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This is the gender neutral version of the WBF laws reproduced for easy navigation and use on mobile devices.
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Duplicate Bridge is continually evolving and changing which is why the World Bridge Federation has charged its Laws Committee with the task of “at least once each decade making a comprehensive study and updating of the entire laws structure.”
This latest review, begun some five years ago, is the most comprehensive to date. Suggestions and comments were sought from interested individuals and National Bridge Organisations and Zones.
After these were all collated they were considered by the Committee in depth with the relevant law, which then was either amended or left alone. The discussions occurred at a number of WBF Championships and some thousands of emails were exchanged over a five year period.
The purpose of the Laws remains unchanged. They are designed to define correct procedure and to provide an adequate remedy for when something goes wrong. They are designed not to punish irregularities but rather to rectify situations where non-offenders may otherwise be damaged. Players should be ready to accept graciously any rectification, penalty, or ruling.
The trend, begun in 2007, to give Tournament Directors more discretion in enforcing the Law has been continued and attempts have been made to clarify interpretations. The Committee intends to prepare a separate official Commentary containing examples to help in this respect.
Established usage has been retained in regard to “may” do (failure to do it is not wrong), “does” (establishes procedure without suggesting that violation be penalised) “should” do (failure to do it is an infraction jeopardising the infractor’s rights but not often penalised),”shall” do (a violation will incur a penalty more often than not) “must” do (the strongest word, a serious matter indeed). Again “must not” is the strongest prohibition, “shall not” is strong but “may not” is stronger – just short of “must not”.
For the avoidance of doubt, this Introduction and the Definitions that follow form part of the Laws.
Finally, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise, the singular includes the plural.
This edition of the laws is gender neutral.
A score awarded by the Director (see Law 12). It is either “artificial” or “assigned”.
A notification, whose form may be specified by the Regulating Authority, to the effect that opponents may be in need of an explanation.
1. A bid, double, or redouble that conveys information (not being information taken for granted by players generally) other than (or in addition to) a willingness to play in the denomination named or last named.
2. A pass that promises more than a specified amount of strength.
3. A pass that promises or denies values other than in the last suit named.
The process of determining the contract by means of successive calls. It begins when the first call is made. 2. The aggregate of calls made (see Law 17).
An undertaking to win at least a specified number of odd tricks (tricks in excess of six) in a specified denomination.
1. A duplicate board as described in Law
2. The four hands as originally dealt and placed in a duplicate board for play during a session (also referred to as a ‘deal’).
Any bid, double, redouble or pass.
Cancelled see “Withdrawn”.
in an individual event, a player; in a pair event, two players playing as partners throughout the event; in a team event, four or more players playing as team-mates.
the undertaking by declarer’s side to win, at the denomination named, the number of odd tricks specified in the final bid, whether undoubled, doubled or redoubled. (See Law 22)
1. The distribution of the pack to form the hands of the four players. 2. The cards so distributed considered as a unit, including the auction and play thereof.
the player who, for the side that makes the final bid, first bid the denomination named in the final bid Becomes declarer when the opening lead is faced (but see Law 54A when the opening lead is made out of turn).
an opponent of (presumed) declarer.
the suit or no trump specified in a bid.
a call over an opponent’s bid increasing the scoring value of fulfilled or defeated contracts (see Laws 19A and 77).
1. Declarer’s partner. When the opening lead is faced this player becomes dummy and ceases to be dummy when play ends. 2. Declarer’s partner’s cards, once they are spread on the table after the opening lead.
a contest of one or more sessions (synonym for ‘Tournament’).
not part of the lawful procedures of the game.
Play a card of the suit that has been led.
100 or more trick points scored on one deal (see Law 77).
the cards originally dealt to a player, or the remaining portion thereof.
any Ace, King, Queen, Jack or 10.
a player’s breach of Law or of Lawful regulation.
International Matchpoint (IMP)
a unit of scoring awarded according to a schedule established in Law 78B.
a deviation from correct procedure inclusive of, but not limited to, those which involve an infraction by a player.
the first card played to a trick.
a unit of scoring awarded to a contestant as a result of comparison with one or more other scores. See Law 78A.
the failure of a side to accurately disclose partnership method or understanding, as and when required by law or regulation.
each trick to be won by declarer’s side in excess of six.
the card led to the first trick.
a player of the other side; a member of the partnership to which one is opposed.
each trick won by declarer’s side in excess of the contract.
the 52 playing cards with which the game is played.
the player with whom one plays as a side against the other two players at the table.
90 or fewer trick points scored on one deal (see Law 77).
a call specifying that a player does not, at that turn, elect to bid, double or redouble.
(See also ‘Rectification’) – penalties are of two kinds:
those applied for the maintenance of courtesy and good order (see Law 91), and
penalties (additional to any rectification) assessed at the Director’s discretion in cases of procedural irregularities (see Law 90).
a card subject to disposition under Law 50.
1. The contribution of a card from one’s hand to a trick, including the first card, which is the lead.
2. The aggregate of plays made.
3. The period during which the cards are played.
4. The aggregate of the calls and plays on a board.
commences when the opening lead on a board is faced; contestants’ rights and powers in the play period each expire as the relevant Law provides. The play period itself ends when the cards are removed from their slots on the subsequent board (or when the last board of a round is quitted).
any points earned other than trick points (see Law 77).
the player, who in the absence of an irregularity, would become declarer.
Psychic call (commonly ‘psych[e]’ or ‘psychic’)
a deliberate and gross misstatement of honour strength and/or of suit length.
the remedial provisions to be applied when an irregularity has come to the Director’s attention.
a call over an opponent’s double, increasing the scoring value of fulfilled or defeated contracts (see Laws 19B and 77).
the clockwise progression of the normal turns to call or play; also the clockwise order in which, one at a time, the cards are recommended to be dealt.
a part of a session played without progression of players.
an extended period of play during which a number of boards, specified by the Tournament Organizer, is scheduled to be played. (May have different meanings as between Laws 4, 12C2 and 91.)
two players at a table who constitute a partnership against the other two players.
A contract to win six odd tricks (called Small Slam), or to win seven odd tricks (called Grand Slam).
a pack of cards not randomized from its prior condition.
One of four groups of cards in the pack, each group comprising thirteen cards and having a characteristic symbol: spades (ª), hearts (©), diamonds (¨), clubs (§).
two or more pairs playing in different compass directions at different tables but for a common score (applicable regulations may permit teams of more than four members).
the unit by which the outcome of the contract is determined, composed unless flawed of four cards, one contributed by each player in rotation, beginning with the lead.
points scored by declarer’s side for fulfilling the contract (see Law 77).
each card of the denomination named in a suit contract.
a contest of one or more sessions (synonym for ‘Event’).
the correct time at which a player is due to call or play.
each trick by which declarer’s side falls short of fulfilling the contract (see Law 77).
involuntary; not under control of the will; not the intention of the player at the moment of the action.
a card held such that its face may be seen by either an opponent or by partner.
the conditions for assigning premiums and undertrick penalties (see Law 77). Withdrawn actions said to be ‘withdrawn’ include actions that are ‘cancelled’ and cards that are ‘retracted’.