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The Raz Rule of Two

The Raz Rule of Two is quite simple: If you are in a competitive auction, and you have EXACTLY two of your opponents' suit
(both queen or below), and you have a close decision on whether to go on towards game or not, DON'T. (This is for suit contracts only).

The reasoning behind this is: Your opponents probably have 8 or 9 of their suit. If you have 2 of their cards, then your partner will probably have 2…maybe 3 of them. Your opponents could take the first two tricks AND get a look at the dummy AND signal each other.
This is too much of an advantage to give to good defenders.


This first occurred to me about a year ago. I was playing on Bridge Base Online (BBO) and had the below hand:

KJ9
86
T843
♣ KJ95

My partner opened 1 spade and his LHO bid 2 hearts. I raised to 2 spades and the next player bid 3 hearts. My partner raised to 3 spades (which I knew was invitational), the next player passed and since I was on the high end of my 2 spade bid, I accepted the invitation and bid 4 spades. The opening lead was the king of hearts and his partner signaled with the 2 of hearts. Next came the ace of hearts, which held the trick. The opening defender then lead the 8 of clubs … after pondering, my partner played low from the board.
The other defender played the queen and then the ace of clubs. Down one before my partner could catch a trick. I said, "Tough luck, pards, and good defense." My partner's hand is below:

AQ863
Q9
AKQ7
♣ T8

Later, when I was going over our hands, I was trying to figure out where we went wrong with this hand. I thought we were awfully unlucky to both have two hearts. That's when it hit me. We almost HAD to have two hearts apiece. By their bidding, the opponents had shown to have 8 or 9 hearts. I had two hearts, so my partner had to have 2 or 3 hearts. I started to watch for these type hands as I kibbitzed online. We have about 30 regular "Kiblings" on BBO, who watch a
player named "0 5_Ace". I have been watching him nightly, for a little over a year now. My moniker is "RazorbackD" hence Raz. Ace normally comes online around 9:00 or 9:30 PM EST and plays for 3 to 4 hours. He is a world class player from the
Cayman Islands who lives in New York City now. There are usually about 100 or more other kibbitzers watching him also.

When I started seeing this type hand occur over and over, I started making my little comment, "They went against my rule of two." When I first started saying that, the other Kiblings asked what I was talking about. I explained it to them, and after thinking about it, nearly all of them said that it made sense. They also started watching for it and every time it came up, they would say, "They went against Raz's Rule of Two". It was amazing how often this hand came up and even more
amazing how often it held true. The hand would come up a couple of times a night (Ace normally plays over a hundred boards a night), and while I haven't kept any statistics, I would guess it holds true 60 to 70 per cent of the time.

Instead of making up some hands, I went to a place called Vugraph Archives on BBO, where they keep hands from the big national and worldwide tournaments …. Vanderbilt, Bermuda, World Championships, etc. In about an hour, I had 8 examples. I looked for game bids that had gone down … I then looked to see there was a competitive auction … then, I looked to see if one of the declarers had EXACTLY two of the opponents bid suits. Anyone reading this can use the same criteria to
look at their own archives or any they can find. I think they will be surprised.

If you have 0 or 1 of your opponents suit, that is good. If you have 3 or more of their suit, that is also good because it means your partner probably has a singleton or a void. But EXACTLY two is bad.

Below, I will attach the hands that I copied from some of the biggest tournaments in the world by some of the best players in the world. I bypassed several hands where there were bad trump splits.



Example 1: World Championship Final 2003, Italy v USA, Board 21

Board 21
Dealer : North
Vuln. : N/S
Rodwell
AQ976
T8
6
♣ AT982
Nunes
54
QJ5
KQ432
♣ 765
Fantoni
JT
AK9763
J98
♣ KQ
Meckstroth
K832
42
AT75
♣ J43


W N E S
1S 2H 3S
P 4S end


Down one. After two rounds of hearts, E/W can switch to clubs.
Note : The Rule of Two applies to E/W also, in spades.




Example 2: World Championship Final 2003, Italy v USA, Board 14

Board 14
Dealer : East
Vuln. : Nil
Rodwell
J97
9
AKQJ43
♣862
Versace
T843
AKJ4
962
♣ 97
Lauria
AQ
T8652
75
♣ AQT3
Meckstroth
K652
Q73
T8
♣ KJ54


W N E S
1H P
3C 3D X P
4H P P P


Down two. After two rounds of diamonds, N can switch to a club.






Example 3: Spingold Semi-Final 2004, Segment 3

Dealer : North
Vuln. : All
Rodwell
96
J53
K653
♣ KJ97
Versace
JT87
AT
QJ72
♣ 532
Lauria
Q43
KQ9764
4
♣ Q64
Meckstroth
AK52
82
AT98
♣ AT8


W N E S
P 2H X
P 3C P 3H
X P P 4C
P P P


Down one. After two rounds of hearts, E can switch to a spade.






Example 4: Spingold Wagar Teams 2004, Segment 2

Dealer : East
Vuln. : N/S
Levitina
Q7
KJ654
K952
♣ 82
Allison
963
832
AJT64
♣ T3
Sutherlin
AJ85
Q7
7
♣ AKQJ96
Narashima
KT42
AT9
Q83
♣ 754


W N E S
1C P
1D 1H 1S 2H
P P 3H X
P P 4C end


Down one. After two rounds of hearts, E can switch to a spade.






Example 5: Vanderbilt2004, Jacobs-Schwatt

Board 26
Dealer : East
Vuln. : All
Bocchi
KQ6
J87
K43
♣ KJ96
Robinson
2
AKQ654
QT
♣ T832
Boyd
753
93
J8652
♣ AQ7
Duboin
AJT984
T2
A97
♣54


W N E S
P 2S
3H 3S P 4S


Down one. After two rounds of hearts, W can switch to a club.







Example 6: USBF Championship Finals 2004, Segment 7

Dealer : West
Vuln. : All
Rosenburg
J2
J764
843
♣ AK65
Rodwell
AK9875
8
QJ7
♣ 973
Meckstroth
J
953
AK652
♣ J842
Zia
QT64
AKQT2
T9
♣ QT


W N E S
1S P 1NT 2H
2S 4H end


Down one. After two rounds of spades, W can switch to a diamond.




I realize this does not take into account vulnerabilities, sacrifices, bad bids, etc. I'm just saying that the first thing I look for when both sides are bidding is how many cards do I have in the opponents suit. If I have EXACTLY 2, I slow my bidding down. It can't hurt to look at it.

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