009: “Could I see the last trick, please?”

thI thought I’d talk about a tiny point that comes up once every couple of sessions. Declarer is playing like a machine gun for the first six tricks, draws trump, and is busy getting the job done when all of a sudden he freezes. “Could I see the last trick, please?”

Now, I’m not a director; far from it. The rules are found here, but I couldn’t manage to identify the exact section and I would take the word of a qualified director 100% over mine any old day about what I’m about to say here. That being said, I think there is a principle underlying these procedures of which players are sometimes unaware, and it’s worth at least giving them tools with which to consider how to behave according to the rules.

Essentially, when someone says “Can I see the last trick?” things depend upon whether the trick has been “quitted”. If all four cards from the last trick have been turned over, the answer should be “No.” If at least one card has not yet been turned over, and/or its face, denomination, etc, are visible to other players, the answer will be “Yes.”  That card is usually face-up in the hand of the person asking the question, you will find with experienced players. After players agree that the answer should be, “Yes, you can see the last trick,” all four players turn over their last card, and leave it face up until it’s indicated that the questioner is satisfied.

I have to admit that I generally allow people to see the last trick whether or not it has been quitted, mostly because I don’t like there to be any question that the cards were played fair and square. I’ve been known to turn over a card pretty quickly every once in a while when I don’t think it matters what I’m playing, and if I’ve accidentally deprived an opponent of an opportunity to take in my card, let me make it up to you and you can look at the last trick as much as you want. But I think it’s a courtesy I extend to all opponents equally and so I’m not favouring one player over another.

Since you are extending a courtesy, you don’t necessarily have to say out loud that, yes, you DID just sluff a small club on the run of the spades. Merely show your card and allow declarer to see it. Courtesy is fine, but you’re under no obligation to instruct your opponent in how to play the hand. And of course, if your opposition has a question about what, if anything, your particular card may have meant, they will ask your partner, and vice versa.

Show your card, then put it away when it’s clear that it’s time to move on.

 

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