Club level laws

It seems to me that there may be some value in having a different set of laws for competitions/serious Bridge and for regular club nights.

For example, the laws assume that all partnerships have convention cards so the rules around alerting and announcing make perfect sense. However, in the real word clubs where many partnerships are there for the social side at least as much as for the game, this is very much not the case (at least at the 10+ clubs I have played at in the UK). Club level laws might include a brief statement of system before cards are drawn, 'we play 5 card majors', 'we're playing precision' etc. When I play a very seldom game with one member of the club on one of our mixed groups I will say that we are playing 5 card majors, then alert any minor open again new/inexperienced player to let them know more specifically that it doesn't show a 4 card suit necessarily. However, the rules state to not alert as a 3 card suit is natural.

I think that this may, in part, be part of why clubs in the area I live have left the EBU (that and pay to play). This feeling that the rules are used to 'punish' unsuspecting casual players by a certain type of player and essentially gets in the way of the casual players that make up the majority, having a pleasant evening.

Has anyone else come across this? Any thoughts?


  • I think you are confusing laws and regulations. The laws are universal, but local regulations can be drawn up as long as they are not in conflict with the laws. System cards and system restrictions, alerting, announcing, bidding boxes - these are all regulations and so clubs are free to vary them to suit their own preferences.

    What you aren't allowed to do is to ignore the laws, so it's not permissible to say that revokes are ignored.

  • The idea that certain players use regulations and laws to upset poorer players is held especially in middle of the road clubs. It has nothing to do with EBU regulations and is usually a much greater fear than the practice. There are a few players who practice this sort of behaviour and they will do so whatever the regulations in force. The club should stop them by (a) peer pressure or (b) telling them they are no longer welcome or (c) if done in an overbearing way by Disciplinary Penalties. The idea of leaving the EBU because of this sort of behaviour is pointless since it is the players and the way that they are dealt with (or not) that are the problem, not EBU regulations which clubs don’t have to follow anyway.

  • Thanks for the replies, I think it is more that new players struggle to remember their system, let alone the laws of the game. I have partnered new players a lot whilst working to improve participation and it is surprising that they can find something to think about with a flat 6 point opposite my 1NT open, yet they manage it. So there is no way that they would understand what hesitations are, or what that might imply.

    So, it is unlikely that they would even look at a card or understand it if they did. So, for me alerting and talking about my partners bid is an opportunity to explain what it means and relate it back to what their bids mean is an opportunity to further their learning.

    However, it is conceivable that a Director be called due to incorrect alerting (ie alerted incorrectly bases on the Announcing and Alerting rules:

    This is only an observation and whilst it may not be seen as relevant, the many, many clubs in this area that are not EBU affiliated and the reasons I hear, seem to indicate otherwise. The main issues being pay to play and the feeling that the rules are not for them, so why bother?

    Don't get me wrong, I am a strong advocate of remaining affiliated and I personally like the complexity of the rules, but I can understand why they may be a barrier to others.

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