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A player in duplicate bridge constantly calls a revoke to disrupt the play. Is there a penalty to this player's side for this discourtesy?

  • 6
    Do you mean this player doesn't follow suit when possible, or that they accuse others of doing so? – steenbergh Feb 9 at 14:32
  • There is no reason for this question to be closed as Needing Clarification. My answer properly addresses, I believe, all issues; and if another contributor was able to add a better or supplementary answer so much the better for the site. – Forget I was ever here Feb 12 at 17:28
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    @ForgetIwaseverhere It's not clear what the OP is referring to - e.g., the question by steenbergh. Is the player repeatedly revoking, or is the player repeatedly claiming someone else revoked, or are they doing something else? – Joe Feb 12 at 18:20
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    @Joe: What part of "... calls a revoke to disrupt the play." is unclear on being the latter? If they were repeatedly revoking themselves that is either readily corrected before establishment, without disrupting the play, or is readily penalized under the normal rules for penalizing an Established Revoke. – Forget I was ever here Feb 12 at 20:21
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    This looks like a pretty objective question to me (and answer well by FIWEH). Voting to reopen. – Aryabhata Feb 15 at 1:58
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Absolutely! This type of disruptive behaviour is in no way acceptable by any player.

The Laws of Duplicate Bridge (2017) provide mechanisms under which the Director can act in such a circumstance of disruptive play.

LAW 90 - PROCEDURAL PENALTIES

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.

...

Law 91 - PENALIZE OR SUSPEND

A. Director’s Powers

In performing his duty to maintain order and discipline, the Director is empowered to assess disciplinary penalties in points or to suspend a player or contestant for the current session or any part thereof. The Director’s decision under this clause is final (see Law 93B3).

B. Right to Disqualify

The Director is empowered to disqualify a player or contestant for cause, subject to approval by the Tournament Organizer.

Where I have seen this procedure used (Matchpoints only), the escalation sequence was as follows:

  • First offense
    A specific warning on the conduct, specifying the penalty (see below) to be applied on a subsequent offense.

  • Second Offense (of the same kind)
    A penalty of 1/4 of a board assessed to the player (not the partnership). A warning as above given that a third offense will result in suspension from the event.

  • Third Offense (of the same kind)
    Player suspended from the event for cause. The Director also files an Ethics Report with the ACBL in regards this player.

However, I suspect that the player involved is also not adhering to the proper procedure for Inquiring About (Law 61), Correcting (Law 62), Establishing (Law 63), and Making Adjustment For (Law 64) a failure to follow suit. More details on the precise circumstances, and timing and sequence of events, would allow a more precise determination of correct and appropriate action.

Note that under Law 61, any inquiries concerning a revoke are limited as follows:

B. Right to Inquire about a Possible Revoke

  1. Declarer may ask a defender who has failed to follow suit whether he has a card of the suit led. 69

  2. (a) Dummy may ask declarer [but see Law 43B2(b)].

    (b) Dummy may not ask a defender and Law 16B may apply.

  3. Defenders may ask declarer and one another (at the risk of creating unauthorized information).

Any violation of Law 61 A will result in an immediate penalty as outlined in that law and all referenced laws concerning Unauthorized Information. Any such behaviour, when repeated, also remains subject to Procedural Penalties under Laws 90 and 91.

Note that if a Defender explicitly points out an Established Revoke prior to the conclusion of play, whether by his Partner, Declarer, or Dummy, and whether correct or not, this almost certainly constitutes Unauthorized Information to his Partner. The appropriate time and means to point out an Established Revoke is at the conclusion of Play, by calling the Director before the score is agreed or the hands shuffled and returned to the Board.

Also, competed tricks can only be inspected as described by Law 66C:

LAW 66 - INSPECTION OF TRICKS

A. Current Trick

So long as his side has not led or played to the next trick, declarer or either defender may, until he has turned his own card face down on the table, require that all cards just played to the trick be faced.

B. Own Last Card

Until his side has led or played to the next trick, declarer or either defender may inspect, but not expose, his own last card played.

C. Quitted Tricks

Thereafter, until play ceases, the cards of quitted tricks may not be inspected (except at the Director’s specific instruction; for example, if necessary to verify a claim of a revoke).

D. After the Conclusion of Play

After play ceases, the played and unplayed cards may be inspected to settle a claim of a revoke, or of the number of tricks won or lost; but no player should handle cards other than his own. If the Director can no longer ascertain the facts after such a claim has been made, and only one side has mixed its cards, the Director shall rule in favor of the other side.

Thus there is no value to claiming a revoke prior to conclusion of play, as quitted tricks cannot be inspected until after play completes.

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