Hasty Declarer Play

Declarer wins the first trick, leads Ace-trumps to the second (all follow), King-trumps to the third (LHO and dummy follows, RHO considers their discard).
Realising it was a 3-1 split, declarer then prematurely leads Queen-trumps and LHO mindlessly follows. Hearing the request for another card from dummy, RHO cries foul, and calls the TD.

Law 67B1b - Defective trick, failure to follow is deemed to be a revoke, one trick penalty and put a card down.

But hang on, says RHO, I've done nothing wrong and I'm being penalised. Surely Declarer's premature lead is the issue? But no, says Declarer, LHO accepted it. Well what about Law 72C then, says RHO in desperation?

Comments

  • I am in two minds about this, so I thought I'd lay out my stall

    LHO does not accept the lead by playing to the trick - that's only for a lead out of turn.

    While RHO has done nothing wrong, LHO should be more awake, and has at least been remiss in not following the play. By playing to the next trick he has, if nothing else, caused UI for his partner in the form of the card he played.

    WB 8.67.1 covers exactly this situation at trick 12 (and ruling no revoke), suggesting that at other tricks the might of 67B1b would be unleashed.

    67B1b does seem quite clear, but I can't help feeling that applying it is not restoring equity. I have had the following musings on this:

    Declarer has committed an infraction by leading to the next trick before the previous one has been completed. This is implicit in Law 66A, and explicit in WB1.6.6.

    I suggest that the apparent defective trick has been created by Declarer's infraction, and rectification is against declarer not defenders.

    I see no reason not to roll it back and deal with the infraction, warning RHO about UI. If RHO had played to the next trick it would be different.

    If challenged, and it was determined that 67B1b did apply, I would consider deeming that to be a consequence of Declarer's infraction and the rectification would be that trick back, although that seems very odd.

    Over to the experts...

  • This is the first time I have come across such a situation. It must be quite rare. The rectification in Law 67B1b is draconian in this scenario, but there it is!

    However, it does seem to me that declarer was in breach of Law 44 B/G but it doesn't seem completely explicit. I agree that WB 1.6.6 could be referred to as that just happens to describe the relevant correct procedure, but Law 66A is probably a bit of a red herring.

    A defective trick has been caused by LHO following to declarer's infracting lead. Because declarer "could have known" that his side could gain by his infraction, I would apply Law 72C, as I think Mark suggests, to cancel the effect of Law 67B1b, and that will restore equity back to the situation.

    I can't see that UI would be an issue on this occasion, especially as LHO was following to the third round of trumps.

    Barrie Partridge - CTD for Bridge Club Live

  • I'm a little unsure about applying Law 72C here. The law was extended from the old "damaging enforced pass" and whilst it seems to be much more far reaching now, I think care should be taken with its use.

    Consider a lead out of turn which benefits the player, but it is accepted by the next player by playing to the trick. Could declarer have known that it would have benefited him? Of course. Do we apply law 72C? No. Why not? Because it only benefits the player when RHO accepts the lead. Note that Law 53A (Lead out of turn treated as correct lead) does not preclude the possibility of rectification in the same way that 29A does for the bidding.

    I think the same applies here - LHO has sanctioned the premature lead.

  • Law 57 covers Premature Leads and Plays - but covers every scenario apart from Declarer's Lead.

  • @Senior_Kibitzer said:
    This is the first time I have come across such a situation. It must be quite rare. The rectification in Law 67B1b is draconian in this scenario, but there it is!

    I quite often see the lead to the next trick (usually by declarer) being made before the previous trick has been completed, especially when a long suit is being run. I'm sure some of the time LHO will be playing to the trick before his partner has a chance to complete the previous one. It would never occur to me that there was a penalty to be applied!

  • 67B applies only with "both sides having played to the next trick", so if you don't want to suffer from it, you just need your partner to keep track of what is going on.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    67B applies only with "both sides having played to the next trick", so if you don't want to suffer from it, you just need your partner to keep track of what is going on.

    This looks like it is a way to not win a trick with the trump ace ...

  • I can't see this as a defective trick by RHO. I would see it as a defective trick by declarer who added a second card.
    His card can't be treated as a new lead when the previous trick is incomplete.
    I would be tempted to roll back to let RHO make his discard. As the error is from declarer I can't see any UI problems.

    Alan,

    Alan

  • Harsh though it might seem in this case, 60A1 tells us

    "A play by a member of the non-offending side after his RHO has led or played out of turn or prematurely, and before rectification has been assessed, forfeits the right to rectification of that offence"

    As Gordon says, it helps if your partner is concentrating.

  • Then 60A2 says... the illegal play is treated as though it were in turn. How do you treat playing a second card to a trick as though it is in turn?

    Alan

  • I do get that the revoke penalties favour swift resolution over precision, and that this scenario is akin to a revoke as offender is incorrectly preserving cards for later use. As with a harmless revoke, you can end up worse-off than without.
    Equally, a partner not paying attention can give advantage to the other side (IBs and xOOTs). Put the two together, and you get this.
    Of course, if I had reason to beleve that Declarer was aware of the rules and realised they could profit from this, then 72C is clearly relevant and I'd be flicking through the White Book to look for a reason to warn them (2.8.2bb?).

  • @Notagain said:
    Harsh though it might seem in this case, 60A1 tells us

    "A play by a member of the non-offending side after his RHO has led or played out of turn or prematurely, and before rectification has been assessed, forfeits the right to rectification of that offence"

    As Gordon says, it helps if your partner is concentrating.

    I think @Notagain wins this one - 60A1 is indeed very clear that play by LHO forfeits any rectification.

  • This is interesting. The law on premature plays seems to be referring to plays made to a trick before partner has played to that trick, not the case here. I'm pretty sure this is a lead out of turn. I'm kind of wondering if 12 C (i) can be invoked, in that declarer's actions in leading out of turn before a trick has been completed don't quite seem to be covered.
    I don't think 60A1 necessarily stops us using 72C, I think there's a distinction between rectification for the offence and later using the laws to adjust the score. And I don't think it's improper to use 72C, knowledge of these kinds of tricks tends to spread so 'rewarding' it doesn't seem ideal. And declarer may be in the habit of playing too quickly and hustling the opponents, again something to be discouraged.

    It wouldn't be the only situation where an innattentive partner can cause you to be penalised though!

  • 60A1 is interesting in that it clarifies that a LOOT is different to a premature lead. That helped me as OOT isn’t defined.

  • something similar happened to me - I was declarer and part way through the game. my LHO played a card before me, it was my turn and I was declarer. I pointed out that it was my turn and my LHO said oh! sorry. director ruled that I just play my card and walked away. Any penalty to my LHO?

  • LHO's card becomes a penalty card, so they're forced to play it at their first legal opportunity. That's almost certainly going to be immediately after you play your card, so the penalty is in effect equivalent to just letting them play the card out of turn (unless, once you've chosen your lead, the penalty card would turn out to be a revoke).

  • Contrast this with the situation when declarer leads from hand and RHO plays before LHO: then the draconian Law 57 would come into play.

  • edited January 7
    There does seem to be a question here of: is the 2nd card from declarer a lead to a new trick, or a second card to the original trick?

    Seems to me that a trick is only completed after 4 cards are played (law 44B), the lead plus a card from 3 hands.

    I cant see any option for a trick to be 3 cards.

    Law 44 G says that the lead to the next trick is completed by the hand that won the previous trick. As the previous trick was not completed, it was not won and hence a subsequent lead (by definition), cannot be made.

    Seems logical to me that declarer and their LHO have contributed additional cards to the current uncompleted trick. Defender's card becomes a major penalty card.

    I can see no reason to redefine what constitutes a trick.
  • @Martin said:
    There does seem to be a question here of: is the 2nd card from declarer a lead to a new trick, or a second card to the original trick?

    His intention was clearly to lead to the next trick.

    I cant see any option for a trick to be 3 cards.

    Well the laws do include a "defective trick" which is exactly what that is.

  • @gordonrainsford said:

    @Martin said:
    There does seem to be a question here of: is the 2nd card from declarer a lead to a new trick, or a second card to the original trick?

    His intention was clearly to lead to the next trick.

    I cant see any option for a trick to be 3 cards.

    Well the laws do include a "defective trick" which is exactly what that is.

    A defective trick according to Law 67 is one where a player has omitted to play to a trick. In this case declarer's RHO has not omitted to play to the trick, he was thinking about what card to play and obviously had every intention to play to the trick if declarer had not butted in.

  • It's more that his partner condoned declarer's lead, acknowledging that the previous trick was ended, albeit defective.

  • @Vlad said:

    A defective trick according to Law 67 is one where a player has omitted to play to a trick. In this case declarer's RHO has not omitted to play to the trick, he was thinking about what card to play and obviously had every intention to play to the trick if declarer had not butted in.

    Omission is about action, not intention. He hasn't (yet) played to the trick and the other players have gone on to the next trick, so the first one is defective, being a trick with only three cards played to it.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    Omission is about action, not intention. He hasn't (yet) played to the trick and the other players have gone on to the next trick, so the first one is defective, being a trick with only three cards played to it.

    You are using the term trick without defining what that term means. Law 44 does define very clearly what a trick is and 44 B says (my highlighting): Subsequent Plays to a Trick
    After the lead, each other player in turn plays a card, and the
    four cards so played constitute a trick
    . (For the method of
    playing cards and arranging tricks see Laws 45 and 65
    respectively.)

    Using this definition of a trick makes it easy judge. If we were to rule that the 3-cards played constituted a trick, from what law does this determination derive?

    You also say that it is action, rather then intention that determines omission. Does this also not apply to playing a second card to an existing trick? Declarer may well have intended to lead to the next trick, but he hasn't, he has played a second card to the current trick (as what constitutes a trick has not taken place yet).

    Ditto for declarers LHO, he may have intended to play following declarers supposed lead, but he hasn't - he has played a second card to the existing trick also.

    The laws about omitted cards, should (to my mind) apply only at later points - say when there are only 3 cards in dummy and defender realises that they have 4 cards left or whatever. It should not apply when the defender is sat thinking and others just start displaying additional cards. This seems to be open season for declarer to always lead when they know they are winning a trick. Play the Ace of trumps, LHO follows, call for small from dummy then quickly play the K of trumps and try to trick LHO to play another card. Nice way to get a revoke trick for free. What is the supposed penalty for declarer leading a card before the 4th card to the previous trick is played? Nothing. So why not?

    It is rules and their application like this that deters the more friendly clubs from joining/rejoining the EBU and why others leave.

    These might be okay for more serious competitions (though this particular one is not sensible anyway), but for casual players? I fail to see the logic.

    It was only a few years ago that I was totally new to bridge and I thought, lets read/learn the rules so that I don't inadvertently breach laws. Wow, there is no chance that a new player can take on board the laws and their system.

    Can you imagine a new partnership, 1st time an EBU club getting into this situation. Director! West failed to play to trick 2, I lead to trick 3 and East followed, condoning my lead out of turn. So, West should now play a card, but is determined to have revoked on trick 2, so if they win a trick later on, it is transferred to me. Yes, that's right, says the director. Do you think that this looks fair and would encourage them to come back for more? If not then the law is an ass.

  • To be fair, most of us favour a more lenient interpretation of the laws that way in this exact instance partly for this reason. It's possible to enforce the law without being an ass.
    There's reason for the defective trick laws though, I remember a hand where I'm pretty certain dummy won 2 separate tricks with the same card and I'm still a bit sore about it years later. The law seems to me to be written to protect the side that didn't play to a defective trick from gaining from it, which could be important too.

  • @Martin said:
    You are using the term trick without defining what that term means. Law 44 does define very clearly what a trick is and 44 B says (my highlighting): Subsequent Plays to a Trick
    After the lead, each other player in turn plays a card, and the
    four cards so played constitute a trick
    . (For the method of
    playing cards and arranging tricks see Laws 45 and 65
    respectively.)

    Using this definition of a trick makes it easy judge. If we were to rule that the 3-cards played constituted a trick, from what law does this determination derive?

    From the law on defective tricks. A dog is an animal with four legs, but we have no problem recognising a three-legged dog.

    It is rules and their application like this that deters the more friendly clubs from joining/rejoining the EBU and why others leave.

    I think this is unlikely, though it's popular to say so whenever someone doesn't agree with a rule or regulation. In any case, I don't think I've ever encountered this situation before.

    The most important thing about retaining clubs and players is the atmosphere in games, which is why it's very important how a ruling is handled, so that those on the losing side of it don't feel criticised. To be fair, in my experience most players understand it's a game and don't object the the application of the laws when something goes wrong.

    To get back on track with the discussion and away from these more general views, Martin, what do you think should be the ruling and under which law? I'd be happy to be shown a way of ruling differently.

  • Coming back to the original topic, because it's such an interesting one…

    I'm wondering if Law 11A applies here; it looks like it wasn't intended for situations like this, but the letter may apply. Following this line of thought, there are two offences here: a) (by declarer) leading to the next trick before your RHO has played to the trick; b) (by declarer's LHO) leading to the next trick despite your partner not having played to the previous trick.

    Law 67B1b applies to the second of these two offences; declarer's RHO counts as having failed to discard, and must remove a card from their hand, in addition to a 1-trick penalty if the defence win any more tricks this hand (Law 64A2; the removed card wasn't played to the trick thus can't possibly win it). There was no irregularity committed by declarer's LHO, thus the played card there is part of the legal auction and declarer's RHO may take it into account when deciding which card to remove.

    Assuming declarer's LHO accepted declarer's lead (see the Law 47 analysis below), Law 55A applies to the first of these offences; it was irregular, but rectification was waived. The acceptance of the premature lead happened before the Director was called, and was subsequent to the premature lead itself. This seems to fulfil all the conditions required to trigger Law 11A; an irregularity occurred, subsequent action by one side (the defenders) was beneficial to the other side (the declarers), and the Director was not called in between. The consequences are that the defenders lose the ability to have the first offence rectified, and that the declaring side has its score adjusted to remove any resulting advantage.

    So under a Law 11A analysis, both sides end up penalised. The defending side loses a trick (but the declaring side don't gain the trick; technically, they do, but have their score adjusted to remove it again). However, they do get the opportunity for RHO to legally choose their discard after seeing LHO's play to the next trick, which has a chance of causing the declaring side to lose tricks later in the play.

    Although it lead to an outcome that punishes all sides here (which definitely seems fairer than rewarding either side!), this strikes me as something of an oversight in the way Law 11 was worded. I'd expected it to require someone to notice the irregularity in order to trigger; as it is, the letter of the Law implies that if there's an irregularity that nobody notices, and the non-offending side are unaware of actions that they could have taken to have it rectified, then everyone ends up getting the worst of it (whereas if the non-offending side are aware that they could have called the Director, but failed to because they were unaware that the irregularity occurred, then the offending side keep their good result). This seems obviously wrong, but it's hard to come up with a wording that would work better.


    I'm also wondering if Law 47E1 applies here; it seems to apply in spirit but the situation is quite different from the usual one, so perhaps the letter doesn't apply. The argument here is that declarer's premature play to a trick, in effect, informed LHO that it was their turn to play (but it wasn't; declarer's play being premature, it was still declarer's RHO's turn to play). This means that LHO's attempt to play a card is, by the letter of Law 47E1, automatically retracted without further rectification (and cannot be accepted by declarer). By Law 53A, the attempt also accepts declarer's premature play. However, there's a big difference between this situation and the situation without Law 47E1; declarer's LHO has accepted declarer's card, but has not actually played a card themself, and thus it isn't the case that both sides have played to the next trick (as Law 67B requires); the declaring side has, but the defending side hasn't. Thus, Law 67A applies instead, and declarer's RHO gets to belatedly add a card to the trick.

    This seems like the most equitable outcome, although it's certainly debatable whether Law 47E1 actually applies in this situation!

  • I just found this reply to @gordonrainsford was in my drafts when I read the latest post... sorry about the long delay.

    I think I would say that the trick had not been completed and that additional cards were contributed inadvertantly. LHO of the declarers additional card is UI for that trick and major penalty card.

    Im on my phone just now, but relevant laws would be 44B showing that the trick has not been completed, then whatever the laws are regarding penalties. It is likely that there would be little impact after that trick is completed as declarer is likely to lead the same card and major penalry card follows.

    So we have a sensible bridge result without a crazy outcome (for example, 12 tricks losing to the ace of trumps now making 13 tricks due to this action by declarer).

    With regards to ghe broader point about putting off players, I hear this a lot from new players (both in clubs and online). I suspect that therr are a couple of reasons, the complexity of the laws and the counter-intuitive nature of some of these laws.

    In this example, students are told that a trick is 4 cards, one from each player and all following suot where possible. For this reason I see revokers know that they have done something 'wrong' and it makes perfect sense that there is rectification/penalty for that.

    When someone else makes a mistake and plays a card before they have, it makes no sense that they get penalised. What it the logic behind this law? What problem was it introduced to correct for? It is one thing if a player finds late in the hand that they have 3 cards left and dummy/everyone else has only 2. It is clear that they have done something wrong.

    When pondering (for example to ruff or not to ruff) and declarer and your partner plays a card and you say "hang on, I haven't played my card yet". Then director comes along and rules that there is a 1 trick penalty to you and you have to discard a card. You can understand that person's disbelief and frustration.

    If this happens in a friendly non-ebu club and it is just put right (play your card and carry on, potentially changing who won that trick and partner's card is a major penalty card). Conpare that with a friendly ebu club where you take a trick penalty and lost the option the win that trick too!

    We are talking about people that open 1NT incorrectly and do stayman responses incorrectly. They can barely remember their bidding system, let alone the laws of the game (particularly the more obscure ones) you can appreciate why this is putting players and clubs off.

    If this is not part of the problem that clubs are having, then what other reasons contribute to people not playing in ebu competitions and club memberships are generally poor? Certainly in my area I know a few ebu clubs that have struggled and several social non-ebu clubs thriving even with a waiting list to join one!

    This is just my observatiom having recently completed lessons around 8/9 years ago and the other students that year; from teaching bridge for 3 years or so; from directing at multiple clubs (both ebu and non-ebu); playing in county leagues and for the county. This is a gripe I hear a lot from different people at different levels and ponits in their bridge careers. I wouldnt play in the league/congresses people take it too seriously and call the director over everying (spoiling the fun), or I wouldnt play at that club etc... or I played there once and the director was called and I didnt understand the rulings etc.

    This can easily be dismissed, but it has been my experience for many years. I was somewhat unusual as whilst I was being taught ACOL I was playing on BBO in the p
    Main room and most played SAYC so I learnt that at the same time. This helped my understanding of ghe bidding principles no end. It also taught me about alerting and that the rules were complicated. So before I played in a club for the first time, I read all of the rules, cover-to-cover. Do you think that many players do this or would remember much about them if they did?

    I really do think that there should be 2 levels of laws... one for clubs and one for competitions. This happens a lot in sports, self rule line calls, foul shots, lets in badminton, thenis and squash etc. With umpires ruling in more serious events. I see this situation working in real life, with non-ebu clubs solving an issue without reference to the convoluted ebu laws and everyone seems happy enough (and their table numbers are very good).
  • The second sentence from from ais253 is key here - it's all about the Spirit of the Law against the letter of the Law. All club players want to play by the former, but some can see it is to their advantage (at times) to play by the latter. If I owned a bridge club, I would make an open declaration that the Spirit of the Law always comes first, and would manage decisions accordingly. Thta is what our bridge playing customers want - why not give them that?

  • @patricks That's and interesting idea.

    What would be needed is some sort of definition of 'spirit of the law' defined for each law. For example, relating to the comparable bid laws - the aim to reduce the amount of arbitrary scores, where a replacement is call is the same/similar or 'close enough' it should be allowed. Then the laws specifically can outline more details and give examples etc.

    I suspect that some form of this takes place in most clubs to some degree or other.

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