Rule of Two, Three, and Four - Rule of 2, 3, and 4

This concept expansion has been added to the concept of the Rule of Two and Three when deciding to preempt. The origin in unknown, but its effectiveness can prove advantageous under certain bidding circumstances. In principle, the concept of this variation is based on the number of losing tricks held and the possible number of tricks the partnership may surrender in an expected doubled contract, which is expected in advance not to make. The conditions should be met according to the following guidelines.

An illustration should be help in the clarification of this concept.


First, the conditions of vulnerability must be taken into consideration. In this example, the opening side is vulnerable and the opponents are not vulnerable. The trick is to count the number of winners by counting the number of losing tricks. In the above exampe, the number of losing tricks equals 7:

1 Spade loser

1 Heart loser

2 Diamond losers

3 Club losers

and thus the number of winning tricks is 6 or the number of total tricks 13 minus 7. According to the Rule of Two, Three and Four, the correct bid should be an opening of only 2 Hearts.

In the case that the opening side and the defenders are both equally vulnerable, then the correct bid should be an opening of only 3 Hearts.

In the case that the opening side is not vulnerable and the defenders are vulnerable, then the correct bid should be an opening of only 4 Hearts.

Basically, the concept is so established that the opening preempting partnership should not be penalized by a doubled contract for more than the value of the potential game possibility of the opponents. Another feature of the effectiveness of this concept is the assumption that the partner, more times than not, has and can provide the source of one winning trick. The shorthand version is presented below:

Vulnerability: Bid
Vulnerable versus Not Vulnerable: Bid 2 tricks more than you have
Equal Vulnerability: Bid 3 tricks more than you have
Not Vulnerable versus Vulnerable: Bid 4 tricks more than you have



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.