The rule reaches other deals, too
By Phillip Alder June 19, 2012 12:18PM
Updated: August 30, 2012 10:32AM
There was a beer with the slogan that it refreshed parts that other beers couldn’t reach. Well, the Rule of Eleven sometimes refreshes your plus column in a way that other rules couldn’t have done.
How does it help in this deal? South is in three no-trump, and West leads the spade six. What should declarer do?
The auction was straightforward. South had a normal one-no-trump opening, showing 15 to 17 points, and North had an automatic raise to three no-trump.
South starts with seven top tricks: one spade, two hearts, three diamonds and one club. If the club finesse is winning, there are no problems, but what if it is losing?
If spades are splitting 4-3, there is no danger. So South should assume they are 5-2. Then there is a risk that the defenders will take one club and four spades.
Apply the Rule of Eleven. Six from 11 is five. Since declarer can see four spades higher than the six in his hand and on the board, he knows that East has only one spade higher than the six. That card is twice as likely to be the king or queen than the 10.
This means the correct play is to win the first trick with dummy’s spade ace to block the suit, then take the club finesse. Here, that brings in an overtrick.
Notice that ducking the first trick costs the contract. East wins with his queen and returns his second spade. West then runs his spades when in with the club king.
This play is not guaranteed to work (West might have led from K-Q-7-6-x of spades), but it is the percentage line.