Magazine article The Spectator

Rule of Eleven

Magazine article The Spectator

Rule of Eleven

Article excerpt

I CAN'T claim that I often get excited by mathematical calculations - or even that I usually understand them - but, like most bridge players, I hold the Rule of Eleven close to my heart. Thought to have been discovered by the editor of Whist Manual, R. E. Foster, in the early 1890s, the Rule applies when a player leads the fourth highest of a suit (as is standard): 'Subtract the pips on the card led from eleven; the result gives the number of higher cards than the one led in the other three hands.'

For example, say your partner leads the 7. Dummy holds K52 and you hold A1093. Applying the Rule of Eleven, there are four cards higher than the seven in the other three hands: dummy has one of them, you have three; therefore declarer cannot have any card higher than seven, and you can duck the trick.

At the recent National Women's Teams, a perfect hand for the Rule of Eleven cropped up:

West leads the [hearts]5. …

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