Better Behaviour

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As most players willl know, Liz McGowan has penned some excellent articles on conduct, ethics and etiquette at the bridge table. The SBU started the Better Behaviour campaign in November 2013 yet it is distressing how many players appear to be oblivious to it.

The campaign targets all levels of bridge, attempting to make playing bridge less intimidating for newcomers and more cordial for experienced players by reminding everyone of the appropriate way to handle various aspects of bidding, play, etiquette and errors at the table. To quote from the campaign launch:

"One perceived reason for falling numbers in our clubs and events is that newcomers are intimidated: perhaps by unfamiliarity with the demands of a tournament - or could it be by the behaviour of more experienced players?"

In the interests of widening the audience to this essential subject, we have borrowed some of Liz's work and re-published here [in some cases with reformatting to suit this website].

The original articles can be found under the Laws and Ethics section of the main SBU website here.

Liz's parting words from the official launch are worthy of commiting to memory:

"Remember - it is often not the words used that offend but the manner in which they are spoken."

Without a Tournament Director there can be no tournament.

Try not to take your TD for granted!

The TD will ensure that the tournament runs smoothly and resolve any issues that arise at the table.

Has anyone ever said ‘I did not see the Alert’ at your table?

Did you think he might be trying to excuse a bad bid or play?

Make a decision today that this will never happen again: vow to alert in such a way that your Alert Card cannot be missed!

‘Hanlon’s’ Razor’ is a saying distantly related to Murphy’s Law

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

(Not to suggest that bridge players are stupid – they are of course a highly intelligent set of people – but they may act in ignorance. Please try to educate rather than to condemn.)

Many players are intimidated by aggressive questioning.

Inexperienced players are particularly vulnerable: they may not understand the question, or know what kind of answer is expected.

As with most situations in life, there are good ways and not so good ways to go about this...

Laws of Duplicate Bridge 2007, Definitions:
Dummy is declarer's partner. He becomes dummy once the opening lead is made.

Let's clear up the confusion on what dummy can and cannot do...

The Bidding Box is a great invention: it makes it easy to remember the auction, and avoids all accusations of verbal inflection that might carry Unauthorised Information.

Unfortunately it has produced another way to convey Unauthorised Information...

What should you do when an opponent fixes partner with a steely glare and demands to know what your bid means; and partner is either lost for words, or produces an explanation that does not describe your agreement?

When you have a problem, do you stop to think about it? How do you cope when partner makes a hesitation?

Psychic bids have been in the news recently, with complaints that they are too frequent at the Autumn Congress. Learn what constitutes a psychic bid and the rules regarding them.

When you are asked what you understand by such-and-such, how do you answer? Learning what to say is just as important as what not to say.

Ah! Conduct and etiquette at the table. Think you are well behaved? Think you know how to conduct yourself at the table? Read on and find out...

Well - I pull it out of my hand and place it on the table in front of me? What else is there? Read on - I'm sure you know someone who suffers from poor practices.

An experienced player will often claim, as declarer, or concede as defender. You can even do this on BBO. What's it all about then? Why not play till the bitter end (I've had people ask me to do that when claiming). Read on to find out more.

Oh dear. Partner did something that puts me in an awkward position (usually hesitated). What can and (and what can't I) do now?

Law 7A: When a board is to be played it is placed in the centre of the table till play is completed.

Quite simple really – do not remove the board from the table, do not move it to the side so that it cannot be seen, do not turn it through 90◦. Just leave it in the centre of the table!
(It is all right to move it a short distance to accommodate dummy, but it MUST stay where it can be clearly seen by all 4 players, with the compass signs pointing towards the correct players.)

If playing in an SBU event with a non-playing Director please follow Law 9B(a)

"The director should be summoned at once when attention is drawn to an irregularity"

No matter how well you think you know the Laws, they are generally more complex than you might think – a ruling that applies in one situation need not also apply to a similar but slightly different one.

A player should carefully avoid any remark or action that might cause annoyance or embarrassment to another player or might interfere with the enjoyment of the game.

We need everybody to co-operate in a two-pronged attack on unpleasantness. Let us all make an effort not to interfere with others’ enjoyment of the game.