What penalty should the Dummy receive for touching cards or moving cards forward? After play started, when his partner led to the diamonds, Dummy arranged them again in my mind to make sure she knew there were 7 cards. I have also had the Dummy push forward a winning card in a ebu competition. I welcome your answer.

1 Answer 1


According to the Laws of Duplicate Bridge (2008), the specific Rights and Limitations of Dummy are listed as Laws 42 and 43. Notable limitations in this context are:

Law 43
Except as Law 42 allows:
A. Limitations on Dummy ...
1. (c) Dummy may not participate in the play, nor may he communicate anything about the play to declarer.
2. (c) Dummy may not, on his own initiative, look at the face of a card in either defender's hand.

B. If a Violation Occurs
1. Dummy is liable to penalty under Law 90 for any violation of the limitation listed in A 1 and A2 above.
LAW 90
A. Director's Authority
The Director, in addition to implementing the rectifications in these laws, may also assess procedural penalties for any offense that unduly delays or obstructs the game, inconveniences other contestants, violates correct procedure, or requires the award of an adjusted score at another table.

Additionally Law 45 F states:

F. Dummy Indicates Card
After dummy's hand is faced, dummy may not touch or indicate any card except for purposes of arrangement, without instruction from declarer. If he does so, the Director should be summoned forthwith and informed of the action. Play continues. At the end of play the Director shall award an adjusted score if he considers the dummy suggested a play to declarer and the defenders were damaged by the play suggested.

In a duplicate game, if a dummy at my table touched any ,in any manner other than to play a card indicated by declarer by name or to mark tricks in the prescribed fashion, I would immediately call Director for protection. I want the action to stop and to not be resumed, and the appropriate way to do that is to call Director.

As described by you, both instances of dummy's behaviour are in my opinion clearly in violation of Law 43 A 2 (c). As A Director, I would award an adjusted score (under Law 45 F) if there was the reasonable possibility that damage occurred by any play that might have been suggested by dummy's action. I would then give a stern warning to both members of the offending partnership, and (except for novices), assess an additional half board penalty (under Law 90 A) to the offending player. A repeat occurrence by either member of that partnership in that game would get the offending player an additional full board penalty (again under Law 90 A).

  • The explicit wording "except for purposes of arrangement" appears to render your proposed penalty in the first case unfair if not illegal; the motive may have been improper, but no director can assume so. Jan 23, 2017 at 14:21
  • @TimLymington: In tournaments, "except for purposes of arrangement" is only available by requesting, and receiving in advance, permission to do so from the opponents. Failure to request or receive such permission renders the clause impotent. However, from time to time in playing the card called by Declarer, Dummy inadvertently covers another card. It is always appropriate to immediately arrange the cards to reveal the inadvertently hidden card, stating the intent as one does it. Jan 25, 2017 at 16:40
  • So failure to 'state the intent' (which isn't mentioned anywhere) incurs a penalty? I suspect the problem (besides different standards of formality) is that we are drawing opposite conclusions from insufficient information. Literally all we know about the problem is that one defender believed the arranging was done for an improper reason. Jan 25, 2017 at 17:44

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