Nancy Evins: And even more on the subject of rules

Nancy Evins • Updated Sep 3, 2017 at 2:00 PM

John Crawford was considered a shrewd card player, though some might also consider him a cheat.

The story goes he was in a hopeless four-spade contract. About halfway through the hand, he said, “The rest are mine. Making five.”

His opponent exclaimed, ”What do you mean? I still have a trump trick.”

“Oh, you’re right. Great defense, too, holding me to four.”

The opponent, pleased, said, “Thank you.”

So much is wrong with this whole event. Obviously, Crawford knew he shouldn’t have made game. The opponent didn’t know that he should have immediately called, “director, please” and just asked that Crawford would state how he plans to play his remaining cards, including the sequence and line of play, facing all his cards. 

Of course, my mother would never do that.

It is not sufficient just to say, “The rest are mine,” or “I’ll take three more tricks and give you one at the end of the hand.”

If no statement is made, the other side should avoid asking the claimant about his line of play. Instead, they should either agree the claim or call the director.

Claimant now may remember there is a trump out, and he meant to draw it, but if it was not stated, the opponent gets that trick which may lead to other tricks for their side.

Some time back, I was in a four-suit bid and after seeing dummy and that my partner’s hand was flat, as was mine, I realized I would lose four tricks, no matter what mistakes opponents might make, except, perhaps, they reneged.

There are rules, too, for kibitzers, but I followed them when I had a sit out the next round, and that hand would be played at another table.

I politely asked the man who was about the play the hand I had just finished, if I could watch, was granted permission, and sat down slightly behind him as I was not to look into anyone else’s hand.

The bidding went the same and also the contract.

Halfway through, declarer suddenly claimed the rest of the hand and opponents said not a word. The hand was scored as making four.

I got up and walked to the director’s table and asked if a kibitzer could report an error.

I was told no, but the fellow who had claimed, seeing me speak to the director, got  up and told the director he believed he, himself, had scored it incorrectly, that instead of making four, he went down one.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would have later realized he’d made a mistake and would have corrected it anyway.

Yeah, sure.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]


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