Five qualified Directors from the Club went to Matamata on Sunday 2 July for an update from the Chief Director, Murray Wiggins, on the changes that are about to come into force from 1 August 2017. The changes are primarily to enable a bridge result to be made available at the table and make some sensible changes particularly around corrected bids when a bid is made out of turn.
The changes are being further defined and the presentation Murray made will be made available on the NZ Bridge website in the near future. The changes do not remove the reliance in the current rules on Unauthorised Information, but they do allow some changes in call without penalty. Effectively these allowed calls have the same meaning as the original call or are a fully contained subset of that call or has the same purpose or meaning. What this means is that that the call must be comparable to the inadmissible call, and is covered in Law 23 in the new rule book.
Let’s look at an example:
Dealer is North and you, East, hold 12 high card points and hold a singleton spade with 4 cards in each other suit. Playing Acol you opened 1H and the opposition point out that North is Dealer and South does not accept you bid. The bid reverts to North who opens 1S. Under the new laws, you may double, showing effectively the same as your original opening bid, that is, an opening hand and at least 4 hearts and your partner is now allowed to participate in the rest of the bidding without any penalty. Your bid of Double is comparable to your opening bid out of turn, so there is no unauthorised Information given and therefore there is no penalty.
The principles are that the comparable bid by the offender must be within the bounds of the bid originally made. This may also cover conventional bids. For example, if you use a 2C bid over the opponents 1NT bid showing a long suit somewhere, and they opened 2NT and you then bid 2C thinking they opened 1NT and your long suit was hearts. If your bid of 2C is not accepted then you may bid 3H without penalty as it is fully contained within the bid you originally made.
There are a number of other new rulings, but the above is the major change. One other new rule that people may misunderstand is that of touching the board on the table. The new rules state that the board should not be touched while the bidding or play is in progress. This rule is not making the board unmovable or untouchable, it is designed to remove any possibility of cheating by moving the board to a location on the table that indicates something to partner. The board may of course be moved to put dummy down etc.
Further information is also available on the NZ Bridge website