Book a Course

View all the latest courses going on at the bridge club and book yours now...
View Courses View Playing Schedule

Tip: DO use the Rule of 11 as a defender as well as a declarer

Assuming the opening lead is fourth highest – as it will normally be v notrumps – taking the lead from 11 will give the number of higher cards than the lead in the other three hands (apart from the leader’s). So, with dummy on view, both declarer and the leader’s partner can work out how many higher cards than the lead are held in the other’s hand.

The Rule of 11 is most widely known as a technique for declarer: 

A Q 10 4
W   E
8 5 2

Taking seven from 11 gives four; there are four higher hearts than 7 between dummy, East and you as declarer; you can see four higher ones – three in dummy (AQ10) and one in your hand (8), ergo East has none higher; you can play 4 from dummy, running 7 round to your 8, then finessing 10 and later Q to secure all four heart tricks. 

Why lead fourth highest, you may ask, when you give declarer all this information? The thing is that you give it to partner too...

 A Q 8
W   You
 K 9 3

In (b) trick one goes 6, 8. Assuming 6 is West’s fourth highest, you as East know there are five higher spades between your hand, dummy and declarer. Because you can see all five between your hand and dummy, you know declarer has no higher spade than 6. You can confidently play 9, expecting it to win. By doing this, you retain K to beat dummy’s Q and so restrict declarer to one spade trick.

South Deals
None Vul
Q 8 4 3
Q J 10 5
A Q 4
A J 9 7
A 9 4 3
8 4 3 2
W   E
K 10 5
10 8 5 2
7 6
10 8 6 2
6 2
Q 7 6
A K 9
K J 9 7 3
West North East South
      1 NT
Pass 3 NT1 Pass Pass
  1. No weak suit so no need for Stayman.

On our deal West leads 7, dummy plays 3 and East uses the Rule of 11 to calculate that declarer has no higher spade than 7 (all four outside West are in East and dummy’s). He lets 7 win, playing 5 (key play). At trick two West leads J (or 9) to 4 and 10, then 9 to K. East switches to 8 [in a sophisticated partnership West’s trick two J is a suit preference signal for the higher-ranked hearts] to West’s A and West cashes A. Down one. Don’t tell declarer he would have made it if he’d played dummy’s 8 at trick one.

ARBC: 31 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH
Call NOW: 0207 471 4626