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Bridge 4/18
Use the rule for accuracy
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    Welsh poet Dylan Thomas wrote, "The hands of the clock have stayed still at half past 11 for 50 years. It is always opening time in the Sailors Arms."
    The hands of the Rule of Eleven clock have told the time perfectly for 200 years. You are East, defending against three no-trump. West leads the spade seven. After declarer calls for the four from the board, how would you plan the defense?
    South should open one no-trump, despite his low doubleton. If he opens one diamond (or one club) and partner responds one spade, he would have no rebid. Yes, with this layout, if South does kick off with one diamond, he should do well. Partner would respond three diamonds, a game-invitational limit raise. Then South would rebid three hearts to show his stoppers in that suit. North would rebid three no-trump because he had stoppers in both black suits, which is an impregnable contract when played by North. But it is impossible to bid all deals perfectly.
    Assuming partner has led fourth-highest, apply the Rule of Eleven. Subtracting seven from 11 tells you that there are four spades higher than the seven on the board, in your hand, and in declarer's hand combined. And you can see them all: dummy's king, and your ace, jack and nine. So, since South cannot beat the seven, neither should you. Play your spade two!
    West, still on lead, plays another spade, allowing your side to take the first four tricks. Later, your diamond king is the fifth defensive winner.
    Note that if you play any spade other than the two at trick one, the contract makes.
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