Rule of Eight - Rule of 8

The Rule of Eight was proposed and first published by Mr. Mel Colchamiro in The Bridge Bulletin of ACBL in October 2000, Page 85.

This Rule of Eight can be applied whether the partnership agreement is to play any style of conventional overcalls such as Brozel, Cappelletti, D.O.N.T, or other conventional methods. Since the main factor in deciding to make an overcall is the distributional feature of the hand, the point count becomes less important.

When deciding to employ the Rule of Eight, the player first subtracts the number of Losing Tricks from the total number of cards contained in the two longest suits. The concept is based upon the result.

If the subtraction results in a number of 2 or more, then the player should decide to compete and make an overcall.

If the subtracted number is less than 2, then the player should not make an overcall, but rather defend.

The holding, when deciding to compete, should contain at least 6 points. It is from this number of minimum values that the designation for this particular Rule is derived. A minimum of 6 points plus the maximum difference of 2 equals the number 8, hence the Rule of Eight.

The following examples assist in clarifying this concept:


The total number of Losing Tricks is 7. The total number of the cards in the two longest suits equals 8. Subtract 7 from 8 and the number equals 1. The player, according to the guidelines of the Rule of Eight, should not overcall. The player holding this hand should actively defend.


The student of the game of bridge will notice immediately that the second example holds only 6 points whereas the first example holds 12 points. However, in the second example the number of Losing Tricks equals 7, as in the first example, but the total number of the cards in the two longest suits equals 10. Subtract 7 from 10 and the number equals 3. The player, according to the guidelines of the Rule of Eight, should overcall. The player holding this hand should actively compete.

Additional examples of holdings, where the player should actively compete follow:




If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.



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