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Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back

I am reviewing a deal from last Monday at XClubs. This will also be featured in “Evil at the Bridge Table” and is important enough in the scheme of things to warrant a special article. It relates to the ‘losing trick count’ which I admit I have never read anything about but, having heard about it, try and work things out, as Frank Sinatra sang, “my way”.

Board 16 from Monday 11/1/2019
Dealer W EW Vul

Board#16 11/01/2018

After two passes, East opens the bidding, 1H. Does the hand warrant any other, possibly stronger, opening? What is the East hand’s potential? This is where a ‘losing trick’ count can be invaluable.

The way I count my losers is as follows: East has NO spade losers. Unless an opponent has five spades, so forget about that. What about the hearts? Play the hearts from the top and you will have THREE losers in the suit: the king will lose to the ace and after the queen is cashed there will be two more losers in hearts. But when assessing the potential of a two suited hand I always assume that partner will choose the better fit and one of the suits will have more than a singleton. So, paradoxically, there are five potential spade tricks but only three heart tricks, leaving us with five losers. But do an exercise and deal out the East hand and give a random thirteen cards to West and I guarantee East’s five losers will become three given West can choose the better trump suit. Or just put each of the other three hands opposite East and East will make either 4H or 4S!

In this deal, East can open 1H since the chances are pretty well zero that the hand will be passed out. West should respond 1NT, being warned by the singleton in partner’s suit and only a nine count, albeit a good one. East’s next bid should be 3S, showing a huge two suiter and probably six hearts and five spades. Simple and logical bidding. West is delighted to raise to 4S, with every chance of reducing East’s five losers to three, and the play presents no problem. Try it yourself by clicking here. A very small percentage of the players in this session, across the whole of X-Clubs, managed to get to 4S.

New series “Evil at the Bridge Table” coming up soon. This deal will be covered in more detail and also from the “Evil” system of opening the East hand 4H to show such a hand. For information about registering for it click here.