[BLML] (2107) When is a Card Played (L45)

Robert Frick rfrick at rfrick.info
Fri Apr 20 19:11:28 CEST 2012

On Fri, 20 Apr 2012 09:45:59 -0400, Eric Landau <ehaa at starpower.net> wrote:

> On Apr 19, 2012, at 8:48 PM, Robert Frick wrote:
>> 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.
> I suggest that the law is silent on the subject.

This doesn't work. Suppose I partially detach a card from my hand. Do I  
have to play it? No one would say that the laws are silent on this  
subject. The laws clearly say when the play of a card is made or  
compulsory, and I think the only reasonable interpretation is that  
anything else does not make the play of a card compulsory.

>  For you to play a
> card as defender while your partner is absent from the table is
> obviously irregular ("Four players play at each table" [L3]), but the
> "Laws do not provide indemnity" [L12A1].  Think of a director who
> "says no" as merely exercising his discretion per L12A1.  The
> alternative is to read the laws to say that a side can gain a legal
> advantage through a deliberate violation.

I have no trouble with your final ruling, and it's good to think of a way  
to get to that ruling with the current laws. But your justification here  
doesn't work.

First, the defender gains no advantage by putting his card in the  
declarer-must-play position while partner is gone. That just displays a  
card to declarer. (Assuming it is AI.)

Worse, in the given example, the card was merely put in the played  
position for declarer. You assume it is played ("For you to play a card as  
defender..") If the defender places the card in the played position there  
is no problem; if the laws defined that as being played there would be no  
problem. Putting the card in declarer-must-play position, when not all  
four players are at the table, is no more infraction than detaching a card  
or just touching a card in your hand. According to the laws as written.

Of course, if declarer then plays a card, declarer has committed an  
infraction according to you (in addition to playing out of turn according  
to the laws as written).


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