Illegal bid

I was non playing TD at a beginner’s Duplicate. E/W bid as follows.
1NT / 2D ( clearly announced as transfer to hearts) / nb / 3H / 4H
At which point NS queried who was on lead and I was called to the table. No one seemed to have noticed at the time that E had put down a pass card instead of bidding hearts!
Do I (I) rule that 3H is a illegal bid and the final contract is 2D
(ii) say that the intention of the bidding was clear and the final contract is 4H with East as declarer or with west as declarer.
These are inexperienced players and we want them to continue playing or trying to play bridge!
I ruled that east was declarer in 4H. Everyone was happy. 4H went one off.


  • TagTag
    edited January 2018

    Well, clearly, a pass is a pass and the auction ends after the three consecutive passes. The 3H bid isn't a bid at all, since the auction has already ended.

    All that said, letting them play in 4H is the "right" decision, given that it's a beginners' session, but with a few words of education.

  • The legal answer is to apply Law 22A that the auction ended after the three consecutive passes in rotation, and Law 39 which is concerned soley with calls after the final pass, saying that they are cancelled and, in this case, there is no further rectification. You'd get that right without even looking at the Laws. Legally, the final contract is 2D.

    What you do depends on your circumstance. If it is a Supervised Play Practice, and therefore not real Bridge, you could do what you like, but if this is a Beginner's Duplicate Session and therefore real Bridge, this should test you as you want to apply the Laws and have players not unhappy at the end. I would say that because there were 3 passes, the auction finished there so everything after "doesn't apply", so I don't need to describe the 3H bid as "illegal". (Actually, the Law doesn't say it's illegal, only that it is cancelled!) I would then add that if it turns out that 2D is a silly contract, that sort of things happens to us all very occasionally from time to time as everyone is capable of making mistakes. Whatever you choose to say, it's important to be friendly about it, and the object is to have the player learn something and appreciate it without being put off from playing again.

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

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