Those of you who know me through dancing may be surprised to learn that I'm also an EBU trained and qualified Contract Bridge Director. I direct at my home club, Exeter Bridge Club, as well as occasionally for Devon Bridge Association. I also sometimes provide tuition and advice to other clubs in the area.
This page contains my "blog" of interesting situations I have come across or been asked to rule on.
9th March 2018, EBC
Q: A club was led, and declarer won the trick in hand with a ruff. Declarer led a card to the next trick, and then realised they had a club after all. No one else had played to the next trick.The declarer asks if the revoke is established.
Law 63A1 states that a revoke becomes established when the offender or his partner leads or plays to the following trick. Since declarer had led to the following trick the revoke is established.
In asking the question, declarer was thinking that from the point of view of unauthorised information the position after declarer's lead to the next trick was exactly the same as before. This is true, but irrelevant. The revoke laws do not allow the director to overrule an automatic trick adjustment on the grounds that it is unduly harsh (Law 84B).
Q: East opens 1C (not alerted or announced), South asks "is that a genuine bid" and receives the answer "yes".
It later transpires that East does not have a club suit, and in fact had pulled out the wrong bidding card. NS claimed to have been damaged by misinformation. Are they entitled to redress?
A: No. There is no misinformation here, so no claim for damage can be entertained.
Law 75C states: When the partnership agreement has been explained correctly, the mistake being the call made and not the explanation, there is no infraction.
It further goes on to say: The explanation must not be corrected (nor must the Director be notified) immediately and there is no obligation to do so subsequently. Regardless of damage, the result stands.
Opponents have no right to know what is in your hand, only what information your bidding system conveys.
There is, however, unauthorised information here - on the part of NS. The 1C bid has not been alerted or announced so it should be presumed natural. Asking the question carries an inference that the questioner has clubs (it has been shown that in over 90% of such cases the questioner holds the suit in question). This is unathorised information to partner, and now partner (N) is under an onus not to take that into account.
Furthermore, South should not ask "is it natural?" If you want to know what a bid means, ask for an explanation of the bid. Asking a pointed question creates unecessary unauthorised information.