A strange one, for sure.

After the hand was played, cards returned to board but before the next round was called, the defenders realized, in discussing the hand, that the declarer had revoked.

The declarer did not agree and the dummy couldn't remember (!). One declarer (very good memory and very honest - ex-director of the club) explained card by card the play.

The declarer said "I don't remember it that way" but had no other explanation of how the cards had been played. Both defenders agreed (of course) on the way things had gone.

The defender said:

"10 of clubs lead, won by K in other defender's hand (agreed by all), Jack of hearts lead, ducked by declarer, allowed to win the trick (dummy had two small hearts).

Next heart lead, trumped by declarer (diamonds trump).

Next few tricks and then a heart lead again, won by declarer with the Ace he should have played on the first trick (he having only two hearts also).

So, 3 diamonds making 4.

Scored and then director called. I believe that it is still a revoke since it was the last hand in a round and the next round was not called yet. But the penalty? Since the declarer doesn't agree? But has no other explanation except "I wouldn't have let the first heart ride" kinda bewilderingly.

I thought a one trick penalty (since he seems to have revoked and later had the Ace left to play and win a trick) was in order with an adjustment if necessary later.

However, he made 4, would have made 4 if he had played correctly, so is making 3 fair when he doesn't agree? I don't know what to do. I am a fill in director and haven't had this come about before.

  • 2
    Great question, and a common type of scenario for beginning directors. Dec 18, 2014 at 23:50
  • Were the cards shuffled after play? If not then pull them out and the play could be discerned. Dec 19, 2014 at 1:45
  • 1
    What he 'would have made if he had played correctly' is a red herring. If he revoked, there is a penalty, as set out in the rules: if he did not, there is none. Dec 20, 2014 at 16:27
  • 1
    some players shuffle their cards before returning them to the wallet so the next player can't work out the order the cards were played, which really would be unauthorised info. Good idea to do that.
    – CashCow
    Jan 20, 2015 at 15:31
  • 1
    Note, the correct penalty is two tricks: the trick that was revoked on (which was won by offending side), plus one additional trick won afterwards. One trick is only the penalty if the offending side lost the trick that was revoked on; since he ruffed it, it's 2 tricks.
    – Joe
    Jan 29, 2015 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


There is a standard pattern here that may be applied to numerous difficult decisions:

Politely inform Declarer that as he cannot contest the explanation of play provided by the defenders, you must tentatively accept their version, and thus are required by law to assign the normal revoke penalty. Inform Declarer that he is entitled to appeal this ruling, and that you will promptly assemble a suitable committee upon conclusion of play if he so requests. Ask declarer if he wishes to make such an appeal, and if he replies in the affirmative arrange for the three best and most respected players of the club to act as the committee.

Allow declarer a few minutes after the game to refresh his memory of the play with a (supervised) examination [of the board], to prepare a rebuttal to defenders' description of the play.

In order to ensure that the committee proceeds efficiently remind them that their prerogative is strictly to determining the facts, and that given a determination of the facts you will apply the rules by the book. You are the Judge, and they are the jury - not the other way around. Declarer presents his case first, followed by the Defenders, followed by a simple recap by Declarer. Committee members may then pose questions to both sides. Get a determination of the facts from the committee, and apply the Laws; politely explain the result to both parties.

Done correctly the entire process (for a simple determination of facts such as here) should be over in less than 10 minutes. Don't let either side or the jury waste time.

Remember to thank both side later for creating a situation that enabled you to practice your committee work.


The key here is that "I don't remember." is not a defence in any circumstances; but "I need time to refresh my memory in order to prepare a defence." is a valid request.

  • The fact that the declarer was unable to raise the objection until after the cards where returned has no bearing?
    – Taemyr
    Jul 12, 2019 at 12:40
  • @Taemyr: Uh? You seem to have the sequence wrong. Defenders noticed, and called Director for, the revoke before the round was called, which is the allowed time to do so. Declarer had no need to raise any objection prior to that. What "objection" are you referring to? Other than the revoke and OP's uncertainty on proper procedure there is nothing inappropriate happening that I have noticed. Jul 12, 2019 at 15:25

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