  • X or XX may not be substituted
  • A lead restriction per 26 may apply

Change of Call – 25

  • A slip of fingers okay, a change mind is not
  • An unintended call can be changed if Ptnr has not bid yet. An intended call cannot be changed.
  • LHO may withdraw and/or change his call

 Fingering the Bid Box and moving fingers from one bid to the other – 73D1

  • This is a violation of correct procedure, not a violation of the laws. If unintentional it’s perfectly OK, but Ptnr must avoid making a call based on information conveyed if he has a logical alternative available.
  • If a call is withdrawn from the box, but not played it is unauthorized info and Ptnr must make his next logical bid without taking in to account Ptnr’s unauthorized info
  • Stop card is not a bid or call and so doesn’t count as unauthorized

Call out of Turn – 29

  • LHO may call with no further rectification
  • If not, Dir reverts to player whose turn it was and Offender may make any call but his side may be subject to rectification per 30, 31 or 32

 Pass Out of Turn – 30

  • Before any player has called: must pass once
  • At RHO’s turn to call: must pass once
  • At LHO’s turn to call: LHO may accept, if not, must pass once
  • At Ptnr’s turn to call: Offender must pass for rest of auction

 Bid Out of Turn – 31

  • At RHO’s turn and if RHO passes: must repeat call; if RHO bids and a) he repeats his denomination Ptnr must pass once; or, if b) he changes denomination, Ptnr is barred from bidding
  • At LHO’s turn Ptnr is barred from bidding and Offender can bid anything he wants to when it’s his turn
  • At Ptnr’s turn, Ptnr is barred from bidding and Offender can bid anything when it’s his turn

X or XX Out of Turn 32

  • At RHO’s turn and RHO passes: must repeat X or XX; if RHO bids Offender may make any legal bid, but Ptnr is barred from bidding
  • At LHO’s turn to call: it may be accepted; if not, the X or XX is cancelled and a lead restriction may apply
  • At Ptnr’s turn to call, Ptnr is barred from bidding and Offender can bid anything when it’s his turn

Opening Lead Out of Turn – 54

  • May be retracted if an opponent told the offending leader that it was his lead when it wasn’t
  • Declarer must accept the lead if he has seen any cards in dummy. Otherwise there are 5 choices for Declarer:
  1. May accept the lead and see dummy before playing from own hand
  2. May accept the lead and let Partner declare (if he exposes a card he must become dummy)
  3. Can reject the lead and require LHO to lead that suit one time only and RHO puts the mis-led card back in his hand
  4. May prohibit the lead and LHO has to lead another suit for as long as he has the lead; offender puts mis-led card back in his hand
  5. Can let LHO lead whatever he wants and RHO’s improperly led card becomes a major penalty card. If LHO retains or regains the lead while RHO still has the penalty card on the table you have choice of exercising these options each time LHO leads.

 Review/Explanation of Calls – 20

  • A bidding review can occur at any time, but an Opp must deliver it, and must repeat entire sequence

Establishment of a Revoke – 63

  • Established = when Offender or his Ptnr leads or plays to the following trick.

Correction of a Revoke – 62

  • Player must correct if he becomes aware before revoke is established. Defender’s withdrawn card is a major penalty card; Declarer’s can be replaced without rectification subject to 43B2(b)
  • Cards played to a revoke may be withdrawn without penalty if card played before revoke was revealed; except Ptnr of revoker may not withdraw his card if his RHO has not changed his card.
  • Ptnr of a Defending revoker may withdraw his card if RHO withdrew his, but it becomes a major penalty card
  • 12th trick: Revoke must be corrected before cards returned to tray. If defender revokes, and his Ptnr has 2 suits, his Pntr cannot choose a card that could have been suggested by the revoke

After a Revoke – 64

  • No Penalty

– When offenders did not win revoke trick or any subsequent trick

– If it’s a second revoke in same suit by same player (but 64C re: unauthorized              information may apply)

       – If revoke was made in failing to play any card faced on the table, including          dummy

– If attention to revoke was first drawn to the revoke after a member of the non-          offending side has made a call on the next deal

       – If it’s on the 12th trick

  • 1-Trick Penalty

– If the revoke trick was won or if any trick was won thereafter by the offending side

  • 2-Trick penalty

– If the revoke trick was won and if any trick was won subsequently

  • Note: 64C

– Director should adjust score if result is inequitable. Non-offenders should receive               equity,  not a reward.


  • If Partner huddles before passing you can still bid, but it must be a bid that competent players would have made with or without the Pass from Partner. While huddles, hesitations and out-of-tempo bidding are not infractions (everybody is allowed time to think), Director can award an adjusted score if s/he feels you gained unauthorized information from the huddle, such as he’s on the cusp re: point count. If opponents feel they have been harmed Director can call on experts for help before making a decision.

 Someone Leads before Bidding Starts

  • Led card is a major penalty card unless he or Ptnr become declarer
  • He also is barred from bidding one round

Call Withdrawn – 26

  • Can change a call, but there is a lead restriction. No restriction on suit changed to; but there is a restriction on suit(s) changed from unless Offender later bids the suit or suits of the call he withdrew.

1C – 2C changed to 1H: lead restriction is a spade because of Michaels

1C – 2C changed 1NT:   lead restriction on both hearts and spades

  • If no suit is referred to as in NT Declarer may prohibit Offender’s Ptnr from leading any one suit for the whole time he retains the lead; he may demand the lead of that suit; or if two suits were involved, he may choose which suit to lead
  • If Offender withdraws a call because it’s insufficient and he passes instead there is no lead penalty, but Dir. may have to adjust score.   1C – 1NT – P – 3NT

3C changed to P (suggests long clubs)

Inadmissible X and XX – 36

  • In the case of P – X , Doubler must call and Ptnr is barred from the bidding; but if LHO calls before rectification, the auction proceeds as if there was no irregularity
  • If both Ptnrs Double (as in 1S – X – P – X), 2nd Doubler must call (pass is OK) and his Ptnr is barred from the bidding. Also, may be a lead restriction (as in 1S – 3D – 4D – 5 X – P – X (prohibit lead of a spade)

Mistaken Bid – 75

  • If your Ptnr bid incorrectly, but you explained correctly, you are under no obligation to correct anything.

Opening Lead – 41

  • A face-down opening lead may not be withdrawn unless the Director so directs (as in failure to alert)

Lead Out of Turn During the Play – 57

  • If Declarer leads from dummy or his hand incorrectly, either Opponent may accept the LOOT or require retraction. If Defenders disagree, Defender next in turn from hand which led OOT has precedence.
  • Declarer is not required to lead the same suit; and the LOOT card is put back with no penalty.
  • If Defender leads out of turn during the play his card becomes a major penalty card and Declarer selects one of the following options:

– Require Offender’s Ptnr to lead the highest card he holds in Offender’s sui

-Require the lead of the lowest card he holds on Offender’s suit

– Forbid the lead of a specific suit of his choice

  • If a player is void in suit required to comply with a rectification, or if he holds only prohibited cards, he may play any legal card
  • If Declarer or Dummy has already played, no penalty
  • A lead or play made simultaneously with another player’s legal lead or play is deemed to be subsequent

 Premature Lead or Play – 57

  • When a Defender leads a card before his Ptnr has played to the last trick, Declarer has 3 options:
  1. May require Offender’s Ptnr to play the highest card he holds in the suit led…
  2. Or the lowest card he holds (if he can’t comply he can play any legal card)
  3. Or he may prohibit Offender’s Ptnr from leading a specific suit
  • There is no penalty if Declarer has played from both hands or indicated a play from dummy or if Dummy has played a card on his own initiative or has illegally suggested a card
  • A premature play by Declarer from either hand is considered a played card and may not be withdrawn

Simultaneous Leads or Plays – 58

  • If by 2 players, the non-legal lead or play is deemed subsequent
  • If from same hand:

– Only 1 card visible, other is retracted with no penalty

– If visible, player says which card he intended to play and the other(s) becomes a        major penalty card

– If anybody played to a withdrawn card he can withdraw his play with no                    rectification

– If simultaneous play is undiscovered until both sides have played to the next trick see Law 67. If unseen, Director can return the card(s) to hand; if seen it becomes a revoke

Play After an Illegal Play – 60

  • If a non-offender plays a card following an irregularity or before rectification, the right to rectification is forfeited and the illegal play is treated as if it were in turn
  • If it was the non-offender’s turn to lead his play stands and Offender can return the penalty card to his hand if it was not a legal card to play
  • Any previous obligation to play a penalty card remains
  • If Defender plays a card after Declarer has been required to retract it’s a major penalty card
  • If Defender plays before rectification, Defenders rights are not affected, but Defender’s play may itself be subject to rectification

Retraction of a Card Played – 47 (deals with misinformation from an Opp)

  • May be retracted a) to comply with a penalty (card becomes a penalty card), b) to correct an illegal play (revoke), or c) to change an inadvertent designation (Decl called wrong card from dummy)
  • If Defender revokes, both Declarer and Offender’s Ptnr can change cards, but both Defenders cards are now penalty cards
  • Defender can retract based on misinformation (your turn to play)
  • If Declarer says ‘run them from the top’ he may change his mind on the second round if he wants to

Card Played – 45

  • Applies to Declarer too. If he holds it in such a way to indicate he wants to play it, it’s played
  • A player may correct if it was inadvertent. An Opp may also change his play if correction occurred after he played.
  • Cannot change a call from Dummy based on LHO’s card
  • If Declarer says play anything, Opps may decide which card must be played in Dummy
  • If Defender card is faced to Declarer but not to his Ptnr it’s not necessarily a played card
  • A fifth card played becomes a penalty card


Exposure of Declarers Cards – 48

  • Never a penalty for declarer; but he can’t retract and change a card intentionally

Exposure of Defenders Cards – 49

  • A card exposed accidentally or led becomes a penalty card
  • If he tells Decl it doesn’t matter what he plays (because I have the Ace) that card becomes a penalty card

Disposition of Penalty Cards – 50

  • A minor penalty card = 9 or lower

– If its exposure was accidental, it does not need to be played at the first opportunity. Offender can play a higher card of the same suit, but not a lower card.

  • A major penalty card = 10 or higher

– A major penalty card must be played at the first opportunity

  • Any penalty card, whether minor or major must be played if Offender is on lead
  • If two penalty cards are on the table and it is Offender’s turn to play Declarer can designate which card to play, or if Offender’s partner is on lead Declarer can require Offender’s Ptnr to lead that suit, or prohibits the lead, and both cards are picked up and Offender can make any legal play

Agreed Claim or Concession – 69

  • A player can withdraw a concession agreement if his side could actually have won a contested trick
  • If one defender concedes, his Ptnr may object. Dir. must be called immediately to insure no unauthorized information is imparted.
  • If Declarer claims and his claim is rejected Dir. should be called and he must repeat his claim statement and then outline his line of play
  • If he has not outlined his play, then any reasonable line of play can be assumed, even if it may lead to losing all the remaining tricks. Ex: in NT, Declarer has three good hearts and the King of Clubs. But Defender has Ace of Clubs and 3 good diamonds. Unless Claimer has clearly stated he is playing his hearts first and then the King of Clubs (in which case he gets 3 more tricks and loses 1), Dir. can assume he might actually have led the King of Clubs, having forgotten that the Ace was still out) and award defenders all the remaining tricks
  • In a claim it is assumed that trumps are played top-down. Defenders are not entitled to a trick they don’t deserve
  • But if he claims saying he’ll lose a trick to a higher trump when there is none out higher, if he has a lower trump Dir. must assume he could have led it thus losing a trick he needn’t have lost had he counted trump correctly.
  • Claim can also be rejected if a Defender might have over-trumped had Claimer trumped low
  • Even if one of the opponents agreed before, his partner may propose a different line of play consistent with the claim statement for an extra trick (or more).
  • If the claim appears to be wrong, Dir. adjusts it
  • The correction period extends to the next board, but before either opponent calls for the first time


  • Must alert a direct splinter. But a splinter by Opener past 3NT does not need to be alerted.


Card(s) Exposed Prior to Play – 24

  • If a card is exposed before play begins it’s a penalty card and must be left face-up until the auction ends
  • If player becomes defender, there is no further rectification, but if it’s an honor, the offender’s Ptnr must pass at next turn. If 2 cards or more are exposed, Ptnr must also pass, even if they are not honors.
  • If offender becomes declarer there is no further rectification

Card(s) Exposed During Play – 57

  • If a player drops a card by accident, it’s a minor or major penalty card depending on whether it is a 10 or higher or a 9 or lower.
  • If he drops 2 cards, they’re both major penalty cards

Missing Card – 14

  • A card restored to a hand is deemed to have belonged continuously to the deficient hand and may thus constitute a revoke

Procedure After Auction Has Ended – 22

  • No re-deals allowed (for instance if all Passed)

 Incorrect Number of Cards – 13

  • Director will correct if there has been no call
  • After a call, Dir may still correct and leave the bids to stand, but he can award an adjusted score later if he decides the card in question affected the result
  • If somebody has seen a card belonging to another hand, play can continue if Dir decides the card is inconsequential; if seen card will likely affect bidding or play, Dir can award an adjusted score
  • If incorrectly dealt, re-deal and previous results are cancelled
  • If play is completed and an incorrect card count is noted, the result is cancelled and an adjusted score is awarded. An offender is liable to a procedural penalty of 25 matchpoints

Play of Wrong Board -15

  • If players haven’t played the board before, the result stands; Dir may require same players to play the correct board against each other later
  • If players have played the board before, the score is cancelled and Dir will award a adjusted score
  • Director may also require Offenders to play the same board against correct Opponents, telling Offenders they must bid exactly the same, if possible. He will adjust the score if need be and may award of procedural penalty of 25 matchpoints.
  • If discovered during the auction, Dir seats new Opps and old Opps must bid exactly as before

Seeing Incorrect Cards

  • E/W can become N/S; not a problem in a Howell, correction can be made in Score for Mitchell
  • Can designate a substitute player
  • Can award an adjusted score
  • In team game, if board hasn’t been played, it can be re-dealt

 Cards from Wrong Board – 17

  • If a player picks up wrong cards, his call is cancelled. He picks up correct cards and bidding proceeds.
  • If Offender’s LHO has called over the cancelled call, and if Director believes the non-offending side hasbeen harmed, he may award an adjusted score unless Offender’s call is the exact same as his cancelled call, in which case there is no rectification.

Dummy – 42/43

  • Dummy may ask Declarer if he has followed suit, but not a Defender.
  • He may not initiate a call to Director during play, but may point out an irregularity, such as a revoke, when play has ended.
  • Declarer’s Ptnr is not dummy until he lays the dummy down, so he may call the Dir. on an improper opening lead
  • He may object to a concession made by Declarer
  • Dummy cannot call attention to an irregularity until play is complete – 42 and 43 – penalty under 90
  • May not tell Ptnr he has a trick turned incorrectly unless right away – 65
  • May warn Declarer against leading from wrong hand
  • If Declarer calls for a strain only, it’s assumed Dummy should pull the lowest; if he asks for a rank only, it’s assumed he should pull that rank of the last-played strain; may not ask Which jack?

Partnership Understandings – 40

  • Player may make any bid that will fool Opps and Ptnr equally
  • Psychic calls okay, an ‘integral part of bridge’, but not frequent or random
  • Can be used to head off specific leads

Failure to Play a Penalty Card – 52

  • Offender cannot withdraw the card he played instead of the penalty card. Declarer can accept the play. He must accept if he has already played from his own hand. The card remains a penalty card.
  • If Declarer does not accept the play, Offender must substitute the penalty card and the illegally-played card now becomes a major penalty card