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Bridge Rule Clarification Questions

My name is Christian McNeil and I need help clarifying some rules regarding Rubber Bridge.

I've been playing Bridge for over a year now. I play the Short (Artificial) Club system, using "Weak Two" bids, opening in the following ways:

* 1 level bid with 13-15 high card pts(open with 5 card suit, or 1 club without);

* Weak 2 bid with 10-12 h.c. pts (& 6 card suit);

* 2 club (artificial) with 20+ h.c. pts

* 1 NT 16-19 h.c. pts(Although I rarely open with 1NT, preferring to open with my 5-card suit instead).

There's a catch though, ....everything I know about Bridge I've learned while currently serving a life sentence in prison. Like many games in prison, others have begun to make up their own rules out of ignorance or misinterpretation, leading to confusion as to the correct way to actually play the game. Although I have a copy of the Bridge laws, some issues have arose that are not specifically addressed by the laws, or in my opinion, are misinterpretations of the laws. I would like to play Bridge the way it is SUPPOSED to be played and am hoping you may be able to help in that regard. If you can answer any of the following questions, it would greatly assist me and my fellow bridge players resolve some of the confusion and maintain the integrity of the game. Here are my questions:

#1 May the dummy declare Honors from the dummy hand, or is the declarer the only one that may ask for the Honors?

#2 May the dummy ask, "Declarer, do you know your rights?" as a reminder for his partner to declare his honors?

#3 What is the proper way for the dummy to warn his partner from playing from wrong hand? We clap (play from hand), or knock on the table (play from dummy). Is this the normal custom? Or may the dummy go a step further and VERBALLY say, "Declarer, you must play from your hand," etc?

#4 Is it a rules violation for a responder to pass out his partner's "demand bid?" (in our system, 2 Club). .........The New Complete Hoyal, while describing the "Weak 2" system, states, "A responder MAY NOT pass a 2 Club bid, nor may pass opener's rebid unless it is 2 No Trump." Id. pg. 105. Since it says "may not pass," some here have interpreted this to mean that its more than a mere obligation to your partner, but rather, a strict rule that must be followed under ALL circumstances and that failing to do so would be a violation of the rules and therefore should be subject to penalties. (Here, an automatic set for -150pts is imposed to penalize a side who fails to respond to a demand bid). Obviously under most situations your partner would be upset if you didn't respond, but aside from irritating your partner, is it an actual rule violation if you chose to pass instead? What if I have 0 pts but my partner's rebid fits my hand and I want to pass out knowing that even with his 20+ pts we shouldn't be at a higher contract? Or, there have been situations where the opener's rebid has put the side in a game contract, or even a slam, but under the MUST respond twice interpretation, the responder is still required to respond a second time or else be set -150pts. This seems to break the spirit of the rule.

#5 Is it common practice to "throw in" final contracts left at the 1 level? Here, we throw in all 1 level contracts, giving the bidder the appropriate score for the bid, but without playing the hand out. (Except if if doubled, or if the contract is for the rubber, then the hand is played).

#6 The final contact is 2NT, who plays the hand as the declarer, E or W? The bidding goes as follows:

S: 1H W: 1S N: 1NT E: Double

S: Pass W: 2NT N: Pass E: Pass

Some here try to say (I believe incorrectly so) that since East doubled North's NT, that makes East the first NT bidder for his side. To me, common sense says West is the first to bid NT for his side and is the declarer, as East merely doubled North's contract, he wasn't opening a NT contract of his own.

#7 Is there a book that you could suggest that contains in depth explanations of the rules and laws which we could rely on as a source to settle further situations that may arise?

Lastly, I thought you might find it curious to know that our games don't end with the rubber, we continue play even after the rubber (if necessary) until a side reaches a combined total of 1,500 (above and below the line). Sometimes a side winning on sets alone without ever even taking a bid, let alone the rubber. I know this isn't the proper way, nor do I know how it was started, but they've been playing this way for years within the Michigan prison system. Is playing to 1,500 like this unique to us, or is this a common variation?

The answers to most of these questions seem like common sense, yet others here disagree. Hearing it from another source more experienced than I will help resolve our confusion once and for all. Any comments or opinions you may have will be greatly appreciated.

Thanx. Christian

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