Query concerning Law 45

Law 45 C4(b) says a declarer " may correct an unintended designation of a card from dummy [ ... ] after a slip of the tongue ", but not otherwise. My question is simply this : what constitutes a "slip of the tongue" ? The only situation I can think of is where a declarer has two or more cards of the same rank in different suits and calls for the card from the wrong suit, i.e. asks for the Jack of diamonds when they really wanted the Jack of hearts.


  • I think there are more possibilities than that. An obvious one is when a player is using a language that isn’t their first. I would find it easy to muddle the suits in French. I have also done so in English, when I was in the throes of a migraine. The important thing is that it must not be a change of mind.
  • I find that the most common situation is when you're running a suit which still has cards out in the defenders' hands. You have the suit as winners if played from the top. You know this, dummy knows it and the defenders know it but you inadvertently call for the suit, interpreted as playing small. It's a slip of the tongue. Your mind knows that you're running the suit, as does everyone else, yet, by the rules, you just called for the small card. It's the classic "inadvertent designation" and there's no earthly Bridge reason to play small. I'll always allow declarer to correct this one.

  • In the normal club situation, it is perhaps helpful to focus on what is definitely NOT a "slip of the tongue". For instance, where declarer had already decided what to play from dummy and didn't notice the card played by his (declarer's) LHO when he called for the card from dummy. This is the scenario where declarer wants to change his mind and an argument can ensue about when a card is played.

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