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The American Contract Bridge League has revised the Laws of Duplicate Bridge, as it does every dozen or so years. The laws are supposed to restore equity in case of an infraction, to get the non-offending side back to even. But thereafter, the non-offenders must take care of themselves.

At the ACBL's Summer Championships, West's double was conventional, showing a one-suited hand, and forced East to bid two clubs. West would then bid his suit, or pass if he had clubs.

At 3NT, South won the first club in dummy and proceeded to guess the spades: ace, then low to his ten. South next cashed the king of spades, led a heart to dummy and took the queen of spades -- and the deal turned bizarre when East played a diamond!

After East noticed he had failed to follow suit, the tournament referee ruled that he could correctly play his jack of spades, but his diamond had to stay face up as a "penalty card." Meanwhile, West threw a club, a heart and the nine of diamonds.

Declarer eyed that nine with interest. He had nine tricks, but one of his options was to require or forbid a diamond lead if West won a trick while East still had the penalty card; so South sagely led a club from dummy to West's ace.

"Lead a diamond," South told West.

"I can't," West replied. "I don't have any." Disaster. Since West had no more legal obligations, he happily ran the rest of his clubs. Down one.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable
A Q 6 5 2
A 8 7
J 10 2
Q 5
Q 10 9 2
A 10 8 7 6 3 2
J 9 8 3
J 6
K 8 6 4 3
J 4
K 10 4
K 5 4 3
A Q 7 5
K 9
South West North East
1 NT Dbl Pass 2
Pass Pass 3 Pass
3 H Pass 3 NT All Pass
Opening lead -- 7

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