Quick summary

Subtract the number on the lead card from 11.

That's how many cards the next 3 players have in that suit higher than the card led.

It only works when the lead player has used the guideline which is very frequently used in No Trumps, namely to lead the 4th highest of your longest suit.

Use this information to your advantage. . .. remembering also that it might not have been the guideline used, or should not have been.


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Example Deal

«  1102  »

Lead choice. Rule of 11 NT calculation

Would you like a free trick ?

Here's how.

When providing the opening lead against No Trumps, it's common to lead the 4th highest of a long suit. The idea is to establish that suit later. Well, since that rule is used so often (including when it shouldn't be ! we'll talk about that later), it's worth doing the arithmetic. Assuming the guideline has been followed, then take the number on the card (e.g. 'four' if it's the 4 of clubs), and subtract that from 11. Result = 7, you agree ?

Well, in that case, 7 is the total number of cards higher than the 4 of clubs held by the remaining 3 players.

That's interesting, because the other defender can often work out what the declarer has in his hand, simply by looking at the dummy and at his own hand. If he can see for example 6 such cards, i.e. 6 cards in clubs higher than the 4, then the declarer can have only one card higher than the 4.

Now as defender, you also know that your partner has one or two honours in clubs, no more no less. Otherwise he'd have led a different card.

Put all this together, and you can sometimes win a trick with a very low card.

It get's even better for Declarer

First, it follows that you can work out what your right hand opponent has in his hand, using the same technique. So you can play a particular card in dummy to exploit that situation.

4th highest ?? No, that's second best. When you have 3 honours, lead the top of sequence. This is the best NT defence if the option is available. So guess what ? The lead card might well not have been the 4th highest, but this fact might have been misunderstood by the defence. Or alternatively, it could have been the 4th highest, even though a different card should have been led. Either way, this is all to the good.



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