Suppose, the declarer claims 12 tricks in a slam, but you have the opinion that declarer can make a mistake.

Can you demand declarer to play it out, or does the tournament director decide how many tricks declarer can claim ?

If the last answer is right, does this not prevent the defense from profitting from declarer's errors ?

  • I wanted to add the tags "rules" and/or "claim", but I do not have enough reputation. – Peter Apr 19 '15 at 9:52
  • Are you claiming the possibility of error from (a) the claim itself being inaccurate; or (b) that declarer could not actually track the claim accurately through the remaining (unplayed) tricks? It sounds like you are asking the latter, but only the former even makes sense as a question. – Forget I was ever here Apr 19 '15 at 12:48
  • Of course, I mean error in playing. Even if the claimer CAN make 12 tricks, he might miss them if he has to play. – Peter Apr 19 '15 at 12:58
  • Making a proper claim is vastly more complicated, in general, than playing the hand out. Any declarer who can accurately make a complicated claim might as well be reading the backs of the cards - playing the hand out will be trivially easy. – Forget I was ever here Apr 19 '15 at 13:01
  • If a proper claim is defined to be a claim which is correct assuming good play (choosing the right track WITHOUT knowing the enemy cards based on statistics), then a claim could lead to more tricks than the player would have achieved in a real game. So, how is a claim handled in practice ? – Peter Apr 19 '15 at 13:11

Your question displays a gross misunderstanding of the capabilities of good players, even those merely the best in their club. At the club in Kingston where I mastered the game, the top 10 or 12 players could all remember the location of every significant card, for all 26 hands of a session, even several hours after a game. Once or twice a year the Director would be called in the auction of the first or second round with "This hand hasn't been shuffled since last week.", followed by an outline of where all the cards were in all four hands, and what contracts could and couldn't be made by both sides.

Also, a sound claim must cover all possible lies of the cards that remain possible given the knowledge available when the claim is made. It is for this reason that claims are only rarely made when trumps are outstanding. However it is not at all unusual for expert players to claim and concede even endplays such as Throw-ins and Simple and Double Squeezes. At this caliber of play, those techniques are common place, and thoroughly understood by all parties. By the time the hands are well enough known for a sound claim to be made, there are no mistakes left to be made in the hand by any competent, never mind expert, player; any to be made are already history.


See The Laws Of Bridge (pdf), specifically Laws 68-71.

If a claim is doubted by any player (including dummy) the Director must be summoned. It's worth noting that:

A claim should be accompanied at once by a clear statement as to the order in which cards will be played, of the line of play or defence through which the claimer proposes to win the tricks claimed.


The Director shall not accept from claimer any successful line of play not embraced in the original clarification statement if there is an alternative normal line of play that would be less successful.

“normal” includes play that would be careless or inferior for the class of player involved

So the rules would preclude a claimer from gaining an advantage by claiming.


No, not at all. If the defence believe the declarer has made an error in his claim, they can require it to be played out. The defence will actually have an advantage in that they have seen the declarer's cards.

However, there is a theoretical possibility that the declarer could get information about the defence's hands by claiming. e.g. there is a finesse required to get out the queen of hearts, and the player who says "no I don't agree with your claim" is more likely to be the player holding the queen. Therefore the declarer in their claim must state how they are going to win the remaining tricks, including the order they will play their cards in. If the defence say they don't agree with the claim, the declarer is not allowed to play differently from their declared card order. (Although: once a trick goes differently to how the declarer claimed it would, the declarer would then be able to act on the information from that trick and change the rest of their play).

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