010: “Could I have a review of the bidding, please?”

thAnother short subject in my recent series on table protocol and manners at duplicate. It occasionally happens that, after the bidding cards have been swept up — or at that ritualized moment when the opening leader places her card on the table face-down — the opening leader then says, “Any questions, partner?” You place your opening lead face-down before asking the question because you cannot allow yourself to be influenced in your choice of opening lead by anything your partner says, including “Could I have a review of the bidding, please?”

Your partner is 100% entitled to a review of the bidding at any point before card play starts, especially when you’ve just asked her if she wants one. This is usually the opponents’ responsibility. Any player, I believe, is entitled to offer such a review, but if it’s you, here’s a fine point of etiquette.

You do NOT say, “One heart one spade three hearts four spades.”

You say, “Pass, one heart, pass, one spade, pass, three hearts, pass, four spades, all pass.” (And I usually try to point at the person who made the bid as I suggest that they made it.)

That’s because you are not supposed to decide which bids are important and which are unimportant.  Similarly, you do not stop when you have reached what you consider to be the important part of the bidding sequence. If your partner, instead of the correct “Could I have a review of the bidding?” turns to declarer and says, “What was your rebid?”  (This is not the right thing to say, but partners sometimes do.)  You do NOT stop when you have said “Pass, one heart, pass, one spade, pass, three hearts …”.  You give ALL the bids all the time, all the way from the start to pass pass pass.

The reason you give the bids from the very beginning is that if one partner in the declaring side passed to open, that could be important.  And you give them all the way to the pass pass pass point, because you don’t want anyone to think that there has been a double that you didn’t mention. You shouldn’t emphasize a particular bid, you shouldn’t gloss over any or, indeed, change the tone of your voice in any way as you repeat the bidding.

Sometimes the person who asked the question will stop you at a certain point and say, “That’s okay, I got the one I wanted.” You say, “Sorry, I have to give them all,” and continue to the end.

It’s quite all right to disagree with the person offering the recap of the bidding; happens all the time. It’s better to look at the actual bidding cards, but since we’re all human, they occasionally get swept up. So you are correct to say, “No, she doubled at that point,” because everyone at the table needs to agree on the bidding sequence before play begins.

And, as always, if you have any difficulties — if everyone at the table does NOT agree upon the bidding — call the director. That’s what they’re in the room for.



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