General Laws Governing Irregularities
PROCEDURE FOLLOWING AN IRREGULARITY
- A. Calling Attention to an Irregularity
- 1. During the Auction Period
Unless prohibited by Law, any player may call attention to an irregularity during the auction,
whether or not it is his turn to call.
- 2. During the Play Period
- (a) Declarer or Either Defender
Unless prohibited by Law, declarer or either defender may call attention to an irregularity that
occurs during the play period.
- (b) Dummy (dummy's restricted rights are defined in Law 42 and Law 43)
- (1) Dummy may not call attention to an irregularity during the play but may do so after play of the hand is concluded.
- (2) Dummy may attempt to prevent declarer from committing an irregularity (Law 42B2).
- B. After Attention Is Called to an Irregularity
- 1. Summoning the Director
- (a) When to Summon
The Director must be summoned at once when attention is drawn to an
- (b) Who May Summon
Any player, including dummy, may summon the Director after attention has been drawn to
- (c) Retention of Rights
Summoning the Director does not cause a player to forfeit any rights
to which he might otherwise be entitled.
- (d) Opponents' Rights
The fact that a player draws attention to an irregularity committed by
his side does not affect the rights of the opponents.
- 2. Further Bids or Plays
No player shall take any action until the Director has explained all
matters in regard to rectification and to the assessment of a penalty.
- C. Premature Correction of an Irregularity
Any premature correction of an irregularity by the offender may
subject him to a further penalty (see the lead penalties of
ASSESSMENT OF A PENALTY
- A. Right to Assess Penalty
The Director alone has the right to assess penalties when
applicable. Players do not have the right to assess (or waive)
penalties on their own initiative.
- B. Cancellation of Payment or Waiver of Penalty
The Director may allow or cancel any payment or waiver of penalties
made by the players without his instructions.
- C. Choice after Irregularity
- 1. Explanation of Options
When these Laws provide an option after an irregularity, the Director
shall explain all the options available.
- 2. Choice among Options
If a player has an option after an irregularity, he must make his
selection without consulting partner.
FORFEITURE OF THE RIGHT TO PENALIZE
- A. Action by Non-Offending Side
The right to penalize an irregularity may be forfeited if either member of the non-offending side takes any action before summoning the Director. The
Director so rules when the non-offending side may have gained through
subsequent action taken by an opponent in ignorance of the penalty.
- B. Irregularity Called by Spectator
- 1. Spectator Responsibility of Non-Offending Side
The right to penalize an irregularity may be forfeited if attention is
first drawn to the irregularity by a spectator for whose presence at
the table the non-offending side is responsible.
- 2. Spectator Responsibility of Offending Side
The right to correct an irregularity may be forfeited if attention is
first drawn to the irregularity by a spectator for whose presence at
the table the offending side is responsible.
- C. Penalty after Forfeiture of the Right to Penalize
Even after the right to penalize has been forfeited under this law,
the Director may assess a procedural penalty (see Law 90).
DIRECTOR'S DISCRETIONARY POWERS
- A. Right to Award an Adjusted Score
The Director may award an adjusted score (or scores), either on his
own initiative or on the application of any player, but only when
these Laws empower him to do so, or:
- 1. Laws Provide No Indemnity
The Director may award an assigned adjusted score when he judges that
these Laws do not provide indemnity to the non-offending contestant
for the particular type of violation of law committed by an opponent.
- 2. Normal Play of the Board is Impossible
The Director may award an artificial adjusted score if no
rectification can be made that will permit normal play of the board
(see Law 88).
- 3. Incorrect Penalty Has Been Paid
The Director may award an adjusted score if an incorrect penalty has
- B. No Adjustment for Undue Severity of Penalty
The Director may not award an adjusted score on the ground that the
penalty provided in these Laws is either unduly severe or advantageous
to either side.
- C. Awarding an Adjusted Score
- 1. Artificial Score
When, owing to an irregularity, no result can be obtained, the
Director awards an artificial adjusted score according to
responsibility for the irregularity: average minus (at most 40% of the available matchpoints in pairs) to a contestant directly at fault; average
(50% in pairs)
to a contestant only partially at fault; average plus (at least 60% in pairs)
to a contestant in no way at fault (see Law 86 for team play or Law 88 for pairs play).
The scores awarded to the two sides need not balance.
- 2. Assigned Score
When the Director awards an assigned adjusted score in place of a
result actually obtained after an irregularity, the score is, for a
non-offending side, the most favorable result that was likely had the
irregularity not occurred or, for an offending side, the most
unfavorable result that was at all probable. The scores awarded to the
two sides need not balance and may be assigned either in matchpoints
or by altering the total-point score prior to matchpointing.
- 3. Powers of Appeals Committee
- Unless Zonal Organizations specify otherwise, an appeals committee may vary an assigned adjusted score in order to do equity.
INCORRECT NUMBER OF CARDS
When the Director determines that one or more pockets of the board
contained an incorrect number of cards,
and a player with an incorrect
hand has made a call, then when the Director deems that the deal can be corrected and played normally with no change of call, the deal may be so played with the concurrence of all four players. Otherwise, the Director shall award an artificial adjusted score and may penalize an offender. If no such call has been made,
- A. No Player Has Seen Another's Card
The Director shall correct the discrepancy as follows and, if no player will then have seen
another's card, shall require that the board be played normally.
- 1. Hand Records
When hand records are available, the Director shall distribute the cards in accordance with
- 2. Consult Previous Players
If hand records are not available, the Director shall correct the board by consulting with
players who have previously played it.
- 3. Require a Redeal
If the board was incorrectly dealt, the Director shall require a redeal (Law 6).
- B. A Player Has Seen Another Player's Card(s)
When the Director determines that one or more pockets of the board contained an incorrect
number of cards and after restoration of the board to its original condition a player has seen
one or more cards of another player's hand, if the Director deems:
- 1. The Information Gained Is Inconsequential
that such information will not interfere with normal bidding or play, the Director, with the
concurrence of all four players, may allow the board to be played and scored normally.
- 2. The Information Will Interfere with Normal Play
that the information gained thereby is of sufficient importance to interfere with normal
bidding or play, or if any player objects to playing the board, the Director shall award an
artificial adjusted score and may penalize an offender.
- C. Play Completed
When it is determined after play ends that a player's hand originally contained more than 13
cards with another player holding correspondingly fewer, the result must be canceled (for
procedural penalty, see Law 90).
Where three hands are correct and one hand is deficient, Law 14
, and not this Law, applies.
- A. Hand Found Deficient before Play Commences
When three hands are correct and the fourth is found to be deficient before the play period
begins, the Director makes a search for any missing card, and:
- 1. Card Is Found
If a card is found, it is restored to the deficient hand.
- 2. Card Cannot Be Found
If a card cannot be found, the Director reconstructs the deal, as near to its original form as
he can determine, by substituting another pack.
- B. Hand Found Deficient Afterwards
When three hands are correct and the fourth is found to be deficient after the play period begins, the Director
makes a search for any missing card, and:
- 1. Card Is Found
- (a) If a card is found among the played cards, Law 67 applies.
- (b) If a card is found elsewhere, it is restored to the deficient hand, and penalties may apply (see 3., following).
- 2. Card Cannot Be Found
If a card cannot be found, the deal is reconstructed as nearly as can be determined in its
original form by substituting another pack, and penalties may apply (see 3., following).
- 3. Possible Penalties
A card restored to a hand under the provisions of Section B of this Law is deemed to have
belonged continuously to the deficient hand. It may become a penalty card (Law 50), and
failure to have played it may constitute a revoke.
PLAY OF A WRONG BOARD
- A. Players Have Not Previously Played Board
If players play a board not designated for them to play in the current round:
- 1. Score Board as Played
The Director normally allows the score to stand if none of the four players have previously
played the board.
- 2. Designate a Late Play
The Director may require both pairs to play the correct board against one another later.
- B. One or More Players Have Previously Played Board
If any player plays a board he has previously played, with the correct opponents or otherwise,
his second score on the board is canceled both for his side and his opponents, and the
Director shall award an artificial adjusted score to the contestants deprived of the opportunity
to earn a valid score.
- C. Discovered during Auction
If, during the auction period, the Director discovers that a contestant is playing a board not
designated for him to play in the current round, he shall cancel the auction, ensure that the
correct contestants are seated and that they are informed of their rights both now and at future rounds. A second auction begins. Players must repeat calls they made previously. If any call differs in any way from the corresponding call in the first auction, the Director shall cancel the board. Otherwise, play continues normally.
Players are authorized to base their calls and plays on information from legal calls and plays and from
mannerisms of opponents. To base a call or play on other extraneous information may be an infraction of law.
- A. Extraneous Information from Partner
After a player makes available to his partner extraneous information that may suggest a call
or play, as by means of a remark, a question, a reply to a question, or by unmistakable
hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement, mannerism or the like,
the partner may not choose from among logical alternative actions one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the extraneous information.
- 1. When Such Information Is Given
When a player considers that an opponent has made such information available and that
damage could well result, he may, unless the regulations of the sponsoring organization
prohibit, immediately announce that he reserves the right to summon the
Director later (the opponents should summon the Director immediately if they dispute the
fact that unauthorized information might have been conveyed).
- 2. When Illegal Alternative Is Chosen
When a player has substantial reason to believe that an opponent who had a logical
alternative has chosen an action that could have been suggested by such information, he
should summon the Director forthwith. The Director shall require the auction and play to
continue, standing ready to assign an adjusted score if he considers that an infraction of law
has resulted in damage.
- B. Extraneous Information from Other Sources
When a player accidentally receives unauthorized information about a board he is playing or
has yet to play, as by looking at the wrong hand; by overhearing calls, results or remarks; by
seeing cards at another table; or by seeing a card belonging to another player at his own table
before the auction begins, the Director should be notified forthwith, preferably by the
recipient of the information. If the Director considers that the information could interfere
with normal play, he may:
- 1. Adjust Positions
if the type of contest and scoring permit, adjust the players' positions at the table, so that the
player with information about one hand will hold that hand; or,
- 2. Appoint Substitute
with the concurrence of all four players, appoint a temporary substitute to replace the player
who received the unauthorized information; or,
- 3. Award an Adjusted Score
forthwith award an artificial adjusted score.
- C. Information from Withdrawn Calls and Plays
A call or play may be withdrawn, and another substituted, either by a non-offending side
after an opponent's infraction or by an offending side to rectify an infraction.
- 1. Non-offending Side
For the non-offending side, all information arising from a withdrawn action is authorized, whether the action be its own or its opponents'.
- 2. Offending Side
For the offending side, information arising from its own withdrawn action
and from withdrawn actions of the non-offending side is unauthorized.
A player of the offending side may not choose from among logical
alternative actions one that could demonstrably have been suggested over another by the unauthorized information.
play ends; or, as to dummy's hand, when dummy is exposed.
Chapters: I - Definitions
II - Preliminaries
III - Preparation and Progression
IV - General Laws Governing Irregularities
V - The Auction
VI - The Play
VII - Proprieties
VIII - The Score
IX - Tournament Sponsorship
X - Tournament Director
XI - Appeals
Last modified: Tue May 5 11:31:12 1998