There are many so-called “rules” in bridge, some of which are nonsense, some of which are eminently breakable and some which are cast iron mathematical certainties. But there is one truly important rule – one rule sent to rule them all – the Rule of 25!
The Rule of 25 states that: If the combined total of a partnership’s point count is 25 or more then – assuming normal breaks and normal distribution – game should be made MOST OF THE TIME.
Therefore when you and your partner have that magical number - Bid Game! Somewhere, somehow.
The corollary of this rule is that: if you and your partner have less than 25 combined points – game is not on unless the distribution is wild. In this case you should PASS as soon as you reasonably can.
Partner opens 1NT and you hold:
What you absolutely and categorically know is that game is not on (14 + 8 = 22!) and therefore you will try to pass as soon as you can before the auction gets too high. In fact with this hand you will pass immediately. You have nothing to say and have no reason to suppose that a contract other than 1NT will score better for your side. You cannot bid 2D as that means hearts (transfer) and you definitely can’t go stayman as partner is likely to bid 2S with dire consequences. So PASS 1NT.
Alternatively you hold
You also know game is not on but this time 1NT rates to be second best to 2S, so transfer to spades and THEN pass! Remember - no 25 - no game.
The Rule of 25 is also why you must ALWAYS respond to 1 of a suit with 6 points – because partner may open One of a Suit with 19 hcp (6 + 19 = 25). It really is that simple.
Don’t forget Ned Paul’s friendly duplicate on Friday evenings – details here: http://www.ruffclub.co.uk
See you next week