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A.      Rank of Cards and Suits

Duplicate Bridge is played with a pack of 52 cards, consisting of 13 cards in each of four suits.  The suits rank downward in the order spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦), clubs (♣).  The Cards of each suit rank downward in the order Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

B.      The Face of the Cards

The Regulating Authority may require the face of each card to be symmetrical.

C.      The Backs of the Cards

The backs of all 52 cards in a deck should be identical.  They may incorporate words, a logo or a pictorial design but the image used should possess a centre of symmetry.


A duplicate board containing a pack is provided for each deal to be played during a session. Each board is numbered and has four pockets to hold the four hands, designated North, East, South and West. The dealer and vulnerability are designated as follows:

North Dealer

Boards  1  5   9   13
East DealerBoards  2  6  10  14
South DealerBoards  3  7  11  15
West DealerBoards  4  8  12  16
Neither Side VulnerableBoards  1  8  11  14
North-South VulnerableBoards  2  5  12  15
East-West VulnerableBoards  3  6   9   16
Both Sides VulnerableBoards  4  7  10  13

The same sequence is repeated for Boards 17-32 and for each subsequent group of 16 boards.

No board that fails to conform to these conditions should be used. If such board is used, however, the conditions marked on it apply for that session.


Four players play at each table. Tables are numbered in a sequence established by the Director, who designates one direction as North; other compass directions assume the normal relationship to North.


The four players at each table constitute two partnerships or sides, North-South against East-West. In pair or team events the contestants enter as pairs or teams respectively and retain the same partnerships throughout a session (except as authorized by the Director). In individual events each player enters separately, and partnerships change during a session.


A.      Initial Position

The Director assigns an initial position to each contestant (individual, pair or team) at the start of a session. Unless otherwise directed, the members of each pair or team may select seats among those assigned to them by mutual agreement. Having once selected a compass direction, a player may change it within a session only upon instruction or with permission of the Director.

B.      Change of Direction or Table

Players change their initial compass direction or proceed to another table in accordance with the Director’s instructions. The Director is responsible for clear announcement of instructions; each player is responsible for moving when and as directed and for occupying the correct seat after each change.


A.      The Shuffle

Before play starts, each pack is thoroughly shuffled. There is a cut if either opponent so requests.

B.      The Deal

The cards must be dealt face down, one card at a time, into four hands of thirteen cards each; each hand is then placed face down in one of the four pockets of the board.  No two adjacent cards from the deck shall be dealt into the same hand. The recommended procedure is that the cards be dealt in rotation, clockwise.

C.      Representation of Both Pairs

A member of each side should be present during the shuffle and deal unless the Director instructs otherwise.

D.      New Shuffle and Re-deal

If it is ascertained before the auction first begins on a board that the cards have been incorrectly dealt or that during the shuffle and deal a player could have seen the face of a card belonging to another player there shall be a new shuffle and deal. Thereafter Law 16D applies to the accidental sighting of a card belonging to another player’s hand before completion of the play of the board (but see Law 24). 

Unless the purpose of the tournament is the replay of past deals no result may stand if the cards are dealt without shuffle from a sorted deck[1] or if the deal has been imported from a different session. (These provisions shall not prevent arrangements, where desired, for exchange of boards between tables.)

The Director may require a new shuffle and a redeal for any reason compatible with the Laws (but see Law 22B and Law 86A).

E.       Director’s Option on Shuffling and Dealing

The Director may instruct that the shuffle and deal be performed at each table immediately before play starts.

The Director may perform the shuffle and deal in advance.

The Director may have an assistant or other appointed agents perform the shuffle and deal in advance.

The Director may require a different method of dealing or pre-dealing to produce the same wholly random expectations as from A and B above.

F.       Duplication of Board

If required by the conditions of play, one or more exact copies of each original deal may be made under the Director’s instructions after which there shall normally be no redeal of a board (although the Director has powers to order it).


A.      Placement of Board

When a board is to be played it is placed in the centre of the table where it shall remain, correctly oriented, until play is completed.

B.      Removal of Cards from Board

  1. Each player takes a hand from the pocket with the corresponding compass position.
  2. Each player counts their cards face down to be sure there are exactly thirteen; after that, and before making a call, must inspect the faces of the cards.
  3. During play each player retains possession of their own cards, not permitting them to be mixed with those of any other player. No player shall touch any other cards (but declarer may play dummy’s cards in accordance with Law 45) during or after play except by permission of an opponent or the Director.

C. Returning Cards to Board

After play has finished, each player should shuffle the original thirteen cards, and restore them to the corresponding compass position pocket. Thereafter no hand shall be removed from the board unless a member of each side, or the Director, is present.

D.      Responsibility for Procedures

Any contestant remaining at a table throughout a session is primarily responsible for maintaining proper conditions of play at the table.


A.      Movement of Boards and Players

  1. The Director instructs the players as to the proper movement of boards and progression of contestants.
  2. Unless the Director instructs otherwise, the North player at each table is responsible for moving the boards just completed at the table to the proper table for the following round.

B.      End of Round

  1. In general, a round ends when the Director gives the signal for the start of the following round; but if any table has not completed play by that time, the round continues for that table until there has been a progression of players.
  2. When the Director exercises the authority to postpone play of a board, for that board the round does not end for the players concerned until the board has been played and the score agreed and recorded or the Director has cancelled the play of the board.

C. End of Last Round and End of Session

The last round of a session, and the session itself, ends for each table when play of all boards scheduled at that table has been completed, and when all scores have been entered without objection.


A.      Drawing Attention to an Irregularity

  1. Unless prohibited by Law, any player may draw attention to an irregularity during the auction period, whether or not it is their turn to call.
  2. Unless prohibited by Law, declarer or either defender may draw attention to an irregularity that occurs during the play period. For an incorrectly pointed card see Law 65B3.
  3. Any player, including dummy, may attempt to prevent an irregularity (but for dummy subject to Laws 42 and 43).
  4. Dummy may not call attention to an irregularity until play of the hand is concluded (but see Law 20F5 for correction of declarer’s apparently mistaken explanation).
  5. There is no obligation to draw attention to an infraction of law committed by one’s own side (but see Law 20F5 for correction of partner’s apparently mistaken explanation).

B.      After Attention Is Drawn to an Irregularity

  1. (a) The Director should be summoned at once when attention is drawn to an irregularity.

(b) Any player, including dummy, may summon the Director after attention has been drawn to an irregularity.

(c) Summoning the Director does not cause the forfeiture of any rights to which a player might otherwise be entitled.

(d) The fact of drawing attention to an irregularity committed by a player’s side does not affect the rights of the opponents.

2. No player shall take any action until the Director has explained all matters in regard to rectification.

C. Premature Correction of an Irregularity

Any premature correction of an irregularity by the offender may become the subject of further rectification (see the lead restrictions in Law 26B).


A.      Right to Determine Rectification

The Director alone has the right to determine rectifications when applicable. Players do not have the right to determine (or waive – see Law 81C5) rectifications on their own initiative.

B.      Cancellation of Enforcement or Waiver of Rectification

The Director may allow or cancel any enforcement or waiver of a rectification made by the players without instruction.

C. Choice after Irregularity

  1. When these Laws provide an option after an irregularity, the Director shall explain all the options available.
  2. A player who has an option after an irregularity, must make the selection without consulting partner.
  3. When these Laws provide the innocent side with an option after an irregularity committed by an opponent, it is appropriate to select the most advantageous action.
  4. Subject to Law 16C2, after rectification of an infraction it is appropriate for the offenders to make any call or play advantageous to their side, even though they thereby appear to profit through their own infraction (but see Laws 27 and 72C).


A.      Action by Non-Offending Side

The right to rectification of an irregularity may be forfeited if either member of the non-offending side takes any action before summoning the Director. If a side has gained through subsequent action taken by an opponent in ignorance of the relevant provisions of the law, the Director adjusts only that side’s score by taking away any accrued advantage. The other side retains the score achieved at the table.

B.      Penalty after Forfeiture of the Right to Rectification

Even after the right to rectification has been forfeited under this Law, the Director may assess a procedural penalty (see Law 90).


A.      Power to Award an Adjusted Score

On the application of a player within the period established under Law 92B, or by the Director’s initiative, an adjusted score may be awarded when these Laws empower it (in team play see Law 86B). This includes:

  1. The Director may award an adjusted score in favour of a non-offending contestant when these Laws do not prescribe a rectification for the particular type of violation committed in the Director’s judgement.
  2. The Director awards an artificial adjusted score if no rectification can be made that will permit normal play of the board (see C2 below).
  3. The Director may award an adjusted score if there has been an incorrect rectification of an irregularity.

B.      Objectives of Score Adjustment

  1. The objective of score adjustment is to redress damage to a non-offending side and to take away any advantage gained by an offending side through its infraction. Damage exists when, because of an infraction, an innocent side obtains a table result less favourable than would have been the expectation had the infraction not occurred.
  2. The Director may not award an adjusted score on the grounds that the rectification provided in these Laws is either unduly severe or advantageous to either side.

C. Awarding an Adjusted Score

  1. (a)When after an irregularity the Director is empowered by these laws to adjust a score and is able to award an assigned adjusted score, this should be done. Such a score replaces the score obtained in play.
    (b) The Director in awarding an assigned adjusted score should seek to recover as nearly as possible the probable outcome of the board had the infraction not occurred.
    (c) An assigned adjusted score may be weighted to reflect the probabilities of a number of potential results, but only outcomes that could have been achieved in a legal manner may be included.
    (d)If the possibilities are numerous or not obvious, the Director may award an artificial adjusted score (see C2 below).(e)If, subsequent to the irregularity, the non-offending side has contributed to its own damage by an extremely serious error (unrelated to the infraction) or by a gambling action, which if unsuccessful it might have hoped to recover through rectification, then:
      (i) The offending side is awarded the score it would have been allotted as the consequence of rectifying its infraction.
      (ii) The non-offending side does not receive relief for such part of its damage as is self-inflicted.
  2. (a) When owing to an irregularity no result can be obtained [see also C1(d)] 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 partly at fault, and average plus (at least 60% in pairs) to a contestant in no way at fault.
    (b) When the Director chooses to award an artificial adjusted score of average plus or average minus at IMP play, that score is plus 3 IMPs or minus 3 IMPs respectively. Subject to approval by the Regulating Authority, this may be varied by the Tournament Organizer as provided for by Laws 78D, 86B3 and (d) hereunder.
    (c) The foregoing is modified for a non-offending contestant that obtains a session score exceeding 60% of the available matchpoints or for an offending contestant that obtains a session score that is less than 40% of the available matchpoints (or the equivalent in IMPs). Such contestants are awarded the percentage obtained (or the equivalent in IMPs) on the other boards of that session.
    (d)The Regulating Authority may provide for circumstances where a contestant fails to obtain a result on multiple boards during the same session. The scores assigned for each subsequent board may be varied by regulation from those prescribed in (a) and (b) above.
  3. In individual events the Director enforces the rectifications in these Laws, and the provisions requiring the award of adjusted scores, equally against both members of the offending side even though only one of them may be responsible for the irregularity. But the Director shall not award a procedural penalty against the offender’s partner if of the opinion that offender’s partner is in no way to blame.
  4. When the Director awards non-balancing adjusted scores in knockout play, each contestant’s score on the board is calculated separately and the average of them is assigned to each.


A.      No Call Made

If no player with an incorrect number of cards has made a call, then:

The Director shall correct the discrepancy and, if no player has seen another’s card, shall require that the board be played normally.

When the Director determines that one or more pockets of the board contained an incorrect number of cards and a player has seen one or more cards of another player’s hand, the Director allows the board to be played and scored.  If the Director then considers the extraneous information has affected the outcome of the board, an adjusted the score shall be awarded [see Law 12C1(b)] and an offender may be penalized.

B.      Discovered during the Auction or Play

When the Director determines that a player’s hand originally contained more than 13 cards with another player holding fewer, and a player with an incorrect hand has made a call:

  1. If the Director judges that the deal can be corrected and played, then the deal may be so played with no change of call. At the end of play the Director may award an adjusted score.
  2. Otherwise when a call has been made with an incorrect number of cards, the Director shall award an adjusted score [see Law 12C1(b)] and may penalize an offender.

C. Surplus Card

Any surplus card not part of the deal is removed if found. The auction and play continue without further rectification. No adjusted score may be awarded unless such a card is found to have been played to a quitted trick.

D.      Play Completed

When it is determined after play ends that a player’s hand originally contained more than 13 cards with another player holding fewer, the result must be cancelled and an adjusted score awarded (Law 86B may apply). An offending contestant is liable to a procedural penalty.


A.      Hand Found Deficient before Play Commences

When one or more hands are found to contain fewer than 13 cards, with no hand having more than 13, before the opening lead is faced, the Director makes a search for any missing card, and:

  1. if the card is found, it is restored to the deficient hand.
  2. if the card cannot be found, the Director reconstructs the deal by substituting another pack.
  3. the auction and play continue normally without alteration of any of the calls made, the restored hand being deemed to have contained all of its cards continuously throughout.

B.      Hand Found Deficient Afterwards

When one or more hands are found to contain fewer than 13 cards, with no hand having more than 13, at any time after the opening lead is faced (until the end of the Correction Period), the Director makes a search for any missing card, and:

  1. if the card is found among the played cards, Law 67 applies.
  2. if the card is found elsewhere, it is restored to the deficient hand. Rectification and/or penalties may apply (see B4 following).
  3. if the card cannot be found, the deal is reconstructed using another pack. Rectification and/or penalties may apply (see B4 following).
  4. 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, and failure to have played it may constitute a revoke.

C. Information from Replacement of a Card

Knowledge of the replacement of a card is unauthorized for the partner of a player whose hand contained an incorrect number of cards.


A.      Cards from Wrong Board

  1. A call is cancelled (together with any subsequent call) if it is made by a player holding cards that were picked up from a wrong board.
  2. (a) If the offender’s partner has subsequently called, the Director shall award an adjusted score.
    (b) Otherwise, after looking at the correct hand the offender calls again and the auction continues normally from that point.
    (c)Law 16C applies to any call withdrawn or cancelled.
  3. If the offender subsequently repeats a call on the board from which the cards were mistakenly drawn, the Director may allow that board to be played normally, but the Director shall award an adjusted score when offender’s call differs[3] from the original cancelled call.
  4. A procedural penalty (Law 90) may be assessed in addition to the rectifications above.

B.      Wrong Board Discovered During Auction or Play Period[4]

If, after the commencement of the auction period, the Director discovers that a contestant is playing a board not designated for this pair to play in the current round, then:

  1. if one or more players at the table have previously played the board, with the correct opponents or otherwise, the board is cancelled for both sides.
  2. if none of the four players have previously played the board the Director shall require the auction and play to be completed.  The score stands and both pairs may be required to play the correct board against one another later.
  3. the Director shall award an artificial adjusted score [see Law 12C2(a)] to any contestant deprived of the opportunity to earn a valid score.  


A.      Players’ Use of Information

A player may use information in the auction or play if:

  1. (a) it derives from the legal calls and plays of the current board (including illegal calls and plays that are accepted) and is unaffected by unauthorized information from another source; or
    (b) it is authorized information from a withdrawn action (see C); or
    (c) it is information specified in any law or regulation to be authorized or, when not otherwise specified, arising from the legal procedures authorized in these laws and in regulations (but see B1 following); or
    (d) it is information that the player possessed before taking the hand from the board (Law 7B) and the Laws do not preclude the use of this information.
  2. Players may also take account of their estimate of their own score, of the traits of their opponents, and any requirement of the tournament regulations.

B.      Extraneous Information from Partner

  1. Any extraneous information from partner that might suggest a call or play is unauthorized.  This includes remarks, questions, replies to questions, unexpected alerts or failures to alert, unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism.
    (a) A player may not choose a call or play that is demonstrably suggested over another by unauthorized information if the other call or play is a logical alternative.
    (b) A logical alternative is an action that a significant proportion of the class of players in question, using the methods of the partnership, would seriously consider, and some might select.
  2. When a player considers that an opponent has made such information available and that damage could well result this player may announce, unless prohibited by the Regulating Authority (which may require that the Director be called), their intention to reserve 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).
  3. When a player has substantial reason to believe that an opponent who had a logical alternative has chosen an action suggested by such information, the Director should be summoned when play ends[5]. An adjusted score shall be assigned (see Law 12C1) if, in the Director’s judgement, an infraction of law has resulted in an advantage for the offender.

C. Information from Withdrawn Calls and Plays

When a call or play has been withdrawn as these laws provide:

  1. For a non-offending side, all information arising from a withdrawn action is authorized, whether the action be its own or its opponents’.
  2. For an offending side, information arising from its own withdrawn action and from withdrawn actions of the non-offending side is unauthorized. A player of an offending side may not choose a call or play that is demonstrably suggested over another by unauthorized information if the other call or play is a logical alternative.
  3. An adjusted score shall be assigned (see Law 12C1) if in the Director’s judgement a violation of C2 has damaged the non-offending side.

D.      Extraneous Information from Other Sources

  1. When a player accidentally receives extraneous information about the current board or a board yet to be played, 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 the table before the auction begins (see also Law 13A), the Director should be notified forthwith, preferably by the recipient of the information.
  2. If the information would likely interfere with normal play in the Director’s judgement, before any call has been made, the Director may: (a) adjust the players’ positions at the table, if the type of contest and scoring permit, so that the player with information about one hand will hold that hand;
    (b) if the form of competition allows it order the board redealt for those contestants;
    (c) allow completion of the play of the board standing ready to award an adjusted score if judging that the extraneous information affected the result;
    (d)award an adjusted score (for team play see Law 86B). If such extraneous information is received after the first call in the auction has been made and before completion of the play of the board the Director proceeds as in 2(c) or 2(d) above.

[1] A ‘sorted deck’ is a pack of cards not randomized from its prior condition.

[2] This Law applies when one or more hands are found to contain more than 13 cards. See Law 14 for cases involving a deficient deck

[3] A substituted call differs if its meaning is much different or if it is psychic.

[4] This law only applies to pair and individual events – see Law 86B for team events.

[5] It is not an infraction to call the Director earlier or later.

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