Claims and Concessions

Happy New Year!

Laws 68-71

Claims and concessions are a normal part of bridge, Bridge Directors should not and our Directors do not discourage players to make claims.

1. With still a number of tricks (n) to play when a player claims some tricks he concedes the remainder. So the tricks claimed plus the tricks conceded together are the tricks still to be played. (as a consequence: when the word claim is used usually the concession is meant as well).

2. A player claims (and concedes) when he makes a statement concerning the ownership of the remaining tricks, makes a gesture related to the ownership of remaining tricks as by putting down his cards, or something similar. A remark like: ‘ I don’t think that you will win more than your ace’ for example should be considered to be a claim for all tricks but one (and thus is a concession for one trick).

3. Showing one card (or even more) to ‘claim’ the ownership of the trick in progress is not a claim. Such a card does not become a penalty card, but could cause unauthorized information.
4. After a claim is made play ceases. When yet play continues and a dispute arises the TD should cancel that play and ignore it.

5. There is one exception on this rule: if a defender claims and his partner immediately objects, the TD should be called and he will instruct the players to continue, telling ‘claimer’ not to use the UI that his partner expects to make more tricks then he does.

6. A player claiming one or more tricks should make a statement explaining how he thinks to win those tricks, mentioning which cards are played and in which order.

7. If the opponents agree with the claim the score is entered and play continues with the next board. If they do not agree the TD should be called.

8. The TD being called should ask the claimer to repeat his statement, with the instruction to distinguish between his previous statement and additions he wants to make. Then he asks the other side to explain its objections. It is not really important when he instructs the cards to be put on the table, probably the best is to have both statements before.

9. In fact the opponents have the possibility to dispute the claim ‘double dummy’, using the information they receive from the exposure of the cards. And if one opponent agreed before, his partner may propose to let him play brilliantly for an extra trick (or more).

11. If the claim appears to be wrong the TD adjusts the score accordingly. Opponents have this right to dispute a claim and to get an extra trick if it is possible to win it, up till the moment they make a call on the next board.

12. That is the moment when they acquiesce with the claim when no objection is made. So the agreement at once after the claim has a provisional status for the opponents. They have the right described in 10 till they acquiesce.

13. After acquiescence is given the possibility to regain a trick is small. When such a trick had been won already ( a miscount) or only could have been lost by irrational (not normal) play from the acquiescing side it is given back to them. In no other situation. This period ends at the end of the protest time.

14. Claims more often than desirable are made without a clear and convincing statement. This should not be a reason to treat the claiming side too harsh. It is the TD’s duty to decide whether the claimer would have made the tricks he claimed, regardless the incomplete way he claimed. But of course there certainly can be more doubt about the play without than with a clear claim. And doubtful points should be ruled in favor of the opponents. Doubtful regarding the continuation of play, not regarding the poor explanation. The TD should strive for equity.

15. Read 70C for the case where the claimer forgets to mention one or more outstanding trumps. Keep in mind that these conditions need to be fulfilled simultaneously.

16. The statement that opponents will win an extra trick as soon as they possess a not mentioned trump is wrong. They need to make that trump without asking from claimer to follow an irrational line of play.

17. There are not many practical guidelines to help the director to decide upon disputed claims. Each case stands on its own. But claimer is considered to lead in dummy a card from a free high sequence even when he mentions just the suit. Read carefully the last line of L70E: declarer is not supposed to follow an irrational line of play ever (also the third line in the heading of L 46B). Unless he proposes to play as such himself. It is necessary to understand the distinction: it is not impossible to play irrationally once in a while, but in considering future play the TD should never expect or suppose a player to play irrationally at that moment.

18. An addition to or a deviation from a previous statement concerning the line of play should not be accepted if there is an alternative normal and less successful line included in the original statement. An objection made by an opponent may not be used to draw new conclusions.

19. The statement that a finesse is not allowed anymore after a claim has been made without mentioning this finesse is not true. It certainly is allowed when it is not successful and there still is the overriding condition that claimer can’t be asked to play irrational.

20. For the claiming side the result normally cannot be changed advantageously anymore after the claim. The conditions for a change are the same as for the opposing side after acquiescence: if an extra trick was already won, or if claimer conceded a trick he would not have lost with any normal play.

21. When considering the latter claimer is supposed to see the cards being played had play be continued. He is supposed to draw obvious conclusions (the fall of the king under an ace promotes the queen to a winner if it still can be reached with all normal lines of play).

22. The last full sentence of L 71C (implausible concession) should be ignored.

23. A claim of tricks where the line of future play depends on the cards played by the opponents, it for example being necessary to keep count of the cards, or to remember the play of a small card, should not be granted. It is considered to be careless but not irrational to miscount or not to (have) notice(d) the play of a small card.

24. If a player makes a statement to curtail play (claims) in which a revoke occurs the penalty for revokes does not apply. The TD should be called and he applies L 70 (A).

25. When a player makes a statement to curtail play and has revoked in the previous trick the revoke becomes established and the penalty provisions do apply. This means that L 63 A3 is meant for revokes that occurred during play before the claim.

26. There is a problem when the opponents of the claimer have made a revoke which is not established at the moment of the claim. As we saw (see 11) a side acquiesces when it makes a call on the next board. But L 63 A3 gives a different definition, which restricts the time: agreeing with the claim when it is made. I prefer to solve this by ignoring the words ‘orally or by facing his hand (or in any other fashion)’, which are superfluous anyway. Then such a revoke becomes established when the offending side makes a call on the next board. (But this approach is not officially agreed)