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About the Revoke

by Ton Kooijman, Netherlands


Much has been said about the revoke in recent years. Not everybody liked the change that stopped you asking partner about his spades if he showed out (for some strange reason, we only revoke in spades). And the example showing that it is possible to make a grand slam in spades without the ace of spades, by means of an opponent's revoke, always receives many protests too.

In these championships, the Chief Tournament Direct, Kojak, added a problem to the already impressive file. It happened at a table where a player, of course playing in a grand slam (though in clubs, not spades for once), made the following remark: "I think my opponent's revoked."

Listening to this, Kojak now had a problem. If the revoke occurred on the current trick, starting an investigation would certainly awake the offender. Kojak was not sure of the right procedure. If declarer had played to the next trick with LHO following, the revoke would have been established and the revoke penalty could be applied. But what if the revoke was not yet established?

Suppose the declarer had left the table to ask the TD about his rights. He certainly is entitled to this information, but should the TD explain the procedure to the opponents as well?

The main question seems to be: Should there be a difference between a player waiting until the revoke has become established and a player who draws attention to the revoke as soon as it happens?

If the answer to this question is `yes', there is a confusing difference in the procedure for players knowing the laws and players who don't. This is what we are trying to avoid in the laws.

Still, my personal feeling is that if attention is drawn, which was the case here, the TD should explain all the options. If he does not, it seems even possible that the revoker, who becomes aware of the revoke and does not know the laws, will get the impression that he can no longer correct the revoke (which results only in a penalty card being on the table).

So Kojak brought the Appeals Committee a puzzle we couldn't solve. We decided to ask the WBF Laws Committee to express its opinion. Maybe this problem will enter into bridge lore as the Cape Town Case from now on!

To finish this story, after the revoke had been established, the declarer went two down. But with the penalty-trick provision in the law, he was deemed to have made the contract. And the Appeals Committee decided that even if the revoke had been corrected in time, giving a penalty card to the offender, the declarer would most likely have made his contract. The question therefore had a theoretical meaning here, but it might easily become a matter of 28 imps or more.


Editor's note:

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