[BLML] written bidding

Timothy N. Hill thill75 at wesleyan.edu
Sat Apr 12 06:07:03 CEST 2014

On a recent visit to Sydney, Australia, (to meet my newborn granddaughter!) I had my first encounter with written bidding. I have a couple observations. I’d be interested in the comments of Australian directors experienced with both written bidding and bidding boxes.

My general impression (based on one weekday afternoon at a local club) was highly favorable. Written bidding seemed to work at least as well as bidding boxes in all respects (except paper consumption). I didn’t witness anything like some problems that are all too common with bidding boxes: “mechanical” misspulls, insufficient bids, calls out of rotation, calls covered up or placed at suspicious angles, reaching for one half of the box or one call before reconsidering, scooping up the cards and putting them away prematurely, or having to give a review after the bidding cards have been put away. (Of course, written bidding does nothing to prevent informative breaks in tempo, sometimes accompanied by pen-hand gestures.)

The bidding slip, including alerts made by reaching over and circling partner’s call, must be very handy when the director has to make a ruling.

There was one procedural peculiarity at this club. As North, I instinctively put the bidding slip out of sight when third hand played to the first trick (after which no one is entitled to a review of the auction). This seemed to disconcert people. Apparently the accepted practice in this club is to leave the slip on top of the board throughout the play. Is this common practice? I checked afterwards, and the regulations do say “The written bidding sheet remains in view until the third player (partner of the opening leader) has played to the first trick when it should be removed (or turned over) by dummy. If dummy omits to do this then another player may remove the bidding sheet.”

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