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Pass out of turn

North is dealer but his partner buds out if turn with a PASS. The opposition do not accept the bid out if turn. I explain that the opening bid returns to his partner but he is obliged to pass again when it his turn. They remind me that he can make a bid of equal meaning. North wants to make a strong bid which is forcing. If he does then South breaks my ruling and therefore defeats any penalty. I am unsure of the meaning of equal value. Could you give some guidance


  • I think you were the director (since you refer to "my ruling")?

    The Law that you needed to apply is 30B Pass Out of Rotation - Partner's or LHO's Turn to Call.

    You won't find a definition of "bid of equal meaning" or "equal value" since this Law uses the term "Comparable Call":

    "Offender may make any legal call at his correct turn and: (i) When the call is a comparable call, there is no further rectification." - or put simply, your ruling was incorrect and there is no obligation to pass.

    Law 23 defines the term Comparable Call:

    A call that replaces a withdrawn call is a comparable call, if it:
    1. has the same or similar meaning as that attributable to the withdrawn call, or
    2. defines a subset of the possible meanings attributable to the withdrawn call, or
    3. has the same purpose (e.g. an asking bid or a relay) as that attributable to the withdrawn call.

    This law is not easy to apply, but if, as suggested, North makes a strong forcing call, e.g. 2C, then I would rule that a 2D response (if it shows a negative), would be a Comparable Call.

  • In regards to Law 30 B.1.b.(i) could I get some more examples of comparable calls to the Pass out of rotation? I understand the example above, but are there other bids that would be comparable to an initial Pass? For instance, partner opens 1D. Could the offender bid 1S (4 card suit, minimum 6 HCP) as comparable to a "less than opening hand"? I've seen chatter to this effect and wonder if it's correct. I am a club director so this is critical information to me.

  • I am not an expert on directing. There is some useful stuff on the EBU's website including a video on this subject:

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