Illegal double or mechanical error?

The bidding went 1H - No - No - X - No - No - considerable pause then X. All three other pairs expressed surprise in some way and the second doubler looked at his bidding cards and said immediately “sorry, mechanical error, I meant to redouble”. Is he allow to make the substitution?

It seems to me that there are two possibilities:

1) the second doubler thought the previous double was something else and intended to double. In which case the substitution is not allowed.
2) the second doubler intended to redouble but was away with the fairies and pulled out the wrong card. In which case, assuming it was agreed the error mistake was pointed out immediately, the substitution should be allowed.

Are there any subtle points I am missing?


  • The third possibility is what the player said, and that he thought he was pulling out the redouble. Maybe there's not much difference between that and your No 2, and it doesn't matter because, anyway, the evidence as you have presented strongly suggests that he intended to redouble and he should be allowed to substitute.

    Barrie Partridge - Senior Kibitzer in Bridge Club Live - Pig Trader in IBLF

  • Also : whether the mistake is pointed out immediately or after a few seconds doesn't matter 'pause for thought' no longer exists. Life would have been more interesting had the auction continued after the illegal double.

  • The subtle point you are missing, Mike, is that this is not a matter of law, it is a matter of TD judgement. If it is an unintended call it may be changed without penalty, if it is not unintended then it is an illegal double. It is the TD's job to decide which, similar to his judgement as to whether there has been a hesitation or not.

  • It seemed to me that Mike was setting out his considerations for a judgement decision under Law 25A, and I agree with Mike that the player was "in time" to react as per the wording of Law 25A.

    As weejonnie says, it gets more interesting if there were two subsequent calls before the player was to have suddenly noticed, so he'd be out of time. Now we are into Law 36 and the double is described not as illegal but with the wonderful word "inadmissible"! :)

    Barrie Partridge - Senior Kibitzer in Bridge Club Live - Pig Trader in IBLF

  • As I read Law 36A, if LHO bids after the inadmissible [re]double, all calls from the double on are cancelled and the auction resumes from the point at which the double was made with no penalty to either side - so while the auction itself might get more interesting the point of law is extremely straightforward!
    Do I have that right? (I am very newly qualified).

  • If the play period has not started then you are right: the auction is re-wound to the person who made the inadmissable call and then continues. Please note that since the auction proceeds 'as if there has been no irregularity" Law 16C (information from withdrawn calls) applies, even though law 26 (withdrawn calls, lead restrictions) does not. Presumably this means (since no irregularity has occurred) that information from all cancelled calls is AI for both pairs.

    if the error is discovered after the play period starts (opening lead faced) then the FINAL contract is scored as if the inadmissable call (or calls) had not been made.

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