Judy Kay-Wolff


I received the following email but since I am not qualified in this area (nor do I want to broach the subject after my outrageous ruling and AWMW later revoked several years ago), I passed it on to Bobby for impartial expert advice.

Here is the questioner’s letter followed by Bobby’s response:

Player calls the director during auction for hesitation by opps, Director makes usual ruling, call me if you feel you are damaged. In the meantime Director looks at the hand records and sees he has obvious adjustment, but original player never calls director back to say they have damaged.  Is the Director duty bound to give them the adjustment ? or is he supposed to let it pass, and allow the hesitators the advantage they gained by the pause?

This happened today at the local club, and I was later asked what should have happened. I WAS STUMPED…. On the one hand the original callers should know enough to call director back, on the other hand they didn’t , but it still rankles that the hesitators should gain from the hesitation.

Bobby’s answer:

You’ve brought up an off-shoot challenging the responsibility of what a tournament director should do as a follow-up to a director call.

The TD was correct in what he told your table, before he left, and so followed the rules.  However, depending on what he thought and therefore felt, after he saw the magnitude of the possible ethical violation to which he was called to your table.

It would have normally required at least one or more players to have called him back, for him to further rule on the possible violation, but if the TD was sufficiently inflamed by what he saw in the hand records, there is no doubt that he should have enthusiastically  returned, if for no other reason, than to discipline the possible wrongdoer and try and convince him to never do that or anything similar again.

All officials of the administrative part of bridge tournaments have an unwritten (at least to my knowledge) DUTY to make sure the game is serviced properly and to have a violation of the special and unique ethics of the game severely violated, should require TD’s to issue disciplines to the possible culprit or else the game is not being directed properly.

Of course, it is mamby pambyish behavior of the worst category for the aggrieved party(s) to not call the TD back if they thought they were damaged, but two wrongs never make a right and each wrong needs to be reported individually.

Please take this advice in the spirit it is given and that spirit is only to do the best thing possible for the future of our great game.


Bobby Wolff


Judy Kay-WolffApril 16th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

This will serve as a follow-up to the first exchange:


(from the questioner):

Hi Bobby,

This did not happen at my table, it was a question put to me by the Director in one of our local clubs, and to be honest I had no idea what the actual rules are in such a situation.

Can the Director apply an adjusted score without the request of an offended party. Should he give the offenders a procedural penalty but leave the table score intact?

There are many more sides to this than meet the eye. The educational side, the ruling side, the scoring side.

Personally had I been the director, I think I might have treated it in the same manner as I would treat a ZT violation that I had overheard while passing a table, even though I had not been called to it. That is, issue a warning , scoring penalty or have a player ejected, depending on the severity, regardless of being called or not called .

But I had no real idea if a Director is allowed to do this in the situation as described.


(Bobby’s reply)

Hi again,

To say I agree with you is to put it mildly.

At least to me, a TD is an agent of bridge and its promotion and fulfillment and being so, is not only allowed to do all the things you ask, but to me is a moral violator of bridge if he does not. Of course, all actions by him (or her) need to be 100% visible and his reasons transparent to all who want to know, if for no other reason, than to have his opinions and reaction known by all he contacts. If he has flawed judgment at times, so be it, but that is correctable and easily improved, apathy toward the unique game we play, is much more difficult to deal with. In case you have any doubts, I DO NOT think that anyone should direct bridge games who does not feel a great passion for it and willing to do whatever possible he or she can, to make it more worthwhile.

It is hard to understand any opposite opinion since we now live in a nest of self-serving people with agendas to match, some of which appear in bridge under probably unethical and immoral bridge purposes. If TD’s and even well intended bridge club operators or even just district or unit experienced politicians need to carry our flag at all times, ready to fight for the game we adore. Anything less, at least according to me, should not be tolerated.

I, for one, am glad you asked and hope you join with me in my contentions.

Kind regards,



Derek WardApril 16th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I think the director should have kept an eye on the table, wandered by as the hand ended and asked if non offenders were happy. Not sure if that is allowed but Phil Wood did it in the old days and would certainly have had a discussion with the offenders.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 16th, 2011 at 8:55 pm


You bring back warm memories of a very special man!


markApril 17th, 2011 at 2:40 pm


I’d support the TD being more active here. They have agreed there was a hesitation… the TD sees a case for adjustment. Why not just adjust and tell the parties, I assume there is an appeal process

Judy Kay-WolffApril 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm


I agree — you’re a man after my own heart. Sadly some people are not knowledgeable enough to know to call back the director, so I, too, would place the blame on the director’s failure to follow it up. Some players are squeamish (present company excluded) and do not like to ‘make issues’; I believe equity takes precedence over issues and it can all be handled in a polite manner, However, Justice should triumph!

PaulApril 18th, 2011 at 1:19 am


I know that you are not a fan of the Laws, or the quoting of them, when they are less than supportive of your crusade for more active ethics in the game.

But, as usual, the Laws are quite helpful.



C. Director’s Duties and Powers

The Director (not the players) has the responsibility for rectifying irregularities and redressing damage. The Director’s duties and powers normally include also the following:


3. to rectify an error or irregularity of which he becomes aware in any manner, within the correction period established in accordance with Law 79C.

This makes it very clear that the players are not required to call the Director back to get an adjustment if the Director believes that an adjustment is completely justified.

(I just wish I knew how to make bold the first line of Law 81C, specifically “The Director (not the players) has the responsibility for rectifying irregularities and redressing damage.”)

Judy Kay-WolffApril 18th, 2011 at 6:51 am


Wonderful! Some laws make loads of sense. It is unfortunate that most are not aware of the intent or consequences. Here is a perfect example. Thanks for

sharing. It makes a lot of sense to me


Steven GaynorApril 19th, 2011 at 10:18 am

As a club director I field plenty of calls regarding a BIT, and I quote the usual ‘call me back’ litany. Most of the time the guilty party has been punished by the results, but I pledge to monitor the hand EVERY time whether they call me back or not to see what has happened and deal with it appropriately. It is easier now since we, too have the dealing machines, giving us pre-duplicated hands with hand records (club operators: these are great investments- get one if at all possible).

Judy Kay-WolffApril 19th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Dear Steve:

It is comforting to me to know that there are directors out there who don’t consider it ‘case closed’ when the opponents don’t re-call them to the table and handle the decision themselves. I still feel it is a director’s responsibiity and until he or she reviews the final result. it is not a done deal (at least in my eyes).

I wish you could start an epidemic of conscientiousness among all directors rather than leave it in the hands of unqualified lay people.