Policy on Latecomers

For the last twenty-some years I have tried to decide all issues for the good of the group. I intend to continue this policy as long as I am responsible for the game. In particular, I strive to start play promptly so that we have time to finish the hands and leave at a reasonable time. My goal is to decide on the movement at Noon and to distribute the guides and set the scoring system by one or two minutes after. 

To make this feasible, we have several members standing by to take all necessary steps when that time arrives. It is annoying when players fly in at 11:59, but we have always followed the rule that if they are on time they are guaranteed to play. If they are late, even a minute, they play at the discretion of the director.

These decisions will be made for the good of the group. If their presence is helpful to fill in or avoid a sit-out, I will welcome them. If it causes a sit-out and we have to restart the computer program, they will not be able to play.

This has generally been clear on Thursdays, but it has been looser on Mondays. The session starts at Noon, but we usually don't start the play until 1:00 P.M. This creates a grey area wherein players arrive during the lesson and want to play later because their "partner held my seat".

I want to make it clear that these issues will be decided by the director for the good of the group. If everyone can play, fine. If there is an odd player who cannot play, it will be the latecomer. The best way to avoid this is to not be late.

I realize that there are different reasons for being late. There are "serial" latecomers who should be used to missing out. There are unexpected reasons for being late, such as flat-tires, slippery roads or such. We will do our best for them, especially if they e-mail or message their partner so we know what's going on. There are schedule conflicts where the player knows he or she will be a little late. Usually these players notify me in advance and I usually do all I can to get them in. Players must remember, however, that I will always act for the good of the group. I will not keep everyone waiting while I mess around with individuals.

Explanations of Bids


Since some pairs utilize nonstandard conventions, their opponents can ask for an explanation at their turn to bid or later at their turn to play if they see bidding they don't understand.

A request for an explanation of a bid should be directed to the partner of the player who made the bid in question. The proper form of the request is "Please explain".

The opponent is entitled to a full understanding of the agreement and all questions concerning the agreement should be graciously resolved.

These rules apply only to an understanding of special agreements between partners. This does not include inferences drawn from general bridge knowledge and experience. It especially does not include information as to how a player thought or acted in regard to the agreement. This would be unauthorized information.

If the meaning has not been discussed, "no agreement" is the proper response. If you've forgotten it, say so. You must not say such things as " I am taking it to mean ...". If an opponent asks you how you took partner's bid, you must not give this unauthorized information. Call the director immediately. 

If you bid incorrectly in response to partner's conventional bid and an opponent asks for an explanation, you must explain the agreement. You must make no mention of the unauthorized information that you made an error.

In other words, you must fully explain the agreement, but never explain your thoughts or actions. 

If your partner has been asked to explain your bid and does so incorrectly, you must give no indication. You have received unauthorized information of this misunderstanding and must proceed as if you hadn't heard it. If your side becomes declarer, you must call the director and fully disclose before the start of play. If your side becomes defenders, you must proceed normally and call the director to fully disclose at the end of play.

If your partner explains your bid correctly and you realize that you bid incorrectly, you have received unauthorized information and must proceed as if you hadn't heard it. In this case however, you have no obligation to disclose because partner's explanation was correct.

Unauthorized information is difficult to handle, so must be avoided as much as possible. When it occurs, you must bend over backwards to take no advantage.