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The “Rule of Eight”

Do you remember wrestling to make your contract with only seven trumps between the partnership? It's usually pretty tough! The eighth trump makes a huge difference and the primary task of the bidding is to locate an eight-card "fit" with partner.

Say you know the partnership has a fit; there may be a temptation to describe your hand further before telling partner of the fit. Resist it! He'd much rather hear of the fit immediately.

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


North should have jumped to 4 ♠ immediately - he knew the partnership had an eight-card ♠ fit so there was no reason to tell partner about his s. Sure - they would prove useful in the play, but it was unnecessary to bid them.

On the actual auction South did not believe that North's ♠ support could be as good as it was for his delayed support. Quite reasonably he ran from 4 ♠ to 5  - not what North intended at all. North returned to 5 ♠ and hoped that ten tricks were not the limit.

West led  K and declarer won  A and led a sneaky ♣ J. West pounced on it with ♣ A, cashed  Q and waited (smugly) for ♠ A - down one.

THE RULE OF EIGHT: Eight trumps between the partnership constitute a fit. When at least eight cards are known to be held (particularly in a major suit), do not search for an alternative trump suit.

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