Every 10 years the Laws of Bridge are revised. The new 2017 Laws come into effect on 1st October at the Club.

As far as players are concerned, very little has changed in how you play the game. All the major changes are around “What to do when things go wrong!”.

The only significant change for players is around CLAIMS. This includes concessions as these are just a claim to win no further tricks.

First of all we’d better say what hasn’t changed.

  1. If, as a defender, you concede the remainder of the tricks and partner immediately objects, then your concession is voided and we play on. Any unauthorised information arising from this can be dealt with by calling the director.
  2. When you make a claim, you should state your winners and/or a line of play.

Under the 2007 Laws, when there was a claim then play ceased. If you weren’t happy with the claim then you were supposed to call the director. He would then sort it out, giving the benefit of the doubt to the non-claimers.

There wasn’t an option to play on – but many people did and then if it went pear-shaped they called the director to sort the self-inflicted mess out.

Under the new 2017 Laws the law-makers have realised that they can’t stop people playing on (even though the 2007 Law say you can’t), so they legalised it but in such a way that it makes it easier for the director to deal with.

Under the new 2017 Laws, when a claim is made, play is merely suspended whilst the non-claimers assess the claim. If they accept it then play ceases and a score is agreed. If they reject the claim then they have the choice to either request the claimer to play on or call for the director to rule on the dodgy claim.

However you can only play on after a claim if:

  1. The non-claiming side asks you to AND
  2. All four players (including dummy) agree

If any player objects then play ceases and the director is called.

So how do the new laws make it easier for the director in the case that players choose to play on? Simple! If the players are not happy with how the hand played out then the director is told to rule “Tough! Score stands”.

This means that:

  1. The claimer can take a different line of play to his claim if he want. For example, he can now draw that trump that he forgot was out.
  2. Whist play is suspended the defenders can show each other their hands and discuss how they might play the hand should they play on.
  3. Dummy can suggest a line of play to declarer.

If you choose to play on after any of this has happened then you will have to live with the table result – the director will not get involved.

So is it ever a good idea to play on? Having spoken to several top players and directors, they are unanimous in their belief that they would NEVER play on.

The only other bit that has changed with regards to claims is that the claimer MUST show his hand when he claims. Previously it was optional, but as soon as the director is called, the first thing he would say is “Everybody show me your cards”.

So there you have it – You are now legally allowed to play on after a claim, but it is not recommended and whatever happens, good or bad, you have to live with the result.

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