Page 0066

What is it?

The Rule of Eleven is a great and very helpful rule to

aid you in working out what partner has led from. It

works in conjunction with the Standard English

leading style of leading fourth highest from an

honour and second highest from no honour.

The simple calculation is this: deduct the number

of the card led (so if it is the six of clubs deduct six)

from eleven and the answer tells you how many

cards higher than that card are in the other three

hands. Since you can see two of them (dummy and

your hand), you work out what is in declarer's hand.

Declarer can also see two of those hands (dummy

and his own hand), so the Rule also helps him work

out what is in you hand.

When does it apply?

You can use it in a suit contract but it is far more

useful in no-trumps, when you can be pretty sure

that partner has led from a long suit, as opposed to

a singleton or doubleton.

Let's say you hold A-10-9-3 and dummy on your

right has K-5-2; partner leads the seven through the

king on an auction of 1NT - Pass - 3NT. Declarer

plays the two from dummy and you play . . . ?

11-7=4; you can see all four cards higher than the

seven, so assuming a fourth-highest lead partner

must have the remaining three cards higher than the

seven, which are the queen, jack and eight. Let the

seven run and as if by magic partner is still on lead

to lead through the dummy. (If partner has led

second highest from a poor suit, ducking is still

good technique.)

Why does it work?

The Rule of Eleven works because when you lead

fourth best there are three cards higher than the

card led in your own hand. Since the highest card is

the 'fourteen' of that suit (starting at the two,

counting upwards the ace is the highest card

effectively ranking fourteen), that gives you 143=11,

so that's why you deduct from 11.

What are the problems?

The Rule of Eleven will sometimes give you an

impossible answer. For example it might tell you that

there are three cards higher than the eight in the

other three hands, yet you can see four of them

yourself. In that case it doesn't mean the rule has

failed: it simply means that partner has not led fourth

highest. He will either have led second highest from a

poor suit, or a short suit if it is a suit contract.

What more do I need to know?

The Rule of Eleven is based on partner having led

fourth best. If you switch to playing 'third and fifth',

or more likely play against people that use such a

method, you need to change your Rule of Eleven

into the Rules of Ten (fifth best) and Twelve (third

best). The easy way to remember is that it always

adds up to fifteen. The Rule of Twelve is helpful

when you have overcalled and partner leads small in

your suit in a situation where you are pretty sure he

has only three cards. r

66 English Bridge February 2015 www.ebu.co.uk

Online ExtraOnline Extra

The Rule of 11- by Michael Byrne

Rules & Maxims RATING HHHHH

Free trial ´ Acol widely played ® Special subscription rates for EBU members

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