**Rule of 20**

This rule tells us when we can open
the bidding at the one level

and when we are too strong to pre-empt.

We were taught that we needed at
least 12 HCPs to open the bidding. We might even be daring and open with 11
HCPs if we had a 5 card suit.

When we become more experienced we
realise that the playing strength of the hand, the ability we have to take
tricks often belies the HCP count.

**Rule of 20** is a formula that takes into account the shape of our hands and then
considers the HCP count.

It advises
that you are strong enough to open at the one level if

**The total number of cards
in your two longest suits**

**PLUS **

**the**** HCP count adds up to 20 or more.**

**ª****AQ874**

**©****KJ876**

**¨****5**

**§****94**

**There are **

**10 cards in the two longest suits and
10 HCPs**

**=20 so open 1S**

**ª****AQ874**

**©****KJ87**

**¨****53**

**§****94**

**There are **

**9 cards in the two longest suits and
10 HCPs**

**=19 so do not open the bidding **

** Sitting
in the 3 ^{rd} seat **

**Good players often use Rule of 20 in 1 ^{st}
and 2^{nd} seat, but use Rule of 19 in 3^{rd} seat after 2
passes**

**Sitting in the 4 ^{th}
seat**

**Good players don’t use Rule of 19 or 20 in 4 ^{th}
seat after 3 passes.
**

**To calculate Pearson Points add
up your HCPs and to the total add the number of cards you hold in the Spade suit.**

**If the total doesn’t equal 15 it is wiser to PASS.**

**Pre-empting.**

**When is a hand that has 6-9 HCPs and a 7 card suit too good
for a pre-emptive 3 level opening?**

**ª****AKQ8764**

**©****9**

**¨****10987**

**§****6**

**This hand has 9 HCPs with 11 cards is the 2 longest suits – so it fits
the rule of 20. This qualifies it for a 1S opening in 1 ^{st} and 2^{nd}
seat.**

**In 3 ^{rd} after 2 passes seat it is better to open 4S.**