Better Behaviour at Bridge: Monthly Memo (5)

February 2014:      Claiming in the Cold

Another area where ill-feeling abounds:

Law 74B: Etiquette.

As a matter of courtesy, a player should refrain from… prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that the rest of the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent.

In other words, do not play on when you have the rest of the tricks, especially if opponents appear to be struggling with discards.

But many declarers, particularly less experienced players, fear to claim in case defenders argue.

So make your claim clearly, stating an exact line of play if necessary:

                Eg:          ‘dummy is high’

                                 ‘drawing your last trump, then cashing the diamonds’

Face your cards, and allow opponents to examine the situation.


As a defender you may think the claim is flawed.

In that case you must call the TD (or his deputy in a club where the TD is also playing) for arbitration.

You may NOT: -

  • require declarer to play on: play ceases when the claim is made
  • insist that declarer plays his cards in a specific order so that you make extra tricks - that is a decision for the TD
  • accept the concession of a trick that you cannot possibly win

Eg: declarer says ‘I shall play my winners, you can take your trump whenever you like’.  If you no longer have a trump you may not accept the trick


We should encourage players to claim: remember to be nice if you think the claim is flawed.