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Let the cards speak, not the time it takes to play them!

It is time to see over the rules regarding hesitations in cardplay, as well as taking advantage of partners tempo.

My view is that in principle all signalling, and especially Lavinthal signals, that are not done in tempo should automatically be penalized.

I have had partners and team-mates who have played "out of tempo" and I hate it.

A fair amount of top pairs around the globe have a really bad tempo in their cardplay. And no doubt taking advantage of partners tempo, or using your own tempo to help partner out is truly disgusting. It is fair to say that some top pairs do better than they are entitled to because of mis-use of tempo.

Why should naturally good ethical cardplayers have to guess in difficult situations when lesser cardplayers solve the problem through hesitations?

This is plain cheating when done intentionally, pure and simple. There is no milder word for it in my opinion.

Most people would say that bridge is a mindsport and we must be allowed to think. And of course this is so, but NOT when it comes to signalling since the thinking itself gives away a lot of information to partner.

Other situations that could be subject to penalty is for example when an opening lead is made from xx after a long consideration.

I have seen a number of instances when partner wins and shifts "knowing" it is not a singleton. Or maybe he simply ducks his Ace hoping to give partner a later ruff if partner has a trump entry.

This is not ok. Far from it.

This should result in an automatic penalty in my opinion regardless the outcome.

Many of todays world class pairs play that all the cards are suitpreference. Most pairs also play Smith Echo.

In principle most of these pairs are playing against the rules, as I would have them, and ought to be subject to penalties.


I myself refuse to play Snith Echo since I believe it is an convention that leads to unethical play.

Consciously or subconsciously. ( It is an okey convention if you ALWAYS make your Smith Echo at the same tempo as you would with a singleton)

To me it`sabhorrent behavior even if it seems like it is more or less accepted in todays bridge!

Other behavior like when you, by thinking, mislead declarer into the wrong line of play should also be subject to penalty.


I had the following trumpholding: K9 in dummy opp. Q108xxx. The preempter to my left knocked out dummy`s sole entry at trick one and I now played the 9 of trumps intending to let it ride. But my RHO thought with AJx for 3 minutes!

He succeded with his long hesitation when I changed my gameplan.

Iknow this particular player didn`t do it to purposefully mislead me but he should have enlightened me to the fact that he really had nothing to think about.

But then there are many who defend themselves with silly explanations when in fact they know exactly what they are doing.

They are no idiots! If they were they wouldn`t be elite players.

Remember that all top players have played a million hands and seen most situations a  thousand times.

The bad apples use their tempo to convey information to partner and to get declarer on the wrong track.


I have seen teammates, partners, and opponents holding 234,234,234,2345 to consider which card to discard or signal with.

We have got to put a stop to this type of behaviour, AND SOON.

It shouldn`t be too difficult to formulate rules against this. Of course problems arise when the opponents flat out deny any untoward hesitation.

It is time to give ethical players a fair chance to do well again by changing the rules.


Best Regards

Peter Fredin

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