Opinion Piece — Ethics and The Laws

Personal Feelings About the Game of Bridge

What This Is About

Bridge HandExcept for a 15-year hiatus from my mid-twenties through my thirties, I have been playing bridge, off and on since my last year of high school (I am now 73). I feel that I’m an ethical bridge player and I like to think that I treat my opponents with respect. But I am not going to be a hypocrite. I too sometimes get so frustrated that my emotions rather than my reason jump to the fore (when that happens, I try to make sure I apologize to my opponents and assure them that I mean it, as I do).

When my emotions do get the upper-hand, it generally has something to do with how the game is played. I beg your indulgence, but that is what this article is about — how the game is played.

I play competitive (duplicate) bridge and if you are reading this, I assume you do also. That means following a strict code of conduct — The Laws of Duplicate Bridge (“The Laws”). Click on the image at the left to view or download a PDF version of The Laws from the ACBL website.

I have provided references, but rather than have them break the flow, end-notes are used. The notes are referenced by a superscript number which is a link you can use to jump to the reference. This is an example that goes nowhere.0 Hovering the mouse pointer over the superscript should show the reference as a tooltip.

As well as rules about such things as the deck of cards, playing to a trick in clockwise rotation, following suit, etc., there are other procedural rules and rules about conduct (the proprieties of the game). These are at the heart of this article.

Before starting on what may be perceived as a diatribe, I want to make sure you keep one thing in the back of your mind — no matter what I am discussing, if a player has difficulty with it because of a physical disability such as rheumatism, Parkinsons, or the like, then I strongly believe they should be given the benefit of the doubt or granted an implicit exception1 in situations such as pulling a card from the bidding box, holding onto a card they are playing to a trick (versus letting go of it and having it rest face-up on the table), etc.

Unauthorized Information (UI)

This is the root cause of most of what upsets me when playing duplicate bridge. Almost every issue I will discuss is actually an issue of UI, so it behooves us to consider Authorized and Unauthorized Information before getting into individual issues.

The Law that applies is Law 16, Authorized and Unauthorized Information. I will only quote the basics as there are some logical exceptions and a need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s that make it easy to lose sight of the basics (it is a pity the following quotes are not highlighted in The Laws):

“A player may use information in the auction or play if: (a) it derives from the legal calls and plays of the current board…”

“Any extraneous information from partner that might suggest a call or play is unauthorized. This includes remarks, questions, replies to questions, unexpected alerts or failures to alert, unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism.”

Now for the important part: It is not the provision/creation of UI that is an infraction (assuming it is not deliberate, habitual or contrary to a specific Law), but the use of the UI (whether deliberate or unconsciously).

However, despite providing UI not being an infraction, it is incumbent upon one to do one’s utmost to avoid giving UI. The Director’s job is quite difficult in UI cases. When the opponents suspect that a call or play was based on UI, it can be difficult to tell if it may have been, especially when two (or more) actions may have been “logical alternatives” and it is not clear which one(s) may have been suggested by the UI.2

Enjoyment of the Game

“A player should carefully avoid any remark or extraneous action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.”3

This needs no elaboration.


Specifics

All these issues that I am about to describe are either direct breaches of The Laws or at odds with the spirit of The Laws. Superscripts refer to the end-notes which cite applicable Laws or Regulations (for those interested). I have made them end-notes in an attempt to keep the discussion straightforward. I see many (most) of these issues multiple times every time I play at the local bridge club. Often the same issue comes up game after game with the same players.

I have read through The Laws more times than I care to admit and have never come across the word, “cheat” or “cheating”. The closest I have come is the euphemism of Law 73B2:

The gravest possible offense is for a partnership to exchange information through prearranged methods of communication other than those sanctioned by these Laws.

It is the cumulative effect of the issues I am going to discuss that have caused me to withdraw from bridge from time to time — sometimes for a week or two, sometimes for months. When these issues occur over and over again in an established partnership, especially a husband and wife partnership, I find it hard to distinguish the actions from being “prearranged”.

Although I discuss these issues in the context of the local club I play at, I have run into these issues everywhere I have played. I have had to deal with these problems, not only as a player but as an official — when I lived in Costa Rica I was Vice-President and then President of the Costa Rican NBO (National Bridge Organization)27, the counter part of the American Bridge Federation and the Canadian Bridge Federation. I was also Chairman of the Conduct and Ethics Committee.

Notes:4
  • If any of these actions are deliberate5 rather than accidental, then it is cheating.

  • Breaks in Tempo (BIT’s) are to be expected, as long as the player really has something to think about.

Face-down Opening Lead

In the ACBL, the opening lead is to be made face-down.6 Before making the face-down opening lead, the player on lead may request a review or explanation of the auction7 (see suggestion in Appendix A). The face-down opening lead may not be retracted except if allowed by the Director (and the Director may only allow it if the lead may have been influenced by misinformation from the declaring side6) or, obviously, a lead out of turn.

Once the face-down opening lead has been made, the other defender may also ask for a review or explanation of the auction.8

What Are the Problems?

The opening leader says, “Any questions (partner)?” before making the face-down opening lead. They have no right to know if their partner has questions before they make the opening lead. Whether or not partner has questions, or, worse, what the questions are, is UI. It can clearly affect, consciously or otherwise, what the opening lead is.

In fact, the questions partner has during the auction is UI — when playing top-level bridge with screens, questions and explanations are written and partners do not even know whether a question has been asked or what the answer was.

Partner of the opening leader says, “No questions!” before the face-down opening lead has been made. This, like the above, is UI.

The opening leader attempts to retract their face-down opening lead (changes their mind about what to lead).6) This is simply not allowed. It is similar to the “touch-move” rule in Chess (once you have touched the piece, you are committed to move it — as long as it is legal to move it). Something similar applies to changing a call during the auction (to be discussed later). Although it may not be obvious, the attempt to change the opening lead is UI (it says you considered a different opening lead or weren’t sure of what to lead).

Questions During the Auction

A player is allowed to ask about the meaning of an opponent’s call only when it is their turn.8 It is also against The Laws to ask about the meaning of a call purely for partner’s benefit.9

What Are the Problems?

Multiple times a session I encounter player’s asking out of turn about alerted calls. Doing so is against The Laws. It draws their partner’s attention to the alerted call (UI) and may thus affect their partner’s call.

Asking about the meaning of a call for partner’s benefit is a common, and intensely annoying, infraction (think about a reasonably strong, experienced player partnering a weaker, inexperienced player). This is partly because it is almost impossible to demonstrate this has happened, even when it seems obvious.

Players that ask about a call before the auction is over, when they have no intention of doing anything except passing, are suspect. They may, of course, simply be curious what agreement the opponents could possible have, however the time to ask is after the auction is over. The problem with asking during the auction is that it can convey UI (usually interest in the suit bid — perhaps their holding in the suit is why the asker was curious).

Clearly asking about a call that was not alerted is simply wrong (if the opponents failed to alert a bid that was alertable, the player will find out about it and will be protected when the Director is called). Almost certainly the asker has a holding in the suit that makes them curious (UI).

Notes:
  • Unless a player is contemplating something other than Pass, leave questions until after the auction is over. All questions, including those after the auction is over, may convey UI.

  • In the UK, bridge regulations remind players about the problems associated with asking about an unalerted bid. If a player does so without a demonstrable bridge reason for doing so, it is deemed to be UI and the player may well be penalized for breaking the proprieties.

  • Asking for an explanation of a call with the intent of getting an incorrect explanation, (misinformation) is strictly against The Laws.10

Alerting and Announcing

Alerts and Announcements are ACBL (the zonal organization) regulations, not Laws. Announcements are essentially Alerts, though the ACBL does not explain them as such. This discussion uses “alert” as including announcements. Both need to be given in a timely manner by the partner of the player making the call. They should be made immediately after the call and before the intervening player has called. This is so the intervening player has an opportunity to ask before making their call.11

What Are the Problems?

Too many players get involved in thinking about their call (or working out what partner’s call means) instead of first deciding whether an alert is required. While the Director protects the intervening player in the case of their having called before the late alert, that player may have made a different call had they known about the meaning of the alerted call. This puts the intervening player in an awkward situation, because they need to call the Director before the next player calls. In general, this situation (the intervening player calling the director because it may affect their call) creates UI (“if the call had been alerted before I made my call, I may have made a different call” — for example a Lead-Directing Double or a double suggesting a sacrifice).

What is even worse, is that a call is sometimes simply not alerted, even after the end of the auction (or end of the play for the defending side). When declaring, one may never know that the defenders have a special agreement about one of their calls. Occasionally, when dummy is put down, as defenders something about dummy’s hand does not seem to fit the bidding and, when questioned, Declarer or Dummy says, “Oh, that call meant…”. Similarly, towards the end of the play, declarer may realize something is “not quite right” about a defender’s hand.

Notes:
  • As well as using the Alert card from the bidding box (or tapping the alert flag if the bidding box has one), alerts are also to be spoken verbally (“Alert!”)12 — waving the Alert card around is insufficient. The other way around also holds: Saying “Alert!” is not sufficient, the Alert card has to be used as well (there are hearing-impaired players who do not always notice that something has been said or mishear single word statements).

  • If you know/think partner’s call is alertable, alert it immediately, even if you do not know what it means13 (you have forgotten your agreement) — if you are asked, then take a few seconds to figure out its meaning. If you cannot remember, then call the Director and say so. He may take you away from the table and then get your partner to explain — if this happens it is UI to your partner and they must bid as if you remembered the agreement exactly.

  • If your partner alerts a call you have made and is unable to explain it to the opponents, remember it is UI to you. You are required to bid as if your partner knows exactly what your agreements are and has bid accordingly — you should impart something meaningful to their call even if it is not a call you expect and that meaning should not be that partner has forgotten your agreement, even if you suspect that is the case. That is especially true if partner has provided any UI (deliberate creation of UI is cheating).

  • After the first round of the auction, calls higher than 3NT should not be immediately alerted, but handled by a delayed alert; that is, alerted by Dummy or Declarer after the end of the auction and before the face-down opening lead (defenders do so after the face-down opening lead).14

Playing Cards

A reminder that UI includes “… unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism.” The Laws also state that a player should refrain from detaching a card before it is their turn to play15 and that actually playing the card out of turn is an infraction16.

What Are the Problems?

A number of players have the habit of starting to detach, or actually detaching a card from their hand before it is their turn to play. This often happens late in the play. This tends to imply that they have no choice about which card to play to the trick or have already decided what card to play (UI). If this is done in anticipation of Declarer’s play and declarer (possibly influenced by the UI) plays a different card from the one expected and the defender then changes the card they had detached, it could indicate a deliberate attempt to mislead Declarer.

An illustration of the latter: With only 3 or 4 tricks to go, Declarer leads toward a tenace in dummy. If they go up with the highest card (which is the highest outstanding card in the suit), they will have fulfilled the contract; however, if they finesse and it wins, they make an over-trick (or possibly two), if they finesse and it loses, they go down — not an uncommon situation to be in. Before calling for a card from Dummy (possibly pausing to think about the odds), the defender to play last to the trick detaches a card from their hand…

Somewhat related to the above issue of detaching a card is the defender who starts to detach one card, puts it back in place to detach a different card and repeats this action (possibly more than once) before actually detaching and playing a card. This blatantly imparts UI both by showing indecision and worse, letting partner know they have a choice of more than one card to play — if they actually follow suit, it shows they have more card(s) in the suit. Whether intended or not, this may warn partner not to give declarer a ruff-sluff or alert them to a signal (count, attitude, suit preference) being given.

Some players tend to play cards with an exaggerated motion… but not all the time. Gestures or snapping cards can be irritating. Both these mannerisms may possibly give UI.

Another annoying mannerism is the player who continues to hold onto the card just played rather than let go, allowing the card to lie flat. A number of players do this. One of the reasons it is annoying is that it can make it hard for another player(s) to see the face of the card clearly.

There is one thing that some players do that almost always provides UI: Reorganizing their hand in the middle of play. Invariable it is done just after having played their last card to a trick (because they want to keep their hand with the suits in alternating colours).

Notes:
  • Play to tricks in a consistent manner.

  • Avoid exaggerated gestures.

  • Do not detach a card from your hand until it is your turn to play.

  • Do not rearrange your hand during the play, even if you are declarer.

Arranging the Cards (tracking tricks won and lost)

The Laws are clear on this17:

“If a player’s side has won the trick, the card is pointed lengthwise toward his partner.”

“If the opponents have won the trick, the card is pointed lengthwise toward the opponents.”

What Are the Problems?

Violating this law is an infraction. It can be irritating and annoying to the opponents and may mislead the Director if he is called over a potential infraction of the Laws. It may, and often does, cause a waste of time at the end of the play when checking the result (how many tricks declarer and the defense took) — it is frustrating enough that some players seem unable to decide if a contract made when the tricks have been accurately tracked by all players.

Notes:
  • I had a partner in Costa Rica who consistently reversed the direction tricks were to be pointed. I think it annoyed me more than the opponents!

Coffee Housing

This is defined as “The act of distracting an opponent by chattering”18.

What Are the Problems?

This clearly violates The Laws19. Do not do this!

Expressions (UI)

A reminder that UI includes “… unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism.”20

What Are the Problems?

The problems are almost too numerous to list and all covey UI. Here are three examples:

  • Grimacing when partner makes a lead.

  • Showing surprise when partner alerts a call.

  • Looking quizzically at partner when expecting them to alert a call.21

Notes:
  • Do not stare at any player, especially partner, during the auction or play of a hand. Any information gleaned from partner’s expressions are UI — deliberately looking for them is cheating.

Tempo

This is one of the really difficult issues to deal with, especially as it often boils down to a “he said/she said” situation (or “one side said/the other side said”). The Law covering tempo is two pages long.22 While a player should attempt to maintain uniform tempo, it is recognized there are times when a player may have to take extra time to think before making a call or play.

A break in tempo, a “BIT”, (including undue haste) provides UI to partner. It may also mislead the opponents who are allowed to base their calls and plays on an opponent’s break in tempo (but only at their own risk23). If, however, a player is mislead by an opponent’s BIT and there is no reasonable bridge reason for the BIT, then the player may be entitled to an adjusted score (because it could have been intended to deceive, not that it was).

What Are the Problems?

The following is only a sampling of the issues.

  • You pre-empt 2. As soon as your bid card is tabled the opponent’s Pass card hits the table — no pause for thought, no uncertainty. This is blatant UI.

  • Again, you pre-empt 2. This time the opponent takes 20 seconds to Pass. Your partner passes and the other opponent… Well, what do they do? Contrast this Pass with the previous Pass.

  • You open 1 , opponent considers their hand and Passes in tempo, partner raises to 2 . The next player breaks tempo and finally Passes. Again we have UI. You Pass. What about the partner of the player who broke tempo?

Let us explore that last instance of UI.

Does the partner of the player who broke tempo balance at the 3-level with a 5-card diamond suit and 10 points? Suppose they do. Would they have done so if their partner had passed in tempo?

When thinking about this issue, remember that the opening bidder has about 13-15 points and responder 6-9. They have a maximum that is 24 points between them. Suppose the opener and their partner are very aggressive bidders and opener has 12-15 points and responder 4-9 (4 being an Ace). Then the minimum they hold could be 18 points.-Even if you posit that they have the average, so only have 21 points between them, should the player really be balancing at the 3-level? You might say, “Maybe, but it’s risky.”

But it’s not risky at all, is it? They are in possession of the UI that their partner was considering something other than Pass.

Notes:
  • Remember that it is not the creation of UI that is an infraction; it is only when partner’s play or call could have been affected by it. In that case the offending player may be penalized; however, the opponents only get an adjusted score if they were actually damaged. Procedural and disciplinary penalties are levied against a side (or player in an individual event) and are applied to their total score. They do not apply the board.

  • When the director is called because of a BIT, it is not an accusation of cheating. The partner of a player who broke tempo is in an awkward situation. What call to make may seem absolutely obvious to them and they may not have been consciously aware that UI affected their call. Or maybe it didn’t, but the player calling the director doesn’t know that until the hand is over.

The Bidding Box24

Choosing a Call Using Bidding Boxes

A player is obligated to choose a call before touching any card in the box. Deliberation while touching the bidding box cards may subject the offending side to the adjustment provisions of Law 16.

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.

We should use unauthorized information where reasonably appropriate (where we can rule that a bid has not been made). For close cases simply judge that the card had not left the confines of the box; therefore, a call has not been made.

A call may be changed without penalty, under the provisions of Law 25A, only if a player has inadvertently taken out the wrong bidding card and the player corrects or attempts to correct his mistake without pause for thought and the player’s partner has not made a call.

The onus is on the player to convince the director that a mechanical irregularity has occurred. Calls from different pockets should rarely, if at all, be judged as inadvertent.

ACBL regulations also contain an “understandable” exception which was pulling out a Double card and then a bid card that skips the bidding — this is understandable because both cards are red and the player’s intent is absolutely clear. Since there are no Stop cards in the club’s bidding boxes, that does not apply. However, I can give another “understandable” exception in which I have been the unwitting offender: saying “Alert!” while pulling a card out of the front pocket of the bidding box which is not the Alert card.

While my example is not colour-confusion (unless the Redouble card has been pulled), it is understandable due to haste — alerts need to be made in a timely fashion before the intervening player makes a call.

What Are the Problems?

Too many players repeatedly violate the rule: “A player is obligated to choose a call before touching any card in the box. Deliberation while touching the bidding box cards may subject the offending side to the adjustment provisions of Law 16.”

It shows indecision about the call to be made, indicating a choice of calls. Touching a bid card from that section of the bidding box, then fingering a Pass card (or any card) from the other section of the bidding box is a clear case of UI, regardless of the eventual call it suggests a close decision. What is blatant UI is fingering a bid card(s) and then selecting to Pass (suggesting the player thought about bidding or over-calling) or Double (suggesting an off-shape or light double). The behaviour is particularly annoying as our club directors rarely do anything but admonish the offender not to indulge in the behaviour (without a consequence, there is rarely any change in behaviour).

Notes:
  • Keep your hand away from the bidding box until you have decided on a call, then reach for the bidding box and make it.

The End of the Auction25

Every player gets to make a call. This means that if no player makes a bid (i.e. the players all Pass), the auction ends after 4 Passes. If any player makes a bid, then the auction ends after 3 consecutive passes.

What Are the Problems?

The problem is that players frequently assume the auction is going to end. There are two situations that arise frequently enough to make me want to tear out my hair (what little of it is left!):

  1. A player bids game (or slam) and then puts their fingers under their bid cards ready to gather them up to put back in the bidding box.

  2. A player bids game (or slam), the next player Passes and their partner actually starts to gather up their bid cards to put back in the bidding box.

Let me repeat for emphasis, the auction is not over until a bid is followed by 3 consecutive Passes. Both these actions are highly presumptuous. The first one is blatant UI (“Hey partner, I expect the auction to be over.”); the second one assumes there is not going to be a Double or a sacrifice bid.

Keeping Score

This is a tricky one. Players have every right to keep a private score (when playing in a Team game, one player on each side is required to keep a score, but it is not really a private score as it may have to be turned in to the director).

At the club, we tend to be mainly concerned with duplicate pairs events in which a very small number of boards (generally 2 to 4 boards) are played against an opposing pair in each round. A round may be as short as 14 or 15 minutes or as long as almost a 1/2-hour. Basically, pairs are allotted about 7 minutes per board. With normal play, this is plenty of time to complete the round. It may be a little tight for a two-board round if one of the deals is a particularly difficult one to bid or play, but for the most part extra time required for one board can easily be made up on the others.

What Are the Problems?

Since slow play (taking more than the allotted time for a round) inconveniences all the players (there is a domino effect when a table is still playing after the round is called), it could be penalized (“unduly slow play by a contestant”)26.

However there are other things that are frequently discussed in bridge articles, including those about etiquette. They cover such things as continuing to chat with the opponents after completion of the round instead of moving to the next table that contribute to taking more than the allotted time.

One of the truly irritating ones involves when players record the contract in their private scores and when they enter the results.

It is common courtesy that when the auction is over, the player on lead makes their lead before they enter the contract into their private score. Similarly, Dummy should face their hand after the opening lead has been faced, before they update their private score.

The same sort of issue arises when Bridge Mates are passed around the table for the players to check — do not hold onto the Bridge Mate while you enter the result in your private score, pass it on and then enter the score.


Appendix A — A Suggestion

After the Final Pass

We use bidding boxes, so after the final Pass in an auction, all the calls are visible. But that generally only lasts for a second or two unless a player speaks up quickly and asks for the bidding cards to be left out.

I would like to suggest a small change in procedure [a suggestion also raised by other people, in other places, — so not new with me]:

The player to make the final Pass should take a Pass card from their bidding box and place it face up in the normal place in front of them (that is, actually make their call using a card from their bidding box) rather than just making some signal that they are passing (e.g., tapping the table or gathering up their bidding cards).

All the bidding cards remain on the table while:

  1. The player on lead asks questions (if they have any).

  2. The player on lead makes their face-down opening lead.

  3. The player on lead then asks their partner if they have any questions (or their partner skips to the next item of their own accord).

  4. Their partner asks questions (if they have any).

  5. The player on lead faces the opening lead.

  6. Declarer’s partner faces the dummy.

  7. If, on seeing dummy, declarer has questions about the opponents’ calls in the auction, they ask them of the appropriate defender.

  8. Only then does everyone replace their bidding cards in their bidding box.

This change will not prolong the play of a board; it may, and often will, speed things up (see below).

  • It becomes unnecessary for anyone to ask for a review of the auction (time consuming).

  • It should be unnecessary for anyone to ask if they are to make the opening lead (time consuming).

  • If anyone has questions about the auction, the auction is there for everyone to see (and the call being questioned can be seen in the context of the whole auction).

  • No player should try to return their bidding cards to their bidding box before the auction ends.

  • If, prior to the opening lead being faced, it is discovered that a player(s) have been misinformed about the opposing side’s agreement(s), the Director may allow a Pass to be withdrawn (see Law 21(B) for the circumstances) and another call substituted. Effectively, the auction may not be over until the opening lead is faced. If the above procedure is not followed (which currently is the norm), then the whole auction may need to be reconstructed.


  1. https://www.acbl.org/tournaments_page/charts-rules-and-regulations/tournament-specific-regulations/conditions-of-contest/. The following quote is from the section on “Entry and Participation”.

    TDs shall make every reasonable effort to accommodate players with special needs. The DIC shall, in his opinion, ensure that no such accommodation provides a special advantage to such a player or significantly impedes the orderly progress of the event. TDs, in providing an accommodation, shall be reasonably consistent with the intent of the conditions of contest (CoC) for the event. Except for minor accommodations (e.g. stationary positions), the DIC must be notified in advance in order to ensure that an accommodation can be provided.

  2. Law 16B1(a) — “A player may not choose a call or play that is demonstrably suggested over another by unauthorized information if the other call or play is a logical alternative.”
  3. Law 74A2 — “A player should carefully avoid any remark or extraneous action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.”
  4. Law 73D and 73E — The first law covers “Variations in Tempo or Manner”; the second “Deception”.
  5. Law 72B1 — “A player must not infringe a law intentionally, even if there is a prescribed rectification he is willing to accept.”
  6. Law 41A — “After a bid, double or redouble has been followed by three passes in rotation, the defender on the presumed declarer’s left makes the opening lead face down. The face-down lead may be withdrawn only upon instruction of the Director after an irregularity (see Laws 47E and 54); the withdrawn card must be returned to the defender’s hand.”
  7. Law 20C2 — “Declarer or either defender may, at his first turn to play, require all previous calls to be restated. (See Laws 41B and 41C). As in B the player may not ask for only a partial restatement or halt the review.”

    Law 20F2 — “After the final pass and throughout the play period, either defender at his own turn to play may request an explanation of the opposing auction. At his turn to play from his hand or from dummy declarer may request an explanation of a defender’s call or card play understandings. Explanations should be given on a like basis to 1 and by the partner of the player whose action is explained.”

  8. Law 41B — “Before the opening lead is faced, the leader’s partner and the presumed declarer (but not the presumed dummy) each may require a review of the auction, or request explanation of an opponent’s call (see Law 20F2 and 20F3). Declarer or either defender may, at his first turn to play a card, require a review of the auction; this right expires when he plays a card. The defenders (subject to Law 16) and declarer retain the right to request explanations throughout the play period, each at his own turn to play.”
  9. Law 20G1 — “A player may not ask a question if his sole purpose is to benefit partner.”
  10. Law 20G2 — “A player may not ask a question if his sole purpose is to elicit an incorrect response from an opponent.”
  11. ACBL Alert Procedures: “Immediate Alerts” http://web2.acbl.org/documentLibrary/play/AlertProcedures.pdf — “Immediate Alerts are given at the time partner makes a call which requires an Alert. These Alerts are given in the form described under ‘How to Alert’ above.”
  12. ACBL Alert Procedures (see above link) and ACBL Alert Chart — “Using bidding boxes, an Alert is made by tapping an Alert card on the table or by tapping the Alert strip on the side of the bid box. In addition, the Alerter must say ‘Alert’.”
  13. ACBL Alert Procedures (see above link): “Players who remember that a call requires an Alert but cannot remember the meaning must still Alert.”
  14. ACBL Alert Procedures (see above link): “Delayed Alert (or Post-Alert): Alerts given after the auction is completed for Alertable bids above the level of 3NT starting with the opening bidder’s second turn to call. The dummy or declarer Alerts the defenders before the opening lead. The defenders Alert after the opening lead has been made but before it is faced.”
  15. Law 74B3 — Before the list, Law 74B states “As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:”. Law 74B3 states “detaching a card before it is his turn to play.”
  16. Law 57A — “When a defender leads to the next trick before his partner has played to the current trick, or plays out of turn before his partner has played, the card so led or played becomes a major penalty card, and declarer selects of of the following options. He may: …”
  17. Law 65B — “

    1. If the player’s side has won the trick, the card is pointed lengthwise toward his partner.
    2. If the opponents have won the trick, the card is pointed lengthwise toward the opponents.
    3. A player may draw attention to a card pointed incorrectly, but this right expires when his side leads or plays to the following trick. If done later Law 16B may apply.”

    Law 65C — “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 completion, if necessary to determine the number of tricks won by each side or the order in which the cards were played.”

  18. Wikipedia’s dictionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/coffeehousing) — “
    1. The act of distracting an opponent by chattering.
    2. By extension, unethical behaviour at the table during bridge or another game.”
  19. Law 74B2 — Before the list, Law 74B states “As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:”. Law 74B2 states “making gratuitous comments during the auction and play.”
  20. Law 16B1 — “Any extraneous information from partner that might suggest a call or play is unauthorized. This includes remarks, questions, replies to questions, unexpected alerts or failures to alert, unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism”
  21. Law 74C5 — “looking intently at any other player during the auction and 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 appropriate to act on information acquired by unintentionally seeing an opponents card).” — There is an interesting footnote which says, “See Law 73D2 when a player may have shown his cards intentionally.” (It is about misleading an opponent by violating procedure.
  22. Law 73 — This is about “Communication, Tempo and Deception”.
  23. Law 73D1 — “It is desirable, though not always required, for players to maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner. However, players should be particularly careful when variations may work to the benefit of their side. Otherwise, unintentionally to vary the tempo or manner in which a call or play is made is not an infraction. Inferences from such variations are authorized only to the opponents, who may act upon the information at their own risk.”
  24. ACBL Bidding Box Regulations (https://www.acbl.org/tournaments_page/charts-rules-and-regulations/bidding-box-regulations/
  25. Law 22 — “The auction ends when:
    1. one or more players having bid, there are three consecutive passes in rotation subsequent to the last bid. The last bid becomes the contract (but see Law 19D).
    2. all four players pass (but see Law 25). The hands are returned to the board without play. There shall not be a redeal.”
  26. Law 90B2 — Before the list, Law 90B states “The following are examples of offenses subject to procedural penalty (but the offenses are not limited to these):”. Law 90B2 states “unduly slow play by a contestant.”
  27. The Costa Rican NBO, the ARNB, website it broken. I suspect it was not kept up after I left Costa Rica. You can, however, find information about bridge in Costa Rica, including the ARNB de Costa Rica, here https://livinglifeincostarica.blogspot.com/2012/07/where-to-play-bridge-in-costa-rica.html (you need to scroll down the page a little).

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