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Club policy legal?

I just wondered how much of this local (SOCBC) club's psyching policy is legal (verbatim from an email

flyer that I received today):


A personal example at our club a few years back:

North South were top tier players, East West were beginners.

NORTH: 1C EAST: Double SOUTH: 1S WEST: had a good hand with 6 Spades - What to bid?

South was discovered to have no high card points and 2 spades. Asked why he bid spades he replied "it was a tactical bid."

Experienced South clearly recognized that East West had a spade game, and made sure that they were unable to find it. Inexperienced East West did not realize that they had been psyched against, or that they had been unfairly damaged, or that they should have reported the auction to the Director. ACBL's September Bulletin addressed psychic bidding on Page 6. Editor Paul Linxwiler offers his opinion: "For an experienced player to psych against someone they know to be inexperienced is profoundly unethical. 'Stupid' and 'unnecessary' can be added to the list of descriptors too. Directors should wield procedural penalties like an ax in these cases." Please familiarize yourself with the SOCBC Psychic Bidding Policy reprinted here and included in the Standing Rules tab of our website:

While it is understood that psyching is part of bridge, it is the Board’s position that it should not be employed against substantially weaker or inexperienced players or with excessive frequency.

All players are encouraged to report psychs. If a psych is committed against a player of lesser ability or a less experienced player, it will be considered bad sportsmanship and will result in assessment of a full board procedural penalty. If a player psychs more than twice in one event, there will be a full board procedural penalty assessed. Excessive psyching may result in the “psyching player” being barred from SOCBC for a period determined by the Board of Directors.


One of several things that aren't clear to me is how to determine whether a player is "of lesser ability <...>".

It's a club, they can do whatever they want
Even though it's a club, they cannot override the Laws
Something else

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