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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 4:17PM
    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 4:17PM
    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 4:17PM
    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.

  • Just joined this conversation.
    The Rule of 14 is a guide to whether a squeeze will work.
    Count the number of tricks to be lost, the number of winning tricks to be run, and the number of threat cards held by a defender. If the sum is 14 or more a squeeze may operate, less then probably not. The count still needs rectifying. The rule is said to work because the effected defender has less spaces to hold all the cards needed to defend successfully, a maximum of 13, whereas declarer has 26 spaces, assuming the other defender can be isolated. Thus Rule of 14.

  • If responder has used the rule of 14 with a hand significantly weaker than the normal HCP count, as in this case, they should usually follow up with a non-forcing rebid in their suit to show they have this hand type. For example, 1H-2C, 2D-3C. In this case, with a 7 card major, they should certainly have converted 3NT to 4H, as Tramticket says.

    This hand would be tricky to bid unopposed without the rule of 14, as 1NT is non-forcing and not at all a good description of responder's hand. With ROF it can go 1S-2H, 2NT-3H, 4H.

    I also agree with Tramticket that an initial double followed up by a heart bid is a better way for responder to show this hand. No need for negative free bids. The bidding could go: 1S-(2C)-Dbl, 2NT-3H, 4H. Even if opener rebids 3NT instead, responder should convert back to 4H. There's a saying "seven card suits should be trumps" which seems to work well. No entry problems if hearts are trumps here!

    Lodger's Rule of 14 refers to a different situation - play instead of bidding - but is certainly interesting.

  • The only "rule" that you should ever follow is the only rule that works better and better the longer you play. Yes, this rule has a name. Larry Cohen was critiquing an opening bid someone once defended by saying that it satisfied the Rule of 20. Larry Cohen wrote that he believed in only one rule: The Rule of Thinking. Bravo, Larry! Using a rule as though it is a law of nature, always to be followed, is almost always a way to avoid thinking.

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