Better Basic Bridge: Did my mind take a vacation or has it always been this way

Nancy Evins • Updated Sep 10, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Since I have not played a hand of bridge in six months, I started reading the rules that those who want to be directors must learn.

I wallowed in despair, frustration and concerns that I was somewhat between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber.

One rule I understood was that if declarer calls for a suit in dummy and doesn’t indicate what number that suit should play, dummy must play the lowest card.

The exception is that if declarer, without a pause, corrects it, then the corrected card will be played.

However, if this is not done, dummy must play the lowest. I am still put out with myself for not calling the director when playing against one of the strongest woman on a women’s team in America and her partner, a doctorate who taught bridge.

There was only one trump out, held by my partner, and this experienced player led a small trump from her hand and merely said, “heart.” The smallest heart was smaller than the trump in my partner’s hand and had he smacked down his eight or nine on her six or seven, we would have gotten that trick.

However, her partner held out his hand and shrugged his shoulder and then she said, “Oh, top heart” which he then played.

So I do understand that one rule and it made me feel better when I read this letter to the section in the ACBL bridge journal called “Ruling the Game.”

The players wrote:

“At a tournament at our club, my partner was the declarer in a no trump contract. Seven tricks had been played and that was left in dummy the club KQJ10xx.

The lowest, I believe, was the two. The ace had already been played previously, and all that was left to do was to run the clubs. Nothing else made sense.

My partner said, “club, top club” without a breath between the two. That is uncontradicted. Our opponents, however, said in effect, “No. You called ‘club,’ and that is what the play has to be.”

The director agreed with our opponents. 

They won the next trick and ran another suit, giving us, of course, a terrible result.

On later inquiring, two other directors said that the first director was wrong. A fourth director said the first one was right. What was the correct ruling?”

Goody, I knew the answer. The first director was wrong and the only issue was whether the change was in the same breath, which the writer said all had agreed it was.

So now I’m going to stop worrying about the rules and start trying to find someone similar here to the frisky, frolicsome couple in all those assisted living facilities TV ads.

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


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