Law 15B

Playing in a pairs event with two board rounds, EW up one boards down one, an E/W pair manage to move to the wrong table. All four players fail to check they are in the right place, and they start the auction. None of them has yet played the first board of the set.

At this point the EW pair who should have been there turn up and say we should be here.

When I look in the Laws, as far as I can tell, Law 15B applies "If, after the commencement of the auction period, the Director
discovers that a contestant is playing a board not designated for him to play in the current round,"

That says that the board that has just been started should be played out with the wrong 2 pairs at the table; the EW should then go and try and play their full two board round where they should have been; that NS play their correct opponents for one board of the round only.

The consequence seems is that two innocent pairs are going to miss out on a board they should have played (the correct EW for this round, and the NS who were scheduled the play the wrong EW for this board later in the event) and two pairs (one of them guilty) now have to rush through two boards in the time allotted for one (or they also get to miss out on a board).

Is this right?

It's not the ruling given when this happened to me in the national pairs final: the TD told the wrong pair to go to the right table, and told the N/S pair to start again against the correct pair, and 'call the TD back' if there were any problems when the auction was re-started.

I actually much prefer this ruling which seems considerably more sensible and led to no results being missed but it doesn't seem entirely legal (although I would have been tempted to fine either or both of the two guilty pairs who moved wrong and didn't check the names of their opponents).

What am I missing?


  • In my opinion (which I have expressed to the secretary of the WBFLC) this is the worst change in the new laws. It is particularly bad in the context of a club game as it means non-offending players having to hang around and miss a board.

    One of the new members of the WBFLC is acutely aware of this and I think in time we might end up with being given the option to choose between the two approaches. But until then, the ruling you describe is not lawful.

  • I think that this is where a sensible TD in a club game takes the sensible view despite the Law. If the over riding duty of the TD is to keep the game going smoothly, he has achieved his objective with minimal loss of play to any (particularly the non-offending) players.

    However, in a major event (such as the National pairs final) the Law should be followed to the letter, even if it is "wrong" it must be applied until pressure is brought to bear to reform it, in order to provide for known conditions of contest .

  • I would point out that even in a club there are masterpoints to be won and an NGS grade to protect (not to mention that there may be a club competition night, or qualification for a County Event).

    Naturally, to me, deliberately breaking three laws on one hand is anathema.

  • Well, the director here is basically treating the hand as if bidding hasn't started. Legally, so long as one bid has been made Magnus Magnusson rules apply, and certainly if any cards have been played there's a sense to that, despite the attendant problems.

    Much like some others, I'd prefer a little more discretion here in terms of deciding when it's sensible to restore players to their correct positions, if nothing else at least the moving pair could go to the correct table and play the full round there :).

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