Claims and Concessions (laws 68 to 71)

Clarification please!

Another situation where players failed to call director.

Declared made a claim which would result in game in spades.

Defender was holding an outstanding high trump which would definitely have won a trick. Declarer had forgotten this trump.

OK" said declarer and said that defender could have that trick. ( But not an extra one.)

Defenders understanding of the law, is that a further trick should be transferred.

As a new director (and discussing this socially) I believe that the award of a trick in this situation is indeed as defender stated. I think declarer should end up with eight tricks only.

Looking forward to response.


  • It's not like a revoke. You have to assess the claim and how it would play out.
    And the Director should have been called earlier.


  • Thanks.
    I am clarifying this for myself for when I am called as director to a similar situation.
    Following the statements in the law book, I believe that "the award of a trick" is on top of the one that the outstanding trump would have won.( Having fulfilled the requirements listed)

  • There is no award of a trick with claims.
    The Director assesses the likely result.


  • When called as a TD after a claim and a disputed number of tricks, you need to hear what the claimer said when claiming, hear what the objections were/are, and record the hands at the point the claim was made. Tell the players a result to enter in the traveller/scoring device. If you are a playing TD, do not try and rule until the end of the evening and you can consult with someone else. Law 70 should be consulted but in essence you look at how the play might have gone consistent with the claim statement and see how may tricks would be won/lost. If the number of tricks is in doubt, the doubt is resolved in favour of the non-claiming side.

  • TagTag
    edited November 2017

    Firstly, declarer doesn't get to say who wins what and how, other than in making his claim statement, which has been disputed. The players can opt to play the hand out to a conclusion if all four players agree.

    Failing this, the TD should be called and he (or she) then decides who gets what tricks, primarily by trying to follow declarer's stated line of play until such time as it falls apart or is unclear, which might be immediately. After that point, the director tries to judge what would reasonably happen next and adjudges any doubtful points in favour of the non-claiming side - the defenders in this case. There is no additional penalty for making a poor claim.

    Often, a declarer will simply state that they have the rest, without stating any line of play. The director then follows any rational line of play, which might include carelessness, to decide how play might have gone and rules the final number of tricks. There are additional guidelines to this, such as it's not rational to run a suit from the bottom, rather than from the top; that exceeds the bounds of simple carelessness. Finesses are generally not considered as part of the process unless it's clear that one player is out of that suit. A two-way finesse will generally be deemed to be taken the wrong way, etc etc.

    I've seen an instance where declarer has claimed the final six tricks but he was unaware of the boss trump being out and the hand resulted in all six tricks going to the defenders.

  • Beware of mentioning finesses when describing what Law 70E1 says, as that word does not appear there. The Law actually says "The Director shall not accept from claimer any unstated line of play the success of which depends upon finding one opponent rather than the other with a particular card, unless an opponent failed to follow to the suit of that card before the claim was made, or would subsequently fail to follow to that suit on any normal line of play."

    This means that, as TD, you might rule that a failing finesse is taken rather than a play of the top cards from a suit that would be more successful.

    Beware also of using the word "rational" as that word no longer appears in that Law. There is a footnote to Law 70E1 that says "For the purposes of Laws 70 and 71, “normal” includes play that would be careless or inferior for the class of player involved."

    So, the key words are "careless" and "inferior". When considering, as TD, a possible line of play, we ask ourselves or those with whom we are consulting whether the line is merely "careless or inferior", or whether it is beyond "careless or inferior".

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

  • I was playing once with a scratch pair as opponents. One player had a very strong hand so made a cue bid over the opening bid. His partner did not understand and passed.
    When dummy went down he was not happy. He threw his cards on the table and said he would settle for three off.
    I'm glad I wasn't Director for that Claim!
    (He was persuaded to pick up his cards and play. They had an easy slam but played in the wrong suit for a bottom.)


  • "Throwing cards on the table" is bad behaviour. ("Throwing cards at the table" deserves a penalty.)

    If I were an defender and declarer claims three off, I would accept and get on with the next hand.

  • @BarkerBridgeTD said:
    "Throwing cards on the table" is bad behaviour. ("Throwing cards at the table" deserves a penalty.)

    If I were an defender and declarer claims three off, I would accept and get on with the next hand.

    I'll remember that if you bid a vulnerable game against me - I will sacrifice at NV.

    Mind you I don't like the phrase "fail to follow to that suit on any normal line of play" - does that if there is a normal line of play that will expose the finesse position then declarer can take it? or does it mean that the finesse position must be exposed no matter what line of play declarer takes?

  • That question is not easy to answer without examples, but I shall try.

    The TD looks at all rational lines (I know the word does not appear but that was to appease the lawyers) which includes careless and inferior, and picks the one that suits the non-claimers best. Playing for a particular card in a particular place is possible if the line chosen proves the position.

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