The rule of eight was proposed by Mr. Mel Colchamiro and first published in The Bridge Bulletin of ACBL in October 2000, Page 85. The bridge student can also find Mr. Mel Colchamiro online at his website. He was born in the year 1945 in Brooklyn, New York, United States, and has been teaching bridge professionally as of the year 1988. He is also a regular contributor with his byline Claim With Colchamiro to The Bridge Bulletin of the ACBL.

This rule of right 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.

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

Note: As a short summary and/or general explanation of how losing tricks are counted the player counts the missing Aces, Kings, and Queens from the holding in each suit. Voids do not contain any losing tricks. Singletons contain only one losing trick if the card is not the Ace. Doubletons contain only a maximum of two losing tricks. However, if the combination is xx, then there are two losing tricks; if the combination is Ax, then there is only one losing trick; if the combination is AK, then there is zero losing tricks.

     

The following examples assist in clarifying this concept:

Example 1
Holding   # of Losing Tricks   2 Longest Suits
AQ873   2     5  
K63   1     3  
85   2        
K94   2        
Total:   7     8  
Conclusion: the player should not compete.
               

The total number of losing tricks is 7. The total number of the cards in the two longest suits Spades and Hearts (or Clubs) 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.

Example 2
Holding   # of Losing Tricks   2 Longest Suits
K8653   2     5  
K8754   2     5  
85   2        
4   1        
Total:   7     10  
Conclusion: the player should compete.
               

The student of the game of bridge will notice immediately that the Example 2 contains only 6 high card points, whereas the Example 2 contains 12 high card points. However, in the Example 1 the number of losing tricks equals 7, as in the Example 2, but the total number of the cards in the two longest suits equals 10.

According to the rule of 8 the player should not compete with the holding in Example 1, but should compete with the holding of Example 2. Remember the guidelines as devised by Mr. Mel Colchamiro:

1. If the subtraction results in a number of 2 or more, then the player should decide to compete and make an overcall.
2. If the subtracted number is fewer than 2, then the player should not make an overcall, but rather defend.

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

Example 3
Holding   # of Losing Tricks   2 Longest Suits
Q10764   2     5  
AQ73   1     4  
64   2        
97   2        
Total:   7     9  
Conclusion: the player should compete.
               
Example 4
Holding   # of Losing Tricks   2 Longest Suits
10   1        
AQ9652   1     5  
J1086   3     4  
73   2        
Total:   7     9  
Conclusion: the player should compete.
               
Example 5
Holding   # of Losing Tricks   2 Longest Suits
KQ862   1     5  
86   2        
K965   2     4  
K6   1        
Total:   6     9  
Conclusion: the player should compete.

 

 

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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