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Aide Memoires in Online Play

Rule 1.1 in the Sky Blue book includes: "Players may consult their own system card and other notes at any stage (based on ‘Except as the Regulating Authority allows’ in Law 20G3)."

My understanding is that since in online play you can't stop people doing just that, and it could be allowed by the laws, it created a more level playing field if we did allow it.

Why do we not apply the same logic to notes, memory aids and the like?

Law 20G3 refers to law 40B2(b) where the option for the regulating authority is repeated.

Law 40B2(d) says exactly the same thing about "any aids to his memory, calculation or technique".



  • Then you might get into the argument of what is allowed to be noted, such as why not allow every card played to be noted?
    I suppose one of the things with system cards is that they should be available to the ops, whereas a note saying 'K hearts gone', or 'clubs all good' etc would not be available to them?

  • edited December 2021

    I've been thinking about reasons why bridge isn't more popular, and I think that one possible reason is that players are put off by having to memorize so much information to start playing. Part of that is system – but part of that is simply which cards have gone. Experts can keep track of this easily, but at lower levels of play, a significant part of the game is simply trying to remember whether, e.g., a Jack is good or not.

    It might be interesting to run a (presumably online/tablet-based) tournament in which the history of play was open information, with everyone being able to see every card that had gone. In chess, for example, you can see almost all the relevant information on the board in front of you (the only thing that you need to remember is castling rights / en passant) – "blindfold chess", where you have to remember the position, is considered something that experts do to show off rather than something that's routine for regular players to take part in. But with bridge, we make even beginners memorise all the cards that have gone (necessary to work out what value the cards in their hand have), even in the most basic club games. That's a skill necessary for in bridge, but it isn't the primary reason that the game is interesting, and so it mostly just serves as an extra barrier for entry that scares people away from the game; removing that aspect of the game may well end up having benefits in terms of accessibility that outweigh the disadvantages of the slight reduction in skill required.

    (Another part of this is alerting rules – in order to legally be able play in a bridge tournament, you need to know which bids are alertable. Because that's defined in terms of what may be unexpected, it's effectively impossible to legally play bridge without having a good understanding of what most players will expect. At least when playing online with self-alerts, I've been wondering if a good alerting policy would be to require every bid to specify whether it's forcing or non-forcing, and whether it's natural or artificial – this will naturally make opponents aware of most bids that have a meaning they don't expect, without forcing the person making the bid to know what their opponents will expect.)

  • Referring to you system card and notes is an option under Law 20G3 - 'notes' means system notes, which exist before the start of play.

    'Aids to memory' includes notes made during auction or play and is an option under Law 40B2 (d). The EBU does not allow this option in the White Book or Sky-Blue Book.

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