02 April 2015
The Ten Commandments
The American Contract Bridge League provides new members with “The 10 Commandments of Bridge”. The pamphlet begins: Duplicate bridge devotees and newcomers to the game should remember at all times that duplicate is a serious competition as well as a social pastime.*
Viewed in this light, it is important that all participants adhere to the recognized “proprieties”of the game. A violation of one or more of these proprieties may being about a situation from which no one gains and everyone loses. To help avert such incidents, players should make every effort to become familiar with the section of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge known as The Proprieties, the most important of which are as follows:
1. Do not bid or play with special emphasis, speed or reluctance, or in such a way as to deceive your opponents or to convey improper information to partner.
2. Do not draw any inference from the fact that partner has hesitated or bid with unusual emphasis, inflection or speed. Always make your bid strictly on the basis of the cards you see. Should your partner convey improper information by word, intonation or hesitation, you must lean over backwards to avoid being influenced.
3. Do not request a review of the auction, or a trick, in order to alert partner to something you fear he may not have noted. Such a review should be requested for your own information.
4. Do not use any bid or play having special meaning to you and your partner unless it has been noted on your convention card or called to your opponents’ attention beforehand. (Even so, you are still obliged to alert the bid when relevant.)
5. Do not detach a card from your hand before it is your turn to play, and before you have decided which card you will play.
6. During the auction or play, do not call your partner’s attention to an item on your opponents’ convention card that you think he may not have noticed. It is your partner’s responsibility to find out for himself what conventions the opponents are using.
7. Avoid any indication of approval or disapproval of partner’s bid or play. (This is why screens are popular at national and international level. Behind the screen partner cannot see you scowl or smile.)
8. Do not put your cards down on the table or look away from the table before the bidding ends, or in any other way indicate that you want your partner to pass – or do anything else.
9. Make all bids in the recognized legal manner: a number and a suit or notrump. If you are using bidding boxes, you should decide on your call before reaching for the bidding box. Do not use any special emphasis in selecting or placing the bidding card on the table. If you grab the wrong card out of the bidding box, call the Director, because you may have rights under the Laws to change your call.
10. Always maintain a courteous manner toward your partner and also your opponents; refrain from words or action that interfere with their enjoyment of the game.
* We are indebted to Ron Klinger for reminding us all of these proprieties.