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unauthorised information

edited 10:36PM in Bridge Laws
As a director I was called to a table and it transpired a player had drawn a card from the bidding box thought about it and then put it back and then passed. This is obviously unauthorised information to their partner. I asked them to continue to the end of that hand and asked the other pair had they been damaged. The answer was no. If they were I would have adjusted the score accordingly. My question is was this the correct procedure and would this have been the correct decision if all players had seen the bid before they put it back in the box? At no stage was the card anywhere near the table.


  • edited 10:36PM
    You need to first determine whether the player has made a valid call. This might depend on which country you live in. Use of bidding boxes in England is governed by an EBU Blue Book regulation 3.Z.A.2:

    Players should refrain from touching any cards in the box until they have determined their call. A call is
    considered to have been made when the call is removed from the bidding box with apparent intent (but the TD may apply Law 25).

    As director, you need to determine, as a question of fact, whether a call has been made. From your description, it would appear that a call has been made (in England under EBU regulations) and you need to determine whether a change of call should be allowed. This is dealt with in Law 25.A:

    1. If a player discovers that he has not made the call he intended to make, he may, until his partner
    makes a call, substitute the call he intended for the unintended call. The  second (intended) call stands 
    and is subject to the appropriate Law, but the lead restrictions in Law 26 do not apply. 
    2. If the player's original intent was to make the call selected or voiced, that call stands. A change of call 
    may be allowed because of a mechanical error or a slip of the tongue, but not because of a loss of concentration regarding the intent of the action. 

    So as director you now have to determine, again as a question of fact, whether the call was intended. Speak to the player and ask what his intentions  were etc. If there genuinely was a mechanical error then the call may be substituted and there is no unauthorised information and no lead restrictions. It is more common for the call to be changed due to a change of mind or a loss of concentration. If this is the case then the change of call is not allowed. There is Unauthorised Information, and Lead Restrictions (Law 26) should be applied.
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