“THE RULE OF ELEVEN” —USED WHEN DEFENDING AGAINST NO TRUMP CONTRACTS
If you don’t have a 3 card sequence (Q J 10 x), you usually select a suit of at least 4 cards and start with your fourth-best card; for example, the “6” from the fourth-best card, say K-10-8-6-4.
You may not know that the 4th-best lead is the oldest convention in bridge (bet you thought conventions were only about bidding). You may also be unaware of the main advantage of selecting that “particular card” from your long suit.
It’s called the “Rule of 11”—a key element of defense well worth discussing with partner:
Here’s how it works: SOUTH is Declarer in 3 No Trump – West leads
PARTNER: (WEST) HOLDS:
Diamonds (D) K J 8 6 4 – W leads 6 of D’s
DUMMY: (D) 10 7 2 – DECLARER PLAYS 2 D’s FROM DUMMY
YOU (EAST) HOLD: (D) Q 9 —-Before you play the Queen, take a moment!
SUBTRACT 6 (P’S SUIT) FROM 11 = 5
THIS ANSWER TELLS YOU HOW MANY CARDS HIGHER THAN “6 D’s” CAN BE FOUND “OUTSIDE OF P’S HAND” —-IN THIS CASE THE ANSWER IS 5
—- YOU LOOK AT DUMMY AND IT HAS TWO CARDS OVER 6
–YOU LOOK AT YOUR HAND AND YOU HAVE TWO CARDS OVER 6
THAT’S 4 CARDS OVER 6 – SO DECLARER (SOUTH) HAS 1 CARD OVER SIX –
YOU PLAY THE QUEEN & IF SOUTH DOES NOT PLAY THE HIGHER CARD YOU CONTINUE WITH THE 9 – IF SOUTH HOLDS UP THE ACE A 2ND TIME PARTNER OVERTAKES YOUR 9 WITH HIS JACK AND CONTINUES DIAMONDS TO DRIVE OUT SOUTH’S ACE
HERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO USE THE RULE OF 11
DUMMY (N) -CLUBS (C) K 5 2
YOU (EAST) – (C) A 10 9 3
PARTNER WEST LEADS THE 7 CLUBS AND DECLARER (S) PLAYS LOW FROM DUMMY. What should you play”
Use the Rule of 11
7 – 11 = 4
you see: one card higher than “4” in Dummy’ – you have 3 cards higher than 4 for a total of 4 cards – Declarer (South) does not have any cards higher than 7 in her hand!!!!
You play the 3 of clubs from your hand!
Using the Rule of 11 and other clues from the bidding and play, you can make better decisions as a Defender. It takes some practice but if you are diligent in applying the Rule of 11 vs No Trump contracts, it will become second nature to you – and you hope- your partner!
Note: If partner leads a 2 you know Partner only has a 4 card suit! Think on that one!
Enjoy the simple pleasures this holiday season…