Wrong declarer, dummy and defenders

At a recent club evening North reached 6 Diamonds doubled in a contested auction. North then proceeded to lead, East put her cards down as dummy and all played to the trick before someone said this is all wrong. Yes really! Well it was very hot and late in the evening. AS it was a friendly session and we were short of time, I asked them all to take an average minus and get on with the next board. By chance the contract if correctly played would probably have been a middle. If it were a serious session what should have happened please, just in case it does occur again?


  • Well, your approach seems the pragmatic one at least. Laying aside the temptation to make West play 6D and reading the laws;

    Law 54E states that if a player of the declaring side attempts to make a lead, law 24 applies, so it's treated as a card exposed during the auction. As far as I can tell North would normally is then allowed to pick it up since they're declarer. There's no option to accept though.

    I believe all cards are retracted and the cards exposed by the defenders become penalty cards and declarer could on that basis choose which card East led and continue to enjoy a substantial advantage in the play.

    Since the whole thing resulted from an infraction by North though, I think there is discretion under laws 11 & 12 for the director to void the board and award an adjusted score. As you did. I might have based it on the likely play in 6D rather than a percentage though, since they managed to bid to a contract without mishap.

  • I think all the cards exposed so far are cards exposed during the auction (period): none of the cards exposed by the defenders was an attempt to lead, so there has not been an opening lead. The declaring side pick up their cards (Law 24D) and the defenders cards are penalty cards (Law 24E) - but the TD would be advised to apply the opening text of Law 50 and designate the cards not penalty cards, because the original offence was declarer's. So everyone picks up their cards and plays the hand - it is still true that knowledge of defenders' previously exposed cards are unauthorised information to the other defender.

  • Thank you both for your advice.

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