Have you heard about the Rule of One? I hadn’t either, until my playing partner Paul Laliberte showed me.

Here’s how it works. You’re in a suit contract and you draw two rounds of trump. There’s still one higher trump in an opponent’s hand (hence the One). Don’t draw it! That would cost you two trumps for one of theirs. Play another suit or crossruff until the opponent ruffs with the high trump.

Paul played it to perfection in an OK Bridge game. South was dealing, with North-South vulnerable:

                                           NORTH (Paul Laliberte)
                                          ♠️ 10 8 6 5 2
                                          ♥️ 7
                                          ♦️ 8 4
                                          ♣️ A 10 5 4 2

WEST                                                                                EAST
♠️  J 7                                                                              ♠️  Q 4 3
♥️ A K 6 4 2                                                                    ♥️ Q 8 5 3
♦️ Q 6                                                                              ♦️ J 7 5 2
♣️  J 9 8 6                                                                         ♣️  Q 3


                                        SOUTH (Jim Kaplan)
                                       ♠️  A K 9
                                       ♥️ J 10 9
                                       ♦️ A K 10 9 3
                                       ♣️ K 7

The bidding proceeded as follows:

South          West          North           East
1♦️              1♥️           1 ♠️              Pass
3 ♠️            Pass          4 ♠️              All Pass

Opening lead: ♥️3

Note that Paul’s shape enabled him to enter the auction with only four high-card points.

When West led a second heart, Paul ruffed and cashed the ♠️AK, leaving the ♠️Q with East. Then he took the ♣️KA and ruffed a club with the ♠️9, (East discarding instead of ruffing). Another heart ruff followed. Why not follow a similar script with diamonds? Paul cashed the ♦️AK and ruffed a diamond. The diamond ruff was Paul’s 10 trick. He conceded the last two, including East’s ♠️Q .

Paul claimed his game with two high spades in dummy, three ruffs in hand and one on the board, two clubs and two diamonds. Never would have happened if he led a third trump.

That’s the Rule of One, perfectly illustrated by Pauls’ play.