Monday, January 16, 2012

Jennbridge: Q & A on LTC

I have been receiving some thoughtful questions about the use of Losing Trick Count and will start addressing them here.

Q.  I enjoyed segment #2 of Losing Trick Count and want to review segment #1. Can you please tell me which issue of Bridge Bulletin it's in ?  

A. The first article is in the Dec. 2011 issue.  This article is important as it explains how to count losers.  There is also a complete explanation of how to count losers in my LTC booklet.

Q.  Can you use LTC after you open 1 notrump?
Q.  Does this apply to an opening bid of 1 NT, followed by a jacoby transfer? 

A.  Don't use it until you find a fit. When you find a fit you can use it. I will be addressing this in a future article--stay tuned.

Q.   I am wondering how the number 24 was arrived at as the number you subtract your losers from!

A.  Since the maximum number of losers you can have in your hand is 12 (maximum of 3 losers per suit), then the maximum number of losers between your hand and your partner's hand is 24.  LTC operates by deducting the actual number of losers from the maximum number possible to arrive at the number of tricks you can expect to win.  (Your 7-loser hand plus your partner's 7-loser hand equals 14 losers.  Subtract 14 from 24 to arrive at 10--the number of tricks you expect to win.)

Q.  I had trouble with this hand the other day after partner opened 1 spade and next hand bid 2 spades, a Michaels cuebid:  Jxx/ AKx/Jxx/AKxx.   I counted it as 8 losers and we missed game. Where did I go wrong? 

A.  First of all, you have 16 points so you definitely want to be in game.  I like to think about LTC this way:  I use it primarily when I have a decision to make.  With a 16-point hand there is no decision, just take steps to get to game.  Remember that LTC doesn't replace point count--it is used in conjunction with it.  
      Secondly, don't forget the adjustments to LTC I wrote about recently in this blog.  If you deduct 1/2 loser for each ace, you really have a 7-loser hand.
       Finally, you and your partner should adopt some methods to deal with this type of interference.  The simplest way is to agree that a bid of 3 hearts (their known suit) shows a limit raise or better in your suit--spades.  You would then start with a 3 heart bid and eventually get to a spade game.

Q.  Do you still use game tries in your bidding with LTC?

A.  Yes--although LTC can be used effectively with various types of game tries, I especially like to use it with help-suit game tries.  Many of the hands in my LTC booklet (for sale on this blog) from actual play involve the use of help-suit game tries.

See you at the table!

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