Slow Play and Noise

Hi All,
There are several ways that everyone can help things run better. One is maintaining a smooth progression through the movements. The way we are moving is most efficient, but we usually have several slow pairs. I don't like to rush the bidding and play, but I would like to reduce wasted time to the minimum. One way is for players to follow the club rule and save hand analysis for Another is to be aware when you are behind. Signs are empty seats at your next table, players hanging about waiting for your table and tables asking to have the boards you've played so that they can start the next round.

When you realize that you are behind, you should of course stop the chatter and tend to business. We also have the system of sorting cards when you are ahead and not sorting when you are behind. The idea is to use your waiting time to sort the cards and help slower tables get going faster. When you are behind, just shove them in the board and move on. The only option that I have to speed up slow tables is to order no-plays. No one likes that.

Another factor is noise. With full attendance in a crowded room, the noise is excessive. Players keep trying to pass the responsibility for this to me. They suggest that I should change this or that so there would be no noise. The fact remains that the players are making the noise. The problem will continue, no matter what I do, until the players decide to follow the Golden Rule and be more considerate. You have developed a group dynamic to minimize other types of bad manners. You need to work on this.


Unintended Calls and Plays

We have had some recent unintended calls and plays which have indicated that players are not familiar with these rules. Basically, you can correct a slip of the fingers or tongue, but not a slip of the mind. I will give some examples to illustrate the difference.

1. You decide to open 1 Spade. You place the bidding card in front of you. Some time before your partner bids, you look down and see the 1 No Trump card. You immediately say "Wait, that's wrong." and call the director. You  explain and he allows you to withdraw the incorrect 1 No Trump and substitute the correct 1 Spade. If LHO has called, he may withdraw his card and substitute another without penalty.

2. You open 1 No Trump and your partner responds 2 Hearts. Hearts are your weakest suit so you rebid 2 No Trump. You then realize that your partner was transferring to Spades. You immediately say "Wait, that's wrong." and call the director. You explain and he rules that your bid stands. You meant to bid 2 No Trump and then remembered the transfer. A slip of the mind.

3. You are defending against 4 Spades. Your partner plays the Ace and King of Hearts and you play high-low. He leads a low Heart, the board covers, and you trump with the seven of Spades. Declarer stops to think and you look down and see the 7 of Clubs. You immediately say "Wait, that's wrong." and call the director. You explain that you meant to play a Spade and pulled the Club by mistake. He allows you to make the substitution. The 7 of Clubs will be a penalty card.
Note that if you played the Club, thinking it was trump, and immediately remembered that Spades were trump, the play would stand. A slip of the mind.

You can see that the difficulty is for the director to read the players mind and know what really happened. Many directors don't enforce these rules at all. They say that they can't be sure, so they forget the whole thing. Since it is director's job to ensure that, as much as possible, results reflect bridge skills, he must try to limit "windfall profits" caused by other factors. He must do his best with these rules.

I have chosen the simplest course. I assume that our members will tell the truth. There are no master points or cash prizes and our members surely value their integrity more than a score unearned. I wouldn't want to be a member if it were otherwise.


We had some questions on claims this week, so I'll go over the procedures again. First, it is good to claim. It saves time so that we can play more hands in the allotted time. The problems arise when people don't do it correctly.
When you claim, you should show your cards and indicate how you will play. If you do this, the results are conclusive one way or the other. If you just say "the rest are good" or some such vague statement, it may lead to problems.
When your opponent claims, you should accept the claim or call the director. There is no "Let's play it out" or "How are you going to play?". If you do that and it doesn't work out for you, don't come crying to me. You have alerted claimer to a problem and he may pull the forgotten trump or finesse the forgotten king. The proper procedure is to allow claimer to make his statement and then call the director.
The director will ask for claimer's prior statement of play. The director will then determine if that line of play would be successful or not and that determination is conclusive. If he didn't make a statement or it is insufficient, the director will ask him to make one at that time. He will then require all hands to be faced and will hear the opponents' objection to the claim. Claimer's proposed line of play will not be allowed if there is an alternate normal line of play that would be less successful. Normal play includes careless or inferior play - but not irrational play. Doubtful points will be resolved against the claimer.
Let's look at an example. In a No Trump contract, declarer shows the four remaining Clubs and the Jack of Hearts and says "The rest are mine". A defender, who holds the Queen of Hearts, calls the director. The director asks for the statement of play and, since there is none, asks claimer how he will play. He says he will run the Clubs and then play the Heart. The director asks all players to lay down their hands to determine the outcome. It is evident that claimer will lose the Heart, but a defender says "If he plays the Heart first, I'll take the rest". Declarer concludes that this alternate line of play is normal and awards the tricks to the defenders.
In another example, declarer shows the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and three other Clubs. He makes no statement and a defender calls the director. Since the claimer makes no statement, director requires one and claimer says "I'll run the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and the rest are good regardless how they're split. Director requires that the cards be faced and asks for any objections. A defender says that if claimer instead leads from the bottom of his suit, the defender will win and claimer can't get in his hand for the rest of the Clubs. Director concludes that this alternate line of play is irrational and awards the tricks to claimer.
Notice that if you make an adequate statement of your play, you will avoid all this conjecture. The statement need not be precisely trick-by-trick, but adequate to infer your intentions. Draw trump would mean from the top; run the Clubs would mean from the top; Clubs and Hearts are good would mean you intend to play the Clubs and then the Hearts; cross ruff would mean ruffing from the bottom up and so forth. Please don't throw tricks away by failing to make an adequate statement of play.