Ask the TD

Now here’s a funny thing. Let’s say that South is declarer in 3NT and West leads SQ. South now exposes some or all of his cards on the table as though he was dummy.

The TD is called. How should he rule?

  1. Declarer must expose all of his hand and dummy takes over playing the hand.
  2. Dummy must expose all his cards as well. Declarer plays the hand with all his exposed cards staying on the table until they are played.
  3. Declarer picks his cards up, dummy is exposed and play carries on normally.

Choose before reading on....

I only mention this because I have had three identical enquiries about it recently.

What answer did you choose? Well if you chose 1. then so did the people who wrote to me about it. Unfortunately, doesn’t make it correct. The correct answer is 3.

Let’s think about what has happened. West is the correct person to lead and he does so. So there is no infraction there. Penalties can only apply after a lead out of turn (so that rules out 1.) as the answer).

South has exposed some or all of his cards. What is the penalty for that? Well under Law 48A, it says that Declarer is not subject to restriction for exposing a card and no card of declarer’s or dummy’s hand ever becomes a penalty card. (That rules out 2.) as the answer). So the ruling is that declarer must try to recover his cards as quickly as possible before the defenders can take in too much of what they see. The correct dummy goes down and play carries on.

What about the information the defenders may have obtained by seeing declarer’s cards? That is all authorised to them.

John Pain
April 2015