Declarer claims

The TD videos on the subject is clear, however, several occasions I have been called when opponent has a trump. The last one Declarer had Qxx, defender 10.

When I was an opponent recently a similar situation arose when Declarer had J, 3 & 2 and I had the ten. He clalmed saying "I have the top three trumps", so I called the Director who gave Declarer the 3 tricks saying "it is logical that he would have played the J first".

I saw on another occasion the same director ruled the other way. Thoughts anyone?

Comments

  • edited October 2019

    The White Book says:

    8.70.4 Missing trump
    A declarer who is unaware of a missing trump is ‘careless’ in failing to draw the missing trump.
    Thus if a trick could be lost by playing other winners first then the TD should award that trick to
    the non-claimers.

    Examples
    (a) Declarer claims all the tricks with a good trump (9), two spade winners and a heart
    winner. The defence can ruff the heart with their outstanding small trump.
    Despite declarer swearing on a stack of bibles that they knew there was a trump
    out, if they are too careless to mention it, then they may easily have forgotten it
    and the defence gets a trick.

    (b) Declarer is in 7 with thirteen tricks so long as spades (trumps) are not 5-0. Declarer
    cashes one round and says “All mine” when both players follow. They clearly have
    not forgotten the outstanding three trumps and the claim is good.

    8.70.5 Top down?

    A declarer who states that they are cashing a suit is normally assumed to cash them from the
    top, especially if there is some solidity. However, each individual case should be considered.
    Example Suppose declarer claims three tricks with AK5 opposite 42, forgetting the jack has
    not gone. It would be normal to give them three tricks since it might be considered
    not ‘normal’ to play the 5 first. However, with 754 opposite void it may be
    considered ‘careless’ to lose a trick to a singleton six.

    I also wrote an article about adjudicating claims, which is on the website.

  • A few comments arguing the pros and cons.

    The law about a missing trump is not 100% that the player with it gets a trick automatically.

    C. There Is an Outstanding Trump
    When a trump remains in one of the opponents’ hands, the Director shall award a trick or tricks
    to the opponents if:
    1. claimer made no statement about that trump, and
    2. it is at all likely that claimer at the time of his claim was unaware that a trump remained in
    an opponent’s hand, and
    3. a trick could be lost to that trump by any normal21 play.

    (Normal includes careless or inferior for the class of player concerned).

    The White book (8.70) is rather amusing (and probably should be updated in view of the multi-religious nature of England these days)

    "Despite declarer swearing on a stack of bibles that they knew there was a trump out, if they are too careless to mention it, then they may easily have forgotten it and the defence gets a trick."

    In this case there may be a difference between "I've got the top three trumps" (which implies declarer knows another trump is out - however which trump can be lower than the two?) and "There are no more trumps out" (which implies he has forgotton). If we decide that declarer's statement means that step 1 or step 2 are broken then we cannot award a trick solely by virtue of LAW 70C

    Law 70E states

    1. The Regulating Authority may specify an order (e.g. “from the top down”) in which the
      Director shall deem a suit played if this was not clarified in the statement of claim (but
      always subject to any other requirement of this Law).

    However the EBU have not availed themselves of this option (At least I cannot see it in the White book 1.6.4). If they had then it would be much clearer not to allow any tricks. As I understand it, if a declarer thinks that all his cards are good then (to the EBU) it should not matter in which order they are played -they can be played at random - I assume it is this philosophy that you are alluding to in your post.

    The EBU have also decided that if a course of play was blatantly obvious then all other courses fall below the 'careless or inferior' guideline for considering alternative actions.

    The reason given by the TD "it is logical that he would have played the J first" is incomplete - it may be logical but it is not the only option. The question to be answered is : is playing another card worse than 'careless' given the fact that you believe all your cards are good? If the TD decides that it isn't then one trick should be awarded.

    Claims are judgemental - and players do have the right to appeal claims rulings.

  • @weejonnie said:
    The White book (8.70) is rather amusing (and probably should be updated in view of the multi-religious nature of England these days)
    "Despite declarer swearing on a stack of bibles ...

    Point taken. Removing most of the gendered pronouns was some work. Removing religious/cultural references should be easier.

  • I had one the other day and declarer had made no mention of the missing trump. I was in the process of awarding the defenders a trick when declarer insisted that he's been interrupted before finishing his claim. I was unable to establish whether he really had been interrupted but the defenders chose not to contest it. I awarded declarer his tricks and advised the defenders that they could appeal the ruling.

  • If declarer's last three cards are Qxx (or Jxx) of trumps, and one defender has the 10 of trumps and two other cards, I'd give declarer all three tricks if they were on lead. If they had some additional side-suit winners that could be trumped I'd expect to give the defence their trump trick unless declarer was explicit about playing trumps first.

  • Too often at club/sub-club level, declarer will slam down his hand and announce "they're all mine", leaving defence unclear if that assertion is even correct, not least if some of the cards are in suits they have stopped tracking.
    If contesting the claim gives any additional information, then surely we're back into a parallel of the UI situation and the onus is on declarer to demonstrate that UI wouldn't have been taken advantage of - hence the assumption of carelessness on undisclosed missing trumps, but not ineptitude in play. (Yes, I do appreciate play has officially stopped.)
    Good directors will surely train their players to a) claim properly including announcing the plans for play and b) let the plan be completed before contesting, although clearly also not prompting for a plan if none is offered and c) it's almost always not in the contestors best interests to agree to play on.

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