Rule of Nineteen - Rule of 19
The Rule of Nineteen is a rule employed by the bridge players in England to satisfy the requirements of the World Bridge Federation to define the boundary between light opening bids and Highly Unusual Methods, known as HUM, in which bad hands are regularly opened. There is a mathematical calculation involved.
If the number of High Card Points added to the total of the two longest suits totals 19, the bid is acceptable within the English bridge tournaments.
This is just 1 point higher than the lower limit established by the World Bridge Federation, which constitutes the Rule of Eighteen.
The player who decides to open a hand containing only 10 High Card Points bases his decision to open on the length of his suit-distribution of his hand. For example: if the player's distribution is 3-2-4-4 and the player has 11 High Card Points, the 11 is added to the 4-4 (his two longest suits) and the number is 19. The opening then becomes acceptable.
Note: Some sponsoring organizations may include the provision that the holding, which meets the above criteria, must also include two Quick Tricks, or two Playing Tricks.
If the distribution of the player is 5-5-2-1, and the player only has 8 High Card Points, the player calculates 10 for the two longest suits and adds 8 High Card Points and the result is 18. The bridge player in England playing at tournaments and/or in bridge clubs should not open the auction.
But take the distribution 5-5-2-1 which equals 10 for the two longest suits and the player discovers 9 High Card Points in his hand. The result is 19, and the act of opening the auction would be accepted.
As stated above, the Rule of Nineteen has been established to define the boundary between light opening bids and Highly Unusual Methods.
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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