# The Rule Of 14

The Rule Of 14 is a bridge bidding convention used in Acol bridge. It is used by the responder when they are replying to their partner’s opening bid.

When the opener has opened with a bid of one of a suit and the responder has a weakish hand with a suit that can be also be bid at the one level it is usually right to do so rather than making a bid of 1NT. However, if a change of suit response would take us to the two level and we have fewer than 9 points that is when we would usually bid 1NT. It doesn’t mean that we have a balanced hand, it just means that there are no other bids available to us and we have 6+ points and therefore shouldn’t just pass.

Here is an example:

(Our hand) South

Hearts: K 9 8 6 3

Diamonds: J 10 5 3

Clubs: Q 6

Partner opened with a bid of one spade. We only hold 6 points and don’t have enough spades to support partner’s spade bid. Ideally we would like to bid our hearts at the one level, but we can’t. We don’t have enough points to bid at the two level, so we are forced to make a 1NT bid. This doesn’t show a balanced hand, it just tells partner we have a weak hand and not enough spades to support.

How can we decide if our hand is strong enough for a response at the two level? This is where the Rule of 14 comes in.

Using the Rule of 14

Start by adding up the number of high card points held. Then add to that the number of cards in the longest suit. If the total is 14 or more than the hand satisfied the Rule of 14 and we can make a bid at the two level. If the total is less than fourteen then we should make a 1NT bid.

Here are some more examples:

Example 1

South

S: 10 7 2

H: 8 5

D: A 9 5

C: K J 9 7 3

Partner has opened with a bid of 1 heart. We can’t bid our clubs without raising to the two level. Using the Rule of 14 we have 8 high card point and 5 cards in our longest suit. This gives us a total of 13, so we should respond with a bid of 1NT.

Example 2

South

S: 8 7 6

H: 8

D: Q 9 2

C: A Q 10 6 5 2

Partner has opened 1H. As with the previous hand, we want to bid clubs, but this would mean raising to the two level. We have 8 high card points, but this time we have 6 cards in our longest suit. Adding these two gives us a total of 14, so we can bid 2 Clubs.