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Unnecessary use of Stop card

edited 11:44PM in Bridge Laws
It's happened loads of times, but earlier this week caused some real bad feeling at the club.  The bidding goes 1H - 2C - STOP 2S.  The non-offending side wanted it to be treated as an insufficient bid;  I think it gives partner unauthorised information (i.e. "I want to show you a strong hand, partner, but as cheaply as possible!")

Can anyone advise, please?



  • edited 11:44PM
    It's not an insufficient bid. It is a 2S bid. The use of the stop card wrongly may however give unauthorised information. If the opening hand takes normal actions then there should be no penalty. The person that used the stop card wrongly might get a finger wagging but it would be unusual to fine them unless it was repeated or deliberate.
    If the non offending side gave up seeking to impose rules which don't exist and called the director if they thought it necessary then perhaps there would be less bad feeling.
  • edited 11:44PM
    Thanks Jeremy.  The director was called but felt unable to give a ruling, having left his rule book at home.  Would it be normal to just treat wrong use of the stop card as a mechanical error then, so the offender is asked to check whether rho has bid in future before bidding themselves? 
  • edited December 2015
    The stop card (and for that matter alert card) should not be regarded as bids so the penalty for using one when you shouldn't is not the same as, say, pulling out the wrong bid. If it is placed in the auction you give and it turns out that the person who used it has a 10 or 11 count then he has probably not seen the auction correctly. 
    The laws and regulations are on the web if your director had a mobile phone but a director turning up without a law book is a bit like a football referee turning up without his whistle.
  • edited 11:44PM

    One time I pulled a STOP card without needing to use it, and I thought I had better make a skip bid, so I did. Fortunately, the result was normal, but I went and asked the chief national director (in the USA) and he said "The STOP card is not a bid. You can replace it with no penalty."

    Of course, he meant that "assuming it was just a mistake and has no UI implications, then . . . " but let it be a guideline for you that you are human, and humans do unintentional things which have no meaning. As long as that is the case, feel free to do whatever you really wanted to do, and do not fear a penalty. But if you were trying to convey a private message to partner, then please expect to get booted from the game, the club, the union :)

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