Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jennbridge: Accurate Hand Evaluation

I held this hand today in a sectional team game.  None vul., what is your call when partner opens 1 heart?

♠ K9
♣ KJxx

There are several choices.  Many players would start with a game-forcing 2 club bid, followed by a heart raise.  The hand contains 13 high card points, but a closer examination reveals 8 losers.  This makes it a game-invitational hand, rather than a game-forcing hand. 

I responded with a forcing notrump, awaiting further information from my partner.  He rebid 2NT, showing a strong hand--a hand suitable for a jump rebid of 2NT.  I had the information I needed and jumped to 4 hearts.

♠ K9
♣ KJxx

♠ 10x
♣ AQxx

There was a surprise ruff of the opening club lead, but the contract was in no danger as the ace of spades was onside as well as the diamond king.

The bigger surprise occurred when we compared results and learned we had won 10 imps on the board.  My (expert) counterpart made the game-forcing 2 club bid with my hand, and when he later showed hearts, his partner bid the hand to the 5-level--down 1!

2.  Holding this hand the other night, my partner responded 1NT to my 1 spade opener, then had to decide what to do when I rebid 2 hearts:

♠ x
♣ xx

Although she had only 6 points, she properly counted her losers (8) and realized she needed to invite with 3 hearts.  This got us to a good 20-point game.

♠ x
♣ xx

♠ AKxxx
♣ x

Using losing trick count in the bidding helps you go right in these situations For more information about losing trick count, see my booklet on the subject:

Thanks to Memphis Mojo, a fellow bridge blogger who wrote a nice review of said booklet entitled Elevate Your Game:

Check out Memphis Mojo's interesting bridge/poker/travel blog--complete with photos!

See you at the table!


danny sprung said...


Calling the first hand an 8 loser hand may be technically accurate, but I think the hand is far better than that. It would still be an 8 loser hand if you turned all of those jacks and tens into two and threes. Those cards have no value in the LTC, but have value in real life. Also, LTC treats aces and kings, and to some extent queens equally. We know this can't be right either. To call the example hand the same as Kx Axx xxxx Kxxx seems quite wrong. Change the ace of hearts to the king, and it is still 8 losers.

Some adjustments you might want to make:

Per Jeff R. from the Bridge World, deduct 1/2 loser for each ace, and add 1/2 loser for each queen. Also, count something for jacks/tens, especially together or with higher honors in a 4 card or longer suit.


Len said...

I'd bid the first deal:

1H-2C (GF)
3C (extras) - 3H
4C (serious slam try, more extras, club control, no spade control) - 4H (no diamond control, either minimum or no spade control),

Passing 4H is reasonable, but a pushy 5D gets us to a decent 6C.

Jennifer Jones said...

Thanks for the comments. If the truth be known, I probably would always have bid game with the hand, especially at imps, but wanted to start slowly with the 8 losers.
Danny--I included the ace and queen adjustments you mentioned in my booklet and agree with your comments about jacks and tens--often potential tricks!

Lak said...

I am not sure that I agree. There are so many hands where 1H-1NT-2NT-4H would be an underbid. Remember that with as little as 6 points and 3 hearts, you need to bid 4H after partner has issued a game force with 2NT. Give partner Axx, K9xxx, AQ, AQx ... And slam is a 75% chance approximately.

I think your expert opponents were right to explore slam. They just got unlucky on this hand because of the distribution and because of wasted heart honors.

p.s. I think LTC is a good tool, but this hand doesn't support it.

Jennifer Jones said...

I should also point out that we play 19+ 2NT openers, so pard wouldn't have more than 18 points with his 2NT rebid.