Guidelines for Adjudicating Claims

Taken from the Spring 2019 minutes of the ACBL Laws Commission

We note that whenever there is an attempt to establish guidelines, there is a risk that some will use them in lieu of common sense or even of law. Guidelines are not laws but are intended to form a basis for consistency. With this in mind, the following are given as guidelines concerning claims:

  1. The order of play of non-trump suits should be the worst possible for claimer (although play within the any suit is normally from the top down).
  2. Declarer may never attempt to draw any trumps of which he was likely unaware, if doing so would be to his advantage.
  3. It is not considered a normal play for declarer to take a safety check with a "high" trump, nor to play trump to put pressure on a defender.
  4. Declarer should not be forced to play the remainder of his trumps to his disadvantage if both opponents have shown out of the suit.
  5. When ruffing, claimer is normally presumed to ruff as low as possible.