Mistaken pass

Could someone please advise me on the correct ruling when partner opens 1NT, announces his partners 2D bid as transfer to hearts, and then mistakenly passes?
Law 25 A does not appear to apply as his partner does not have another bid after 3 passes.
I ruled that it was a loss of concentration Law 25A 2, but if his original intent was to bid two hearts can he be allowed to make that bid after everyone has passed and before the opening lead is faced?
Many thanks


  • The pass can't be changed


  • edited November 2017

    Law 25A5

    If the auction ends before it reaches the player’s partner no substitution may occur after the end of the auction period (see Law 17D).

    So, if the Pass is unintended then it can be changed before the opening lead is faced.

    Pass could be unintended if (for instance) opener intended to bid stop 3H, and pulled out the Pass card instead of the Stop card.

  • Thanks Robin - can you give me a scenario for "loss of concentration" in Law 25A 2?

  • Simple example - 1NT pass - 2!d (announced as hearts) - pass - opener has no intent of carrying on and passes - forgetting that the contract is at the moment 2!d.

    A mechanical error is basically pulling out the wrong card from the bidding box

  • Robin - can you give me a scenario for "loss of concentration" in Law 25A 2?

    Your example is fine and is the one I would give. 1NT (P) 2D (P) P - forgetting to bid 2H

  • Robin - your answer to this question in the current English Bridge seems to be the exact opposite of what you told me in your original answer. You said to me that if the pass was unintended it could be changed. In English Bridge you seem to be agreeing with my original decision I.e. Loss of concentration and disallow the change.
    Could you clarify for me please.

  • edited November 2017

    Example of loss of concentration:
    Opener wants to play 2H but forgets to bid 2H and "bids" Pass instead intending to end the auction in 2H but in fact ending the auction in 2D.

    Example of unintended Pass:
    Opener wants to make a transfer break of 3H but pulls out a Pass card instead of the Stop card, prior to pulling out the 3H card.

    Isn't this what I said above and in English Bridge?

    My first answer above starts "If the Pass is unintended". If the Pass was a "loss of concentration" Pass then it was not unintended and that answer does not apply and the Pass cannot be changed.

  • I'm with username "Stayman" on this one. The answer does not seem clear to me?

    I opened 1NT and my partner bid 2 clubs which I announced as stayman and then passed. All passed out and the opposition said " ok the contract is 2 Clubs " to which I announced "oh, no, sorry I meant to bid 2 diamonds not pass!!"

    I announced Stayman - would I really pass? Is that judged as a mechanical error or lack of concentration? Obviously I am going to say it's a mechanical error - who is to judge?? and, of course, the auction is now over.

  • If it's a mechanical error you have the cards in your bidding box in a real mess. You don't normally put Pass cards next to 2D


  • The TD is the one who gets to judge. As Alan points out, mechanical error is hard to rule for, given the distance between Pass and 2D.

  • When you decide to respond to Stayman by passing you have not made a mechanical error, which term does not appear in the laws anyway. You have made a common or garden mistake, getting ahead of yourself, as most people do occasionally both in Bridge and in life generally. At the time you reached for the bidding box you were reaching for a pass card so the call is not unintended. Players have learnt to say "It was a mechanical error" to any mistake of any sort.

    The important thing is to understand what an unintended call is, against a normal error, and then as in so many situations the TD will make a judgement.

  • Law 25a2

    1. If the player’s original intent was to make the call selected or voiced, that call stands. A
      change of call may be allowed because of a mechanical error or a slip of the tongue, but not
      because of a loss of concentration regarding the intent of the action.
  • Oh sneaky. It has snuck in! Ok, it was never there before 2017! But the important thing is that unintended calls may be changed, other mistakes may not.

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