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The Laws Quiz - Answers

Test your knowledge of the [ACBL] Laws

by Morris Jones and Gary Porter


Editor's note:


In general, whenever something unusual happens at the bridge table, it is appropriate and correct to call the director. After all, you pay card fees for the benefit of having a director. And most of the time, the director is bored and really looking for something to do. Make his day!

  1. After making an insufficient bid, the first option is for the offending player to correct the bid to a sufficient bid in the same denomination (suit or notrump) with no penalty.

    FALSE - The first option is for the next player to accept the insufficient bid and continue the auction. Don't allow the insufficient bidder to automatically correct without considering this. (Law 27A.)

  2. If your opponent passes after a hesitation, you may take any inference you like, at your risk.

    TRUE - (Note the key word, "opponent.") There is one exception: If the opponent making the hesitation has no problem and could have known that his hesitation would confuse you to his benefit, then the hesitation is illegal. (Law 73D1.)

  3. If RHO is the dealer, and you pass before he makes his first call, your partner will be barred from the auction.

    FALSE - The rule depends on whose turn it was to bid. The first option is for the next player (following the offender) to accept your pass out of turn and continue. If it is not accepted, then you will be required to pass at your first turn to bid, but partner will not be barred. The ruling will be different depending on whether the call out of turn was a bid or a pass, and whose turn it was at the time. Call the director! (Law 30A.)

  4. It is illegal to "psyche" a strong artificial 2 Club opening bid.

    TRUE - Strong artificial opening bids may not be psyched. (ACBL convention chart.)

    EDITOR - Note these are ACBL rules, and may be different in the rest of the world.

  5. Opening 1 bids of less than 8 high-card points, by partnership agreement, are illegal.

    TRUE - (ACBL convention chart.)

    EDITOR - Note these are ACBL rules, and may be different in the rest of the world.

  6. "Psyche" bids are perfectly legal and should not be called to the attention of the director.

    FALSE - Well, really half right. Psyche bids are perfectly legal within limits, and the limits are not strictly defined, as follows: Frequent psyche bids may constitute an implicit partnership agreement, or frivolous play, and are not allowed. It is also illegal to have an agreed way to "catch" a psyche, or any controls on psyching, such that you must psyche any time you hold less than x HCP and partner has not bid. The only way for the director to enforce this law is to have psyche bids called to his attention. (Law 75B, and Duplicate Decisions.)

    EDITOR - Duplicate Decisions is the ACBL commentary on the Laws

  7. By law, the opening lead must be made face down.

    TRUE - (Law 41A.)

    EDITOR - Actually, sponsoring organisations can require face-up leads, but this is now extremely rare.

  8. When shuffling and dealing, it doesn't matter how you deal, so long as each player gets 13 cards.

    FALSE - The cards must be dealt in rotation (Law 6B) - specifically, one card at a time to each hand in turn - no back and forth, no two or more at a time, no changing direction.

    EDITOR - In the 1997 Laws this requirement was relaxed. So long as two consecutive cards are not dealt to the same player almost anything is permitted now.

  9. When the dummy is faced, it is too late for any player to ask for a review of the bidding.

    FALSE - Declarer's right hand opponent may ask for a review of the bidding before playing to the first trick. Declarer can also get a review before calling for the first card from dummy. (Law 20C2.)

  10. During the play, declarer or either defender may ask for an explanation of an opponent's bid.

    TRUE - In addition, explanation of defender's signals can also be obtained at any time during the play. (Law 20F2.)

  11. During the play, dummy may not look at an opponent's convention card.

    TRUE - It is possible that dummy might call attention to something of interest on the opponent's card, and affect declarer's line of play. Dummy may not, in general, take any action which might affect declarer's play of the hand. (Law 43A1c.)

  12. During the play, it is improper for declarer to ask what the contract is.

    FALSE - You may always ask what the contract is, but you may not ask for a review of the auction. You can also find out if the contract is doubled or redoubled, but not which player did the doubling. (Law 41C.)

  13. The auction proceeds 2NT - Pass - 2 Clubs (Insufficient). The director should allow opener's partner to correct his bid to 3 Clubs without penalty, unless the 2 Club bid is accepted.

    FALSE - If the director determines that the insufficient bid may have been a conventional call (as in this example), and it is not accepted by the next player, the call must be substituted with any legal call (other than double), and his partner must pass for the remainder of the auction. Not all cases are as clear-cut as this one, so always consult with the director. This is an important rule to know! (Law 27B2.)

  14. As a defender, I should call attention to my partner's failure to alert my alertable bid before he makes the opening lead.

    FALSE - As a defender you must wait until the end of the play to call attention to a failure to alert. Otherwise, your announcement could affect your partner's defensive play, and that is not allowed. If your side is declaring, you must call attention to a failure to alert before the opening lead is faced. (Law 75D2.) (On the other hand, if you suddenly realize that you should have alerted a bid, you should say so immediately, even if it isn't your turn to call or play.)

  15. Until a card is led to the next trick, declarer or either defender may inspect, but not expose, his own last card played.

    TRUE - Surprise! (Law 66B.)

  16. If dummy notices that declarer has a quitted trick turned wrong, he should call it to his attention as soon as possible.

    FALSE - Dummy may not help declarer play the hand. Correcting the trick record could well affect declarer's line of play. (Law 43A1c.)

  17. When any player at the table notices an irregularity during the play, he should call the director immediately.

    FALSE - Dummy must not initiate a call to the director. Doing so forfeits any right to a penalty. If dummy notices an irregularity during the play, he should call the director only after the last trick is played. (Law 43A1a.) (This limitation does not apply to any of the other players.)

  18. Dummy is allowed to attempt to prevent an irregularity by declarer.

    TRUE - This is one of dummy's rights. Dummy may attempt to prevent declarer from leading from the wrong hand, and may question a possible revoke by declarer. (Dummy cannot call attention to a possible revoke by a defender, since declarer may not have noticed, and it could change declarer's line of play.) (Law 42B1 and 2.) But dummy must not habitually remind declarer which hand has the lead. (Law 42B2b.)

  19. If declarer leads from the wrong hand, the lead must be corrected unless either defender accepts.

    TRUE - Either defender may accept a lead from the wrong hand by declarer. (Law 55A.)

  20. By law, you must count the cards in your hand before examining them.

    TRUE - Count your cards before looking at them. (Law 7B1.)

  21. By law, you must count the cards in your hand before putting them away.

    FALSE - However, each player is responsible for seeing that the correct 13 cards are returned to his pocket. You could be penalized if the next table discovers that the board has been fouled. (Law 7C.)

  22. A defender's card is considered "played" when held in a position such that his partner could see it.

    TRUE - It doesn't matter if the defender's partner saw the card or not. If the card is in a position such that he could have seen it, it is considered "played." (Law 45C1.) (Declarer has a different rule!)

  23. If a defender accidentally drops a small card face up, it is a minor penalty card.

    TRUE - A minor penalty card must be played before any other small card (9 or below) from the same suit, and does not have lead penalties. (Law 50C.)

    EDITOR - However, the possession of the card is unauthorised information for partner.

  24. If a player revokes to a trick, it is a two-trick penalty.

    FALSE - The revoke rule is complicated, and the penalty depends on the situation. The penalty could be two tricks, one trick, no tricks, or more than two tricks, depending on who won the revoke trick, and what happened afterward. Always ask a director. (Law 64.)

  25. After declarer claims the remaining tricks, if a defender disagrees with the claim, he should ask declarer to continue playing.

    FALSE - After making a claim, declarer is not allowed to continue play. If there is doubt, the director must be called to decide the resolution of the remaining tricks. Any subsequent play after a claim is canceled. Remember that declarer must make a statement regarding his line of play. (Law 68D.)

How did you do?

25NABC Director
20-24Legal Eagle
15-19Keepin' 'em honest
10-14Just playing for fun
0-9Rules, what rules?

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Editor's note:

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