Enjoying a wonderful NABC here in Seattle. Thanks for the book orders and comments.
From a reader: Read your article in recent ACBL publication. I haven't used LTC, since I typically use: Rule of 20, open 12 point hands sometimes, and use 2.5 Quick tricks with 11 points. Please comment on this. thanks. ..rob
Rob: The guidelines you mention are helpful when deciding whether to open the bidding. We need other guidelines to assist us as the bidding proceeds, however. Many of our decisions revolve around how high to bid once we have located a fit with our partner. This is where losing trick count comes into play. It is used in conjunction with high card points to help us more accurately evaluate our hand so that we can bid with confidence to the right level.
Here is a hand I held recently. My partner opened 1♠ and I held:
How should I respond? Without losing trick count it would be difficult to accurately evaluate this hand.
At the table, I counted my losers (7) which meant that my hand was worth a game-forcing bid. I therefore jumped to 4♣, a splinter showing ♠ support and ♣ shortness, and my partner signed off in 4♠.
These were the hands and partner had no trouble making 4♠.
You can change partner's hand any number of ways and he will still have a good chance of making game. We received an excellent score for this hand as many pairs failed to reach game.
I will be writing about this topic in the next few issues of the Bridge Bulletin, so stay tuned.
See you at the table!