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TD Corner: When the claim statement breaks down

Frances Hinden pointed out in a claim decision poll that a minute of the WBFLC deals with the situation when the claim statement "breaks down" at some point (like for example when declarer proposes to ruff a card from dummy and has no more trumps left). For those interested, it is the 3rdminute from 2001 Paris, and it states:

The committee agreed that under Law 70 when there is an irregularity embodied in a statement of claim the Director follows the statement up to the point at which the irregularity (as for example a revoke) occurs and, since the irregularity is not to be accepted, he rules from that point as though there were no statement of claim but should take into account any later part of the claim that he considers still to be valid.

This minute deals also with a point that sometimes comes up, when the claimer is proposing to commit an irregularity during the claimed tricks. The irregularity is NOT to be accepted.

For example,

West
10987
North
AKQJ
East
10987
South
A
43
2
D

South claims, says "... and four spades", but he is on lead, playing NT. The claim stands, but he gets only one trick.

In this situation,

West
10987
North
KQJ9
East
A
987
South
A
43
2
D

Same situation, this time South also thinks that the spades are high. East calls the TD after the claim. East cannot accept the proposed lead out of turn, so no four tricks to the defense, only three (South still makes the Ace of Hearts).

In these two simple examples the statement claim breaks down immediately, but sometimes it can be followed for a couple of tricks and then breaks down.

In those cases the claim statement is followed up to the moment when it becomes impossible and the TD rules from that point on. If, for example, declarer proposes to ruff without having any trumps, the "moment" is, IMHO, the moment when he will try to ruff and realises that he is void in trumps, not the start of that trick.

West
65432
North
QJ9
AK
East
A
AKQJ
South
32
542
D

South is on lead, is playing NT but for some reason thinks that he is playing hearts. Claims, and says: I lead a heart to the Ace, ruff a spade, diamond ruff with the King and dummy is good". The claim statement breaks after the play of the spade, so E/W get four tricks. South is not allowed to score the heart King (which he would if he realised he was in NT before the play of the spade)

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