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There is no doubt that in the heat of battle an improving bridge player needs guidelines to clutch hold of. To that end I have devised a useful Rule that relates to each number up to twenty. Next week I will begin with The Rule of One.

This week, because it doesn't fit in naturally, I will deal with The Rule of Thirty-Three. This Rule states that if 33 or more points are held by the partnership, a Small Slam (six of something) should be bid.

South Deals
Both Vul
K 5 4
A Q 6
K Q 4 2
A K 6
J 10 9 7 6
J 7 5 4
7 5
10 7
W   E
K 10 9 8
10 9 6 3
J 9 5 3
A Q 3 2
3 2
A J 8
Q 8 4 2
West North East South
      1 NT
Pass 6 NT Pass Pass


After South opened 1 NT showing 12-14 points, North used The Rule of Thirty-Three to go straight to 6 NT. The Rule does not say that the contract will always be made however, and it took South's finest technique.

West led ♠ J and declarer won dummy's ♠ K and played a second ♠ to his ♠ Q, observing East discard  10. If this was a true signal, it indicated that East held  K, dooming the normal finesse. Declarer then cashed  A,  J, crossed to  Q and cashed  K, discarding  2 from his hand. He cashed dummy's ♣ AK and crossed to his ♣ Q, West discarding. After cashing ♠ A, East discarding  8, everybody was left with three cards. Dummy held  AQ6, declarer held ♠ 3,  3 and ♣ 8, and East was known to hold ♣ J and two s. Can you see what declarer led?

At trick eleven declarer exited with his losing ♣. East won ♣ J but was forced to lead away from  K9 into dummy's  AQ.

RULE OF THIRTY-THREE: If you know that 33 points are held by the partnership, bid for 12 tricks - a Small Slam.

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