Law 41 - nitpicking question 2

When LHO has selected his/her lead and RHO has announced "no questions partner", what recourse does Declarer have if LHO says "whoops, I can't lead that, we have an agreement" and changes the face-down opening lead card for a different card from his/her hand?
OK, I worded that badly, Declarer has the right to call the TD.
What should the TD do?


  • A face down opening lead can only be withdrawn only upon instruction of the Director after an irregularity. I would rule that the defender must replace the new lead with the original one and pick up the replacement.

    If the new lead has been faced it becomes a penalty card.

    It also appears to be a UI case.

  • TagTag
    edited June 2018

    There's the further complication of ensuring that the original card is properly identified, since only the player holding it is aware of which card it was.

    The TD should probably also take the player away from the table and determine what was meant by "whoops I can't lead that, we have an agreement", such that he can make a judgement on the UI transmitted.

    A penalty is also warranted for switching the tabled card. This may take the form of a warning.

  • It makes me so sad that this happens. Even more so because LHO was the (playing) TD that evening. Apparently, they had earlier agreed "strong tens"; LHO had selected the S10 to lead against my 3NT until she remembered the agreement, hence the change of mind. She then faced the S9 and said "this is from the same suit".
    I said "you know you cannot do that, you are not allowed to change the card after partner has said 'no questions' and you should not say it is from the same suit".
    Her argument continued "well, I can't lead the other card because we have an agreement" making it rather obvious the other card had been the S10. I played my contract (badly) and walked away from the table because I do have an Asperger's symptom which means (sadly) I can come out with swearwords when riled.

    I would like serious advice from you guys; what do I do next time? Am I really being too nitpicking, should I let it go?

  • Well, the comment is straightforward UI, and really shouldn't happen.

    As regards changing the lead, by law the face down card is a played card. But at club level players change it all the time and it might be better to shrug it off, or just advise them as to the specifics of the law. Sure, there is UI from knowing partner has no questions, but I don't know what, if anything, that UI suggests. So I don't feel disadvantaged by it, usually.

    It's still a change of mind though, and if the TD were called they should rule accordingly, that the first card stands.

  • @TawVale said:

    I would like serious advice from you guys; what do I do next time? Am I really being too nitpicking, should I let it go?

    Call for the director and when she says that she is the director, ask her to appoint someone else appropriate to act as the director. Failing that, ask her to consult other directors afterwards to see what should have happened. Or ask her to look at this forum.

  • You could still appeal to the club for redress and to request that the player/TD be admonished.

    Not only does the partner know that the player holds the 10 but the pair have avoided the consequences of the misinformation he would have given his partner by playing the 10. That misinformation might have led to a superior result for you.

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