My understanding is that in a bridge tournament, that the declarer must pause for some time (X seconds) after the dummy goes down, in order to study it, before playing to the first trick.

What is that time interval (i.e. what is X in terms of seconds)? Does this apply if dummy has a "forced" play such as a singleton in the led suit?

My further understanding is that East is allowed to take this pause (for X seconds) if, for some reason, declarer doesn't. Is this the case? And is East allowed to take an additional X seconds (or more) if declarer takes X seconds for study?

  • Related (possible dupe): boardgames.stackexchange.com/q/11143/1644 Feb 10, 2014 at 22:27
  • @TimLymington: Related but not quite a dupe. This question was about what pauses were MANDATED by tournaments. (I think it's 5-10 seconds.) The other question was, can I ask for a time out, "outside" the "system."
    – Tom Au
    Feb 11, 2014 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


The Laws of Duplicate Bridge do not specifically address the pace of play following the tabling of Dummy, but rather more generally state (my emphasis):

Law 73(A)(2): Calls and plays should be made without undue emphasis, mannerism or inflection, and without undue hesitation or haste. ....

Law 73(D) Variations in Tempo or Manner
1. I t is desirable, though not always required, for players to maintain steady tempo and unvarying manner. However, players should be particularly careful when variations may work to the benefit of their side. ....


Law 74(C)(7): varying the normal tempo of bidding or play for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.

Any unduly or abnormally rapid play from Dummy (ie without consideration of the entire hand) would be a clear violation of all of these mandated Proprieties and Etiquettes, and subject to disciplinary action under Laws 73(F) and 90.

As with all occurrences of irregularities, the appropriate action is to call the Tournament Director as per Law 9.

Updated 2019-01-23

It is possible you are confusing this situation with the skip-bid pause mandated by some organizing authorities following any bid at a strictly higher level than sufficient in that denomination. It presumes that a bid skipping the level is always unexpected, and requires that:

  • the skip bidder announce prior to his call: "Skip bid; please pause."

  • the next player to study his hand for ~10 seconds before making a call.

However, except for the Rules guidance above, no such requirement is made following the opening lead and tabling of Dummy, for any organizing authority that I am aware of.


The Laws (see e.g. http://www.acbl.org/assets/documents/play/Laws-of-Duplicate-Bridge.pdf) do not require any such pause. If declarer (South in this scenario) calls for a card from dummy immediately, East should only pause in case they have a problem with the play to this particular trick (for example, if West has played the Ace in a suit, East may need to think before encouraging or discouraging continuation of that suit).

If, on the other hand, East has a clear play to the initial trick but requires time to think about the rest of the defense, they should play immediately to the first trick, but leave the card they played to the first trick face up while they think. Declarer is entitled to know whether East's problem is related to play to the first trick or not (on the other hand, this is unauthorized information to West, who must play as though they were unaware of East's pause).

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