Rule of 11

Ever since bridge became a popular game, players have been trying to come up with new ideas to improve the game. Some have succeeded and some have not succeeded very well. The bridge community is quite selective and sometimes a new idea takes a long time before becoming accepted.

This is especially true if the new idea is based on mathematics. Anyone, who can count up to 13, can play bridge. There are 13 cards in every suit and once they are played, there are no more to be played.

Here is another mathematical calculation, equation, formula. Its application becomes active, only when you are absolutely sure that the lead is the fourth down from the suit lead. Once you have ascertained this possibility, then you start counting. The principle behind the Rule of 11 is the same whether the contract is a suit contract or a No Trump contract.

This formula was devised by someone who was actually playing Whist at the time, Mr. Robert Frederick Foster in 1881, and also by Mr. E.M.F. Benecke of Oxford around the same time. Mr. Robert Frederick Foster established his reputation with his publication of the book Foster’s Complete Hoyle, published in the year 1897, and a copy of which was embedded into the time capsule at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Source – Page 168: Author Mr. E.V. Shepard, Scientific Auction Bridge: A Clear Exposition of the Game to Aid Both the Beginner and the Experienced Player, With explicit and Easy Rules for Bidding and Playing, 1913, Publisher: Harper, New York, New York, United States, and London, England, LC: 13006351

However, his Rule of Eleven was published in his writing of the Foster’s Whist Manual: A Complete System of Instruction in the Game, published presumably in the year 1885, published by Brentano, of New York, New York. The source of this information is from Bibliographies of Works on Playing Cards And Gaming by Norton T. Horr, 1905, published by Longmans, Green and Co., of London, England.

The Rule of Eleven states that the player subtracts the number of the first card lead from the number 11, and then the result is the number of cards higher contained in the hands of thepartner of the leader and the declarer and the dummy. This information is useful not only to the declarer, but also to the partner of the leader, who can apply the same mathematical calculation. This principle applies only to the opening lead, not to any other leads when leading to the second trick or any trick thereafter.

This information can be useful in deciding to play which card, either from the hand of the partner of the leader, or the hand of the declarer or from dummy.

Example 1: Click here to continue reading 

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