Judy Kay-Wolff

From the Philadelphia UNIT 141 Newsletter ….

I thought this explanation was very well presented and wanted to share it with all as it is such a touchy subject and can become volatile:

Table Tips: Bidding in Tempo

bid box 2An issue at the table that can cause confusion and unpleasantness between opponents is "tempo." Players know that they should play in tempo–that is, that they should bid at the same, even pace each time (unless they have been halted by a Stop card). They also know, however, that bridge is a thinking game and some hands need time to figure out what to do. They want to know why some people call for the director every time a player hesitates over a bid.

Have you ever wondered: Can I take extra time to bid? When does slow bidding become a problem? What is the right way to play in tempo? Here’s the short answer:

· It is ok to think and then pass.

· It is not always ok, however, for your partner to bid on after you take an unusual amount of time to pass.

When your partner takes extra time to pass, it is your responsibility to do the right thing. When you have a borderline hand, the right thing is to also pass. If your partner thinks a lot before passing, it suggests that he or she has something going–extra values or unusual shape or something else. You can’t take advantage of that information and must pass unless bidding on is absolutely 100% obvious. Taking advantage of partner’s slow pass would be unfair and will likely result in a director call from your opponents.

The great Larry Cohen summarizes the situation best: "It is simply UNETHICAL to take advantage of your partner’s tempo."

If you think that you have been the victim of a break in tempo, you are entitled to call the director. Do be gentle with new players, however, who might not yet understand this complicated issue and kindly call for the director.

Readers who are interested in reading more about tempo can link to www.larryco.com.


ReneAugust 1st, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Well written and tactful. Hope all bridge club owners read it.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 3rd, 2011 at 7:23 am