Lets Play

There are rules that must be respected, and there is a commonly accepted etiquette that all players should follow.

The Rules

The latest version of the
Laws of Duplicate Bridge date from 2017.

The Etiquette

The Tournament Director will have allocated to each table and each pair a number. And he will have fixed the direction North.
The Tournament Director will have assigned an initial position (table and direction) to each contestant. It the Tournament Director has not assigned a compass direction to individual players, they may select seats among those assigned to them by mutual agreement, but they should then keep that compass direction throughout the session, unless instructed to change by the Tournament Director.
The Tournament Director will give instructions as to when to move and where, and players are responsible for following those instructions and for occupying the correct seat.
At the start of the round players should greet their opponents in a warm and friendly manner.
Players should check that they are at the right table, that the opponents are the right ones, and that they have the correct boards.
The back of the cards being used must all be identical. They may incorporate words, logo's or pictures or designs, but the images must possess a centre of symmetry, i.e. in a hand they must all look identical which every way they are held.
Players may be requested to shuffle and deal the first hands. Packs should be thoroughly shuffled, then dealt face down, one at a time, into four hands. The deck can be 'cut' if opponents request it. It is recommended to deal the cards in rotation, clockwise.
It is considered friendly to announce to the opponent the basics of the bidding system being played, e.g. 5-card major, 15-17 points for one No Trump, weak two's.
The boards should be placed in the centre of the table, correctly oriented, and left there until play is finished.
Each players takes their cards, counts them face down, and then sorts them in their hand. Technically speaking players should not touch the cards of other players, although declarer may play dummy's cards.
In principle once players have sorted and placed their cards in their hand, they should continue to hold them in the same way until the play of the hand has been completed. The hand should be kept fanned out, and the spacing between cards constant and equal. It is best if hands are not shut up, put down on the table, shifted from one hand to the other, or re-sorted.
When play is finished, each player should shuffle their hand and place it back in the right location in the board.
The Tournament Director should indicate where the players and the boards should go. North is responsible for moving the boards to the right table for the next round.
The Tournament Director can cancel the play of a board, or they can postpone the play of the board.
Irregularities can occur, and any player may call attention to an irregularity at any time (except if prohibited by the rules). Any player, including dummy, can attempt to prevent an irregularity.
There is always the risk that something might be considered as unauthorised information. So it is best for everyone if a number of basic rules are adhered to.
Players should always pause for more or less the same amount of time before making a bid or a Pass.
If a player pauses for an unusually long time under normal circumstances and then bids a Pass, their partner might be obliged to also Pass. If the partner does bid, the onus will be on them to demonstrate that the partner's pause did not influence their bidding.
It is legitimate for a player to take more time it the opponent on their right-hand side opens with a 2-level bid (or higher) or intervenes with a jump bid. In all cases the player should wait 10 seconds before bidding.
All bids, including Pass, should be made without emphasis.
Players and partners are not allowed to suggest bids or plays to each other. That includes remarks, questions, replies to questions, unexpected alerts or failures to alert, unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, movement or mannerism.
If a player by accident receives information about the board they are playing or will play (e.g. overhearing a bid) they should notify the Tournament Director immediately.
In technical jargon there is an auction and there is an auction period. The auction period includes the auction and a period for clarification.


how to review bidding before play in bridge

  1. Transfer bids over an opening 1NT are made by announcing “transfer” after your partner makes the bid
  2. Remember to alert your opponents to any call which is conventional below the level of 3NT. You only need to alert conventional calls above the level of 3NT on the first round of bidding e.g. 1: P : 4(needs to be alerted)
    Do not allow your hand to hover over or fidget with the bidding cards in the bidding box while you are considering the bid you will make. Perceived uncertainty can convey unauthorised information.
    Whenever an alert is required to draw attention to a conventional call made by partner, the ALERT card should be taken from the box and shown to both opponents (making sure it is seen by both), before being replaced in the box. The next opponent to bid has the option to ask for the meaning of the bid.
    If making a jump bid, before you take out the bid you intend to make, place the “Stop” card on the table to alert your next opponent that a jump bid is about to be made e.g a pre-emptive 3 bid.

Once you place your jump bid on the table, wait 10 seconds before returning the “Stop” card to the bidding box. This allows your opponent to bid “in tempo”, without undue hesitation that could convey information unfairly. When your right hand opponent employs a stop card, wait for it to be removed before you make your next bid.
At the end of the auction, make sure the bidding is completed by having 3 passes on the table. Leave the bidding cards on the table until the opening lead is made. This allows declarer and both defenders to review and analyse the bidding. The opponent on lead has the opportunity to ask for clarification of the bidding e.g. the meaning of a bid etc. It also may help to prevent a lead out of turn.
Opening Lead
9. Place the opening lead face down on the table This prevents you leading out of turn Your partner now has the opportunity to ask questions about the bidding. If they have none, they should say “Thank you” or “No questions” and you can turn your lead face up. Dummy can then be placed on the table. Try to keep the board on the table, with North pointed in the correct direction, to ensure there will be no misboarding.
As Dummy
10. When placing Dummy’s hand on the table and a suit contract is being played, the trump suit should be placed on Dummy’s right, Declarer’s left. When Dummy, don’t play any card, however obvious, until asked by partner. When Dummy, don’t look at opponent’s or partner’s hands or shift around on your seat.
At the End of play
11. Agree the result before entering the score and lifting the cards that have been played from the table – this allows you to check the cards in the correct order, if there should be a problem. Don’t take the cards from the board after they have been returned to it after play. Penalties will be incurred if cards are misboarded.
Only move to the next table when the TD has moved the boards and asked you to move.
Calling the Director
12. If anything should go wrong at the table, agree with your opponents to call the Tournament Director.
Let one player explain the facts to the TD and avoid raised voices that may distract other players at nearby tables. Make the Tournament Director your friend – he/she is there to ensure everyone has a fair and enjoyable game.
More details are available in the annual CBAI Diary or from the rule Book – “The Laws of Duplicate Bridge”
Body Language

  1. Be aware of your own mannerisms and try to remain impassive so that you do not convey any unauthorised information about your hand.
  2. Be courteous to opponents and to your partner. ENJOY YOUR GAME!!