Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jennbridge: More Q & A on Losing Trick Count

The final article on LTC in the May Bridge Bulletin is generating additional questions.

Q:  Can you please reprint how to count losers?
A:  This is from the Dec. 2011 Bridge Bulletin article.  For more information you may purchase a copy of my booklet on Losing Trick Count, available on this site.


1. Count losers only in the first three cards of each suit.  The 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. cards in a suit are not counted as losers. There are never more than 3 losers in a suit.
2. With 3 or more cards in a suit count the A, K and Q as winners; anything lower as a loser.
3.  With a doubleton, count the A or K as a winner and anything else as a loser.  With a singleton, only the ace is a winner; anything else is a loser.

AKQxx no losers        Kxx 2 losers                xxxxx 3 losers
AKxxx 1 loser             Kx 1 loser                    Qx 2 losers
Axxxxx 2 losers          KQx 1 loser                 Jxx 3 losers

Q:  You mention Bergen raises in your article.  Can you elaborate?
A:  This is the introduction to the Bergen raise section reprinted here from my booklet.

Optional Refinement
Presenting a System of Major Suit Raises
Based on Losing Trick Count

While LTC works with any bidding system, for the greatest bidding accuracy it is advantageous to combine LTC with Bergen and constructive raises in a 2/1 game forcing system.  This system works extremely well, although it is perhaps best left to experienced players.

Bergen raises are a system of responses at the three level to a major suit opening bid. They show 3 or 4-card trump support. The convention is named after Marty Bergen, who developed it.

Q:  Will you be writing more about LTC?
A:  Yes!  As more and more bridge players experiment with LTC and realize the positive impact it has on their game, I receive more comments, questions and book orders.  As more bridge teachers teach it to their classes, I predict a groundswell until most players embrace the concept and it becomes the established norm.

Remember--you can use LTC even if your partner doesn't!  When your partner admires the fact that you were the only pair in the room to get to game (or were the only pair to stop short of a game that didn't have a prayer) and asks you how you made your bidding decisions, you can explain that you were just following LTC principles.  Your partner will then come to this site to order a copy of the book--or at least go back and read the articles in the Bridge Bulletin.
If you would like to be notified when new LTC publications or material is available, please let me know by sending an email to:  Jennife574@aol.com.  Feel free to include a message or merely put "LTC updates" in the subject line of your email and you'll be added to the mailing list.

See you at the table!


Memphis MOJO said...

I enjoyed your LTC series. Good job!

Mark Wilder said...


I enjoyed your series in the Bridge Bulletin a lot and even bought your booklet in Memphis. My partner and I, both 299ers, found LTC very useful and it has improved our game.

My question is on splinter bids. What kind of LTC would you have for a splinter bid? Obviously no more than seven for the game forcing bid, but would a splinter tend to promise more? I've been looking at one article about splinters and the LTC of the example hands range from 7.5 losers to 5, while the same article says that a hand with 12HCP and 6 losers should give only a limit raise. What do you think?

Jennifer Jones said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your comment. You're right--a game-forcing splinter bid should contain no more than 7 losers. It may, however, contain fewer than 7 and could actually be a slam-going hand that might be, for example, looking for a cuebid from opener.

If responder had KQxxx/AKQx/QJx/x she might bid 4C after a 1S opener looking for a diamond cuebid in order to bid blackwood.

If you have 12 HCP and 6 losers you should definitely force to game after partner opens.

Anonymous said...

So, I'm looking at the 20-point game in your May Bulletin article. Obviously if match circumstances say you need to take a shot, that's one thing, but this isn't a game I'd usually want to play.

You're down on an opening spade lead, a diamond lead followed by a spade shift, a diamond lead in a situation that allows a 3rd-trick ruff, or a spade shift early in the play any time the AC is offside, so you don't get a pitch on the KC.

Am I missing something here?

Jennifer Jones said...

Hi Andrew,

True, it's a lucky game and extreme example, but it does demonstrate how LTC operates in these situations.