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Rule of 14 does it apply after an overcall?

How do you avoid overestimating your partner's hand when they use the R.O.F?
I opened 1S and LHO overcalled 2clubs. My partner responded 2H and I jumped to the conclusion that she had 10hcp and 5+hearts. With 16 hcp and a spade stopper I bid 3NT - result crash and burn! All she had was AKxxxxx. The opponents held 3 cards to the QH and I couldn't establish her suit.


  • edited 12:29AM
    I have never come across the "Rule of 14", so cannot comment on that part of the question. What is it? And who is advocating it?

    The standard approach (at least in England) after this type of sequence is:
     - A 2H bid would show 10+ points and at least a five-card heart suit.
     - A double (sometimes called a Negative Double or Sputnik Double) will usually show precisely a four-card heart suit and is wide range.
     - A double can also be used to show a long heart suit and nine or fewer points. The sequence 1S, (2C), Dbl, (Pass); 2D, (Pass), 2H would show this type of hand long hearts (usually 6+) and nine or fewer HCP. Your partner's hand would seem the perfect example of a hand suitable for this approach. I believe that she should have doubled and then bid hearts at the lowest level, instead of bidding 2H over opps 2C intervention.

    I would add that:
     - Having overstated her hand with the 2H bid, she would probably have been wiser to take out your 3NT bid to 4H. I don't know if this would have done any better?, but I would not expect it to be worse than 3NT.
     - Some players (usually from across the Atlantic) play "Negative Free Bids". In this style, a 2H bid after the intervention would be weak and non-forcing (rather like your partner's hand) and a double followed by a heart bid would be stronger. This approach is not usual in England.
  • edited 12:29AM
    Andrew Robson uses the Rule of 14 in his teaching. It is rather like the Rule of 20 for opening - a gadget for counting extra for length when determining whether you are strong enough to respond at the 2 level. Add your HCP to the length of your longest suit and if the total comes to 14 you can do so. So 9 HCP and a 5 card suit or 8 HCP and an 8 card suit.

    I was taught that you can make the same response after an overcall as you would without the overcall, except that you should not respond in No Trumps without a stop in the overcall suit. 
  • edited 12:29AM
    Thanks for the info Killeavey.

    I am not in Andrew Robson's class, but my view is that this rule has merit in the cases where you hold nine or ten points, but I would not use the rule holding eight or fewer points:
    • 10 Points and a four-card suit - worth a two-over-one response.
    • 9 Points and a five-card suit - usually worth an upgrade to treat as a 10 count. I think that a five-card suit must have reasonable quality to upgrade so KJTXX is probably worth an upgrade but JXXXX is not. Occasionally there are nine-point hands without a five-card suit, but worth an upgrade. A good three-card holding (e.g. KJX) in partner's suit would be a positive feature, often worth an upgrade.
    • 8 Point hands are almost never worth an upgrade (AKJTXX might be an exception) and I certainly can't envisage a seven count worth a two-over-one response. In these cases you are better responding 1NT, which will not mislead partner. You may judge to bid your suit at the next turn - 1NT followed by a bid in a new suit shows a weak hand with a long suit and tends to be a sign-off.
  • Surely not telling partner you have a seven card suit is misleading him as well. If partner responded 1NT to me I would not think he could have a seven card suit. The Rule of 14 is not a RULE - even Robson says this but is a useful guide. With seven points and a seven card suit I would definitely bid the suit at the 2 level.

  • In this case you would probably find NFBs a better fit.

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