STOP cards

I have been working hard to get club players and students to use their Stop cards correctly & that the next person waits for the Stop card to be returned to the box before passing (I was once castigated in a tournament for failing to wait until the card was withdrawn - albeit without penalty.) Now I see that the ACBL are about to withdraw Stop cards altogether!! Why on earth has this change occurred so soon after the publication of the new rules? What is the position regarding Stop cards for UK & European TD's please?

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Comments

  • As far as I am aware there are no plans for the EBU to end or change the use of STOP cards.
    The EBU Blue Books states:

    3Z B Use of the STOP Card

    3Z B 1 Before making a jump bid (i.e. a bid at a higher level than the minimum in that denomination) a player should place the Stop card in front of them, then place their call as usual, and eventually remove the Stop card. Their LHO should not call until the Stop card has been removed.

    3Z B 2 The Stop card should be left on the table for about ten seconds, to give the next player time to reflect. It should not be removed prematurely.

    3Z B 3 After a jump bid, the next player MUST pause for about ten seconds before calling. It is an offence either not to pause or to show indifference when pausing. If the Stop card has been removed prematurely or has not been used, an opponent should nevertheless pause as though the Stop card had been used correctly.

    3Z B 4 If a Stop card is taken from the box no call has been made until the card for the actual bid is taken out. Thus a player who has pulled out the Stop card is entitled to change their mind and make a call which is not a jump bid. Also a Stop card played out of turn is not a call out of turn, and the player can make any legal call when it reaches their turn. Unauthorised information is available to partner in either case.

  • The change concerns the ACBL only, where they have always taken a different approach from the rest of the world to the use of stop cards, as to many other things.

  • I play at club level and in my experience Stop cards stay down for between half a second and two seconds. Misuse is so standard that I don't see the ten second gap as being significant.
    Personally I pick it up straight after showing it, although since I have been Directing I sometimes try to leave it a bit longer.
    I have never been called as a Director about the ten second pause. I would be very happy to see its use fade away.

    Alan

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    The change concerns the ACBL only, where they have always taken a different approach from the rest of the world to the use of stop cards, as to many other things.

  • Thank you all. Personally I think the Stop card [used correctly] is very important!

  • When they attempted to get the Stop procedure working in the ACBL they failed miserably. They told players they should put a Stop card out and not everyone did. Instead of insisting, very foolishly they told players that “should” meant it was optional. As a result fewer and fewer players used the Stop cards. When I play over there I do not myself: it seems pointless. Of course you are still required to pause after a jump bid but people do not.

    As to the question as to why the ACBL have decided to withdraw their use “so soon after the publication of the new rules” it is the laws that get renewed every ten years and are world-wide. Regulations in different countries get changed more often and use of a Stop card is a regulation. The EBU publishes a new Blue book every year which contains the more common regulations (some appear in the White book) and there are some changes each year. Those regulations apply in England and Wales but not elsewhere.

    The Stop procedure is an excellent procedure: long may it continue!

  • I recall once being called out for hesitation when I was simply waiting the requisite ten seconds. People generally aren't well educated or informed on the use of the Stop card.

  • @Alan16248 said:
    I play at club level and in my experience Stop cards stay down for between half a second and two seconds. Misuse is so standard that I don't see the ten second gap as being significant.
    Personally I pick it up straight after showing it, although since I have been Directing I sometimes try to leave it a bit longer.
    I have never been called as a Director about the ten second pause. I would be very happy to see its use fade away.

    I quite like the current regulations regarding the STOP card. However it would not upset me if the EBU changed these rules in future. For the correct use of the STOP card to 'fade away' would be the worst possible outcome.
    Directors should encourage the following of correct procedure. All members who understand the rules should stick to them as a good example to others.

  • The biggest problem with the use of STOP cards is that so many of the people who learn to, and are told, to, use them do not understand the issues around bidding in tempo and of Unauthorised Information. It is for this reason that so much "abuse" takes place. Many people enjoy playing bridge without any concept of tempo/UI and we need to accept that way of enjoying the game, and only get upset about the use and misuse of STOP cards when it matters. Experienced players jumping on newcomers who don't understand STOP cards is too easy a way to turn people off playing competitive bridge.

  • If I can manage to explain the reasons for the "STOP" to my new students learning 1NT - stop - 3NT , it really shouldn't be difficult to explain it to more experienced players!

  • That's a difficult one. Why does 1NT 3NT merit a Stop?

    Alan

  • Because the next player may need to think about whether to double to ask for a spade lead.

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

  • I was used as an Appeals Advisor in the Tollemache about ten years ago. The sequence had been 1NT p 3NT p p p. There was a pause over the 3NT and the opening lead was from Qx and was the killing lead. The TD ruled it back.

    I asked about the Stop card use and was told the player who bid 3NT had not bothered. I understood the pause over 3NT was something between eight and fourteen seconds. Close enough I said. I instructed the player to go to the appeals committee and say that since the Stop card was not used correctly it was difficult to judge a 10 second pause and even if the pause was a bit longer that was the fault of the failure to use the Stop card and was not a hesitation. I’m pleased to say that the appeals committee duly overturned the TD as they should.

  • This lead directing double is not something I have heard about or seen.

    Alan

  • Some play it as asking for a spade lead, others as asking partner to find your suit. You can understand why someone with HAKQJT might need to take some time before deciding whether to pass or double.
  • The thing about Stop is that sometimes it's appropriate, often it isn't and sometimes it would be useful in other circumstances.
    It's a very blunt instrument. I guess this is why it is so often misunderstood and misused

    Alan

  • As soon as people start deciding to use it or not based on their assessment of the situation, it ceases to work properly. It's not difficult just to do as required.

  • @Alan16248 said:
    The thing about Stop is that sometimes it's appropriate, often it isn't and sometimes it would be useful in other circumstances.
    It's a very blunt instrument. I guess this is why it is so often misunderstood and misused

    I can't see how it is possible for anyone to not understand the rules for the STOP card. It is very simple. If it is a jump bid you use the STOP card.
    The problem is that some people don't like the rule so deliberately ignore it. It is hard to see how a duplicate session would work if each player ignored the rules they personally didn't like.

  • There are always going to be hands that may wish to take a positive action after a jump bid. This means that there are always going to be borderline hands. The 'STOP' card may be a blunt instrument but 30 years of use of bidding boxes has failed in anyone being able to find a sharper one.

  • The Bridge Magazine had an April Fools joke about 2 years ago that I thought was actually a great idea - use only 1 bidding box per table!
    No more underbids, bids out of turn (other than perhaps the first bid) etc.
    With stops, I have found that the LHO (usually newer players) will start to pull out the pass card before the stop card is returned to the box and so the purpose of the stop is now lost.
    So, if there was only one box, the jump bidder would hold on to the box and not let the LHO have it until after the requisite 10 count. and so no need for a stop card.

  • It is not that players don't understand the rule; they don't understand the reasons for it.

  • "I can't see how it is possible for anyone to not understand the rules for the STOP card. It is very simple. If it is a jump bid you use the STOP card. The problem is that some people don't like the rule so deliberately ignore it." [ManchesterRambler]

    I think in clubs and some similar environments it's largely peer pressure that inhibits the correct use of the STOP card. Some players don't see the point in it (they don't understand the reasons for it, as johnlw says) and if anyone tries to pause or encourage their opponent to pause they are subjected to tutting and muttering about time-wasting. I can tell that some people want to, but it can take a strong will to stand up to that sort of thing.

  • @VixTD said:
    but it can take a strong will to stand up to that sort of thing.

    I must have a strong will because I sit and make 'em wait :)

  • So do I, but it's difficult for players who are less sure of their legal ground and don't want to get into an argument.

  • @johnlw said:
    It is not that players don't understand the rule; they don't understand the reasons for it.

    "I'm sorry officer; I didnt see the reason for having a 30 mph speed limit on that section of road"

    I almost always wait about 10 seconds after a jump bid, whether the STOP card has been used correctly, incorrectly, or not at all. Occasionally I forget, as with my driving :/

  • @ManchesterRambler said:

    I almost always wait about 10 seconds after a jump bid, whether the STOP card has been used correctly, incorrectly, or not at all. Occasionally I forget, as with my driving :/

    That raises an interesting question: "should you wait 10 seconds if the STOP card has been used incorrectly" ie after a non-jump bid?

  • I wish there was a "Like" button on here!
    Thank you all for all the contributions. I reckon that I will turn out students who can use a stop card correctly!

  • Can someone tell me please where to find anything about the Stop card in the Law book

  • Bidding boxes and stop cards are not in the laws.

    English rules are in EBU Blue Book section 3Z

  • http://www.ebu.co.uk/documents/laws-and-ethics/white-book/white-book-2016.pdf

    1.6.3 ‘Stop’ or ‘Skip’ Bids without bidding boxes (Law 73A2)
    When not using bidding boxes (e.g. §2.1.5.2), before making a jump bid (i.e. a bid at a higher level than the minimum in that denomination) a player should say “stop” or “skip bid”.

    8.16.7 Did anyone hesitate?
    [...]
    When there is a jump bid, the mandated ten seconds pause by left hand opponent is free thinking time (whether or not the Stop card was used). Any alleged pause is above and beyond that time. The TD should be satisfied whether the Stop card was used and that the hesitation was beyond the required ten seconds – the players may be ignoring the Stop card regulations.

    8.81.3 Effect of a player’s experience
    For infractions which might damage the opponents, such as by failing to alert or failing to stop after a stop bid warning, the TD should usually treat the less experienced, or weaker, player more leniently.

    1.6.2 Bidding boxes
    The EBU has adopted procedures based on recommendations by the WBF – see EBU Blue Book, section 3Z.
    From the relevant section of the blue book:
    3Z B Use of the STOP Card
    3Z B 1 Before making a jump bid (i.e. a bid at a higher level than the minimum in that denomination) a player should place the Stop card in front of them, then place their call as usual, and eventually remove the Stop card. Their LHO should not call until the Stop card has been removed.
    3Z B 2 The Stop card should be left on the table for about ten seconds, to give the next player time to reflect. It should not be removed prematurely.
    3Z B 3 After a jump bid, the next player MUST pause for about ten seconds before calling. It is an offence either not to pause or to show indifference when pausing. If the Stop card has been removed prematurely or has not been used, an opponent should nevertheless pause as though the Stop card had been used correctly.
    3Z B 4 If a Stop card is taken from the box no call has been made until the card for the actual bid is taken out. Thus a player who has pulled out the Stop card is entitled to change their mind and make a call which is not a jump bid. Also a Stop card played out of turn is not a call out of turn, and the player can make any legal call when it reaches their turn. Unauthorised information is available to partner in either case.

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