Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jennbridge: Partner Uses Losing Trick Count

My partner, Mary Omodt, had an interesting decision yesterday playing at the bridge club.  I opened 1♠ and she held:

♠109xx
AQxxxx
xxx
♣void

We play Bergen raises in connection with losing trick count and she had an array of choices. Being thoroughly steeped in the principles of losing trick count, however, the first thing she did was count her losers.

Only 7 losers, but only 6 high card points.  Hmmm...how to proceed?  She took a middle-of-the-road action which I liked.  She decided to jump to 3, which we play as a limit raise with 4 trumps (Bergen raise).  This bid had several advantages.  First, it showed me 4 trumps.  Secondly, it indicated some values.  Third, it was flexible, in that if I tried to sign off in 3♠, she could move on to game if it seemed warranted.  Finally, it had some preemptive value in case the opponents were considering bidding the minors.

Here's what Mary has to say about her decision:  It was mostly a matter of eliminating bids. 2H shows opening hand count, 2 spades could get passed, 3 spades (preemptive) is too weak, 4 clubs (splinter) too strong, although I really considered that. With my 7 losers I even thought about 4 spades. None of that seemed right so it was between 3C or 3D, and again, the LTC made the decision.

It was now my turn to make a decision with this strong 4-loser hand:

♠AKQxx
KJx
A
♣QJxx

The losing trick count count was right for bidding a slam.  The problem was how to learn whether or not we were off two cashing club tricks.

I couldn't bid 3♠ as that was non-forcing.  I didn't have a convenient cue bid--4 wouldn't elicit the information I needed.  Bidding blackwood may not get the information I needed either and might prompt an unwelcome lead-directing double.   My reasoning continued...if partner had the values for a limit rasie it seemed likely that she had a club honor.  After all, there weren't that many values outstanding.  Finally, even if we were missing the ace and king of clubs, the odds were against the opening leader holding both of them and we might survive a jump to slam.

I jumped to 6♠ and received a diamond lead.

♠109xx
AQxxxx
xxx
♣void

♠AKQxx
KJx
A
♣QJxx

Dummy was a beautiful sight and it was an easy task to make 7. Spades broke 2-2 and I ruffed a club in dummy for my 13th trick.

Surprisingly we got a top board as no one else bid the slam.

Don't forget to use Losing Trick Count!  It will help you get to superior contracts.  How to use it with Bergen raises is described in my booklet, Losing Trick Count (Vol. I) available on this site.

See you at the table!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jennbridge: Hands from Monterey

The January tournament in Monterey is always well attended as folks flock to the scenic coastal city to enjoy good restaurants, fun activities (think golf, aquarium) and a (usually) temperate climate.  We had a new, upgraded venue at the Portola.  I missed the reservation date and found myself at the Hotel Pacific--a short block away.  What a delight!  Spacious suite with gas fireplace, sitting area, breakfast nook, continental breakfast...I'll definitely be back.

Here are a couple of fun hands from my first session on Thurs., Jan. 10, playing with Larry Hansen.  I'll present the first hand from Larry's point of view as he tried to steer the bidding to the best contract. (Bd. 5)

♠AKQ1094
AQ7
A42
♣7

I dealt and opened 1 and Larry was looking at this powerhouse.  He put the ball in play with a bid of 2♠, a strong jump shift.  I bid 2NT and he rebid 3♠.  I now raised to 4♠ and he bid RKC to check on keycards.  My response showed one ace and he needed to decide how to proceed.

Looking for more information, he now bid 5NT, asking about kings.  Knowing that I had the option of jumping to a grand slam with previously undisclosed values, he instead elicited the bid of 5, showing the king of hearts.  He paused again.  What would you bid?
__________________________

He jumped to 6NT, a bid calculated to protect my club holding and seize the extra points available at notrump contracts (as opposed to suit contracts).

♠AKQ1094
AQ7
A42
♣7

♠J3
K953
QJ107
♣AQ9

I let the heart lead run to my hand and immediately tabled the Q which was covered by the king and won in dummy.  I now had 13 tricks.  Good bid. Plus 1470 was worth 15 out of 17 matchpoints.


Bd. 20, both vul.  LHO dealt and opened 1♣ and the bidding was passed around to me.  I held:

♠95
Q873
AQJ10
♣J85

Not much of a hand.  What the heck is going on here?  Where is the strength?  Partner could not have much and not bid, could he?  If I bid, will the opening bidder now show his huge hand and good spades?  Speaking of bidding, what bid can I make? 1NT?  1?

I puzzled over this and finally balanced with 1.  Let the chips fall where they may.

Now the bidding took off and the hand started to come into focus.  Partner responded to my 1 bid with a cuebid of 2♣.  I still had a bad hand, but now I'm just along for the ride.  I bid 2.  He now made the surprise bid of 3NT!

A spade was led and I tabled the dummy with mild trepidation.

♠95
Q873
AQJ10
♣J85

♠AJ108
J
K74
♣AK643

Wow--there were plenty of tricks for the taking!  Partner simply hadn't been able to get into the auction over 1♣.  My 1 bid kept the bidding open so he could learn that I had something in hearts.  This was all he needed to know to get to the top spot of 3NT.  The opener held KQ63/A642/62/Q107.

Plus 630 was worth 14 out of 17 matchpoints. Creative bidding. Interesting game. Be brave.

See you at the table!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jennbridge: Losing Trick Count Seminar, Part V

Part V and final segment of the LTC seminar presented at the San Francisco NABC:  Bid Like the Experts!

LTC works well with help-suit game tries as shown in the following example.
                                                          
Question:  What do you bid with this hand after you open 1 and partner raises to 2?

♠105
AK10973
4
♣KQ82


Answer:  Partner’s single raise promises 9-10 losers.  You have only 12 points, but 5 losers.  Make a game try, such as 3.

♠943
Q862
87
♣AJ5

♠105
AK10973
4
♣KQ82
                                                                                           
Partner will bid 4 with help in clubs.  You reach a nice 19-point game using Losing Trick Count.

Note:  Change the responder’s hand as shown below.  With 9 points but no help in clubs, game won’t make.    

♠Q43
Q862
KQ8
♣973

♠105
AK10973
4
♣KQ82
    


Question:  After two passes, West opens 1 heart.  North doubles and East bids 3 hearts.  What do you bid with the South hand?
                                                                                               
Board 30
East Deals
None Vul
♠ A 4 2
5 2
K Q J 9
♣ K 8 7 2
♠ 9 8
A K Q J 8 7 4
6
♣ Q J
N
W

E
S
♠ Q 5 3
10 9 6 3
A 10 8 7 5
♣ 53

♠ K J 10 7 6

4 3 2
♣ A 10 9 6 4


Answer:  First, count your losers.  While this hand has only 8 high card points, it has 7 losers.  It should therefore make game opposite a takeout double.  Jump to 4 spades.

FINAL NOTE:  Generally, as points increase, losers decrease; as points decrease, losers increase. Also, the more balanced a hand, the more losers; the more unbalanced a hand, the fewer the losers.  Go slowly with flat hands. These principles are quite effective and lead to increased bidding accuracy.  Good Luck!

____________________
*The seminar material presented here contains a brief summary of Losing Trick Count.  For more information you may purchase either or both of my LTC books on this site. Vol. I contains the basics, how to use LTC with Bergen Raises, and several good example hands from actual play.  Vol. II contains the six Bridge Bulletin articles plus more great hands. Questions?  Email me at Jennife574@aol.com.


See you at the table!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jennbridge: Losing Trick Count Seminar, Part IV

Here is part IV of the LTC seminar presented at the San Francisco NABC:  Bid Like the Experts

Example Hands

Question: What would you bid with these hands after partner opens 1?

a) ♠ AJ764   KQJ6  J8  ♣ 97       
b) ♠ A8764  KQ96  85 ♣ 97

Answer:  While the first hand (a) has 12 high card points and the second (b) only 9, they both have 7 losers.  That makes them both game-forcing hands, so make a game-forcing bid such as Jacoby 2NT.

Question:  What would you bid with these hands after partner opens 1♠?

a) ♠ KQ86 A10 J32 ♣ J865                     
b) ♠ KQ86 10  J743 ♣ J865

Answer:  While the first hand (a) has 11 high card points and the second (b) only 7, they both have 8 losers. That makes them both game-invitational hands, so make a limit raise, such as 3♠.

Next:  Using LTC with help-suit game tries and in response to takeout doubles.

____________________
*The seminar material presented here contains a brief summary of Losing Trick Count.  For more information you may purchase either or both of my LTC books on this site. Vol. I contains the basics, how to use LTC with Bergen Raises, and several good example hands from actual play.  Vol. II contains the six Bridge Bulletin articles plus more great hands. Questions?  Email me at Jennife574@aol.com.



Next: More LTC example hands. 

See you at the table!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jennbridge: Losing Trick Count Seminar, part III

Here is part III of the LTC seminar presented at the San Francisco NABC:  Bid Like the Experts

HOW TO APPLY LTC IN PRACTICE

A normal minimum opening hand contains 7 losers: AKxxx Axxx Qx xx.  If partner also has 7 losers, the total number of losers is 14.  Apply the formula. Subtracting 14 from 24 is 10: the number of tricks the partnership can expect to win. So if partner opens the bidding and you have a 7-loser hand with a fit, move toward game. 
An invitational hand has 8 losers: xxxx Kx Kxxx Axx. If partner opens 1 and you have 8 losers, invite game with a limit raise!

A single raise contains 9 or10 losers: xx QJxx Kxxx xxx. If partner opens 1, raise to 2.

If your partner opens the bidding and you have a 5-loser hand, you should immediately think about slam:  Axxx KQx KJxx A.  If partner opens 1, make a game-forcing raise and set about getting information on keycards.

To summarize:  as the responder, if you have support for opener’s suit, base your response on how many losers you have. With nine or more, make a simple raise. With eight, invite game with a limit raise. With seven, make a game force. With six losers, consider slam, and with five or fewer, head toward slam.

____________________
*The seminar material presented here contains a brief summary of Losing Trick Count.  For more information you may purchase either or both of my LTC books on this site. Vol. I contains the basics, how to use LTC with Bergen Raises, and several good example hands from actual play.  Vol. II contains the six Bridge Bulletin articles plus more great hands. Questions?  Email me at Jennife574@aol.com.
 

Next: LTC example hands. 

See you at the table!