Monday, January 30, 2012

Jennbridge: More on LTC

Ever since I wrote the Losing Trick Count booklet last year I have been receiving reports from friends and readers that using LTC has improved their bidding and made their decisions easier.  Give it a try if you haven't already--your success will make you a believer! 

The main thing to remember is: don't use it until you have found a fit with partner in the bidding.

I have always found it especially valuable to use when I have a decision to make in the bidding, such as whether to invite game (or slam) or whether to accept a game invitation.  LTC provides a quick and accurate answer.  

Occasionally I hear about a hand where LTC doesn't work.  It's good to remember that LTC measures the number of tricks the partnership can expect to take most of the time.  It doesn't measure certain winners, but only the potential of the hand--the number of tricks the partnership can be expected to take.  It's not a panacea for all bidding problems, but is more accurate than other methods.

I used LTC while bidding this hand a couple of days ago in a pair game:

♦ A

At favorable vulnerability, partner dealt and opened 1♣.  RHO bid 1and it was my call.  As I liked my club fit and distribution, I made a negative double.  LHO passed and partner jumped to 2♠.  It went pass, pass and LHO balanced with 3, passed back to me.

While I didn't have much of a hand, I now counted my losers as we had a known spade fit (and probably a club fit as well).  I added my 9 losers to the 6 losers partner showed with his jump to 2♠ and decided that we could probably make 3♠, so I bid it.  All passed.

♦ A


Partner had no trouble making the contract and actually made 4.  Plus 170 was a good score.  If I had only counted points I would have undoubtedly passed, but LTC helped me make the right decision.                

See you at the table!


Jo Ginsberg said...

Hi Jenn,

It seems to me that your partner, with about 5 1/2 losers him/herself should have done more than bid only 2S the first time, and should jump to 3S.

Jo Ginsberg

Jennifer Jones said...

Hi Jo,

Thanks--good point. I think he probably downgraded his DQ. Although he made 4 he said they could/should have held him to 3. West held AQ/Kxx/J10xxxx/xx.

Anonymous said...

Regarding LTC part 4, where you say a one-level overcall (6-8 losers) by partner should be answered by advancer by "invite game...with 7 or 8 losers". This is very possibly an 8 vs. 8 loser situation and should not be invited. Simply support overcaller until more is known.

John McCaslin, email: said...

My wife and I have carefully read your LTC series and have found them very helpful, IN SUIT BIDDING. However, we've found problems in contracts that end up in notrump, and we've noticed that the only discussion about notrump bidding in your first four articles is glancing references to it in Part 3. Obviously, LTC analysis favors suit bidding because shortness reduces loser count but does not help notrump contracts if both partners are short in a suit.

Please write DETAILED followon article(s) about how to use (AND NOT MIS-USE) LTC when notrump contracts are possible.

If you have time, we'd appreciate an email response about this.

Thank you,
John and Beth McCaslin