[BLML] (2017) defenders prematurely detaching a card

Robert Frick rfrick at rfrick.info
Sun Apr 8 03:43:21 CEST 2012

Defenders should not prematurely detach cards during the play. This is not  
just a matter of etiquette; detaching cards can convey information to  

For example, partner leads a small spade against 3NT and dummy comes down  
with Q97 of spades. With K102, the player waits to see what it played from  
dummy; from K2, a player can detach the K.

It is impossible to look at every situation to see if any information is  

If a player sometimes detaches a card prematurely and sometimes does not,  
then the failure to prematurely detach a card also says something about  
the player's hand. Again, it is impossible to examine each situation, not  
to mention the difficulty of calling the director for a failure to detach.

If the player detaches a card and then replaces it and plays a different  
card, that too signals something. For this, I have an example from play:  
Declarer led a singleton diamond from dummy, RHO played low, and LHO  
detached a card. Declarer played the king and LHO now put that card back  
in her hand and replaced it with the ace. This showed that LHO had the  

A regular partner will know better than declarer what a premature  
detachment means.

The amount of information conveyed is small. But it is impossible to  
otherwise eradicate, and given that it is a breach of etiquette anyway, it  
is no problem to simple make it an infraction.

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