Sometime a new Law book came into use. In the ACBL it happened in late May 1997. In England it occurred on 1st October 1997. Everywhere will be using it by the 1st of January 1998. How does this affect you? In many ways, not as much as you might think. Play still goes clockwise, and Bridge is still a game for four players!!!!
The Laws of Bridge are produced by the World Bridge Federation [WBF] and are used throughout the world. Over the last few months, I have seen a number of references to the ACBL Laws [or some term that means the same] but this is a misapprehension. These are international Laws. There are a few Laws [very few] that allow Zonal options, and interpretation is not quite the same throughout the world, and the Laws are translated into other languages, but there is only one set of Laws worldwide.
These are the Laws of Duplicate Bridge. Rubber Bridge has its own Law book, also world-wide, and it tends to be revised in between Duplicate Laws revisions, so the next Rubber Law book should appear in about 2002.
The first thing to note about these new Laws is that a majority are the same. In fact the Law numbers are the same, Law 25 remaining as Law 25, except occasionally a new section has been added or one deleted. A quick glance at the new Law book would probably lead one to think it was unchanged, but this is far from the truth. There are a lot of minor revisions, and I shall not mention them much, because there is little interest in attempts to clean up wording. I shall try to bring to your attention the changes that seem most important.
Below I list the most important changes. For many of you this will be sufficient. However, I have produced two other documents.
Apart from here on David Stevenson's Lawspage, copies of these documents have appeared in the Bridge newsgroups and mailing lists. [If you want to subscribe to any of the Bridge newsgroups and mailing lists look at my article which explains how to subscribe and what the groups/lists are.] They have also appeared in various Bridge magazines and on various Web sites.
The most important changes are: