[BLML] (2107) When is a Card Played (L45)
rfrick at rfrick.info
Fri Apr 20 02:48:02 CEST 2012
WHEN IS A CARD PLAYED?
It is important, for many laws, to know exactly when a card is played. For
example, a lead out of turn is accepted when the next player plays; a
revoke becomes established when a player from that side plays to a trick.
Fortunately, there seems to be relatively good consensus among players
concerning when a card is played. Unfortunately, that consensus is broader
than the definition in the laws (L45A) and includes most (but probably not
all) of the events listed in L45C as merely requiring a card to be played.
THE MUST-BE-PLAYED POSITION
Suppose a declarer or defender holds a card face up, touching or nearly
touching the table, or maintains the card in such a position as to
indicate that it has been played.
Most players will take that card as played. Most directors want to rule
that it is a played card and will rule that it is a played card. But
according to the laws, it is not a played card, it merely must be played.
It is not place until is it put on the table.
The solution here is simple: Move this to 45A and into the description of
a played card: "A card is played when it is held face up in the played
position, on the table, touching the table, or nearly touching the table,
or when it is maintained in such a position as to indicate that it has
The definition of played card influences when rights expire. According to
a simple straightforward reading of the 2007 laws, these rights expire
only when the card is put in the played position according to L45A. Note
that sometimes players will never do this, they will move the card
straight from the must-be-played position to the turned over position.
Players and directors will also assume that a defender's card in this
position is played (and cannot be witdrawn) even if the defender's partner
could not possibly have seen the card. Example: My partner leaves the room
and I place a card face up nearly touching the table. Can I withdraw it?
The laws say yes, directors will say no.
Suppose declarer names or otherwise designates a card from dummy to be
played. I think that again players think this is a played card and
directors will want to rule that way with regard to the expiration of
Same thing for declarer touching a card in dummy for purpposes of playing
WHEN PARTNER CAN SEE DEFENDER'S CARD
Suppose it is defender's turn to play and he places the card in a position
such that his partner can see it. Without any guidance from L45, it
becomes a penalty card and must be played. L45C1 just says about the same
My guess is that most players would not consider this card played, merely
that it must be played. I don't think directors would rule that any rights
have expired just because this happened.
So this event should not be moved to L45A. It can be left in L45C (or of
course eliminated as redundant).
With this change, L63A2 can be eliminated.
This seems like a simple and easy change to make. I cannot imagine you
doing otherwise. But if you are considering something else....
One could treat the phrase "must be played" as meaning the same thing as
"is played". But we would not want to do this for a penalty card, a forced
pass, or I think even a defender waving a card in the air.
Similarly one could argue that if a card must be played, even though no
deadlines expire (such as correcting a revoke), the first thing that must
happen is the play of the card. Hence is is a functional end of the right.
But again, we would not like this interpretation for penalty cards or
forced passes, and I think not for a defender waving a card in the air.
Suppose it is my turn to play as defender, I put a card in the current
must-be-played position, and my partner could not possibly see it (because
he is completely blind or not at the table). In the current laws, my card
is not played and I do not have to play it. One could try to fix this by a
very loose interpretation of "could have seen" -- my partner could have
seen it if he had normal vision or was sitting in his chair.
However, that interpretation of "could have seen" isn't appropriate for a
You could also leave L45A and C the way they are and just change all of
the expirations. This projecct has already been started for correction of
a revoke -- it includes naming or designating a card to be played. You
would just have to add putting a card in the played position and declaring
touching a card in dummy for the purposes of playing it.
All of these would presumably have to be added to L44B (Subsequent Plays
to a trick), L65B3 (arrangement of tricks), and L60 (Play after an
Irregularity). You might also want to think again about the meaning of L58.
I cannot play until the player before me has played. This is not merely a
requirement of the law, it is a practical issue -- if the player might
withdraw the card, I don't want to play.
So, players have to agree on what counts as playing a card. That is why
they have good agreement.
That means there could be regional variations. But there are none that I
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