Hand evaluation – part 8 By August Boehm

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Some players, alas, ignore distribution altogether, a serious mistake…

By August Boehm
On 14 February, 2017 At 16:12

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Fuente: August 2016 ACBL Bridge Bulletin      

Counting points is the easy part of hand evaluation. Almost everyone uses the 4-3-2-1 method developed by Milton Work in the 1920s and popularized by Charles Goren two decades later. Some promote dummy points 5-3-1 (void-singleton-doubleton) when a fit is found; others use the 3-2-1 count and add points for length.

Some players, alas, ignore distribution altogether, a serious mistake. Knowing what your points are worth is the real point. In this quiz, you are presented with a bidding sequence and three possible hands you might hold. Grade these three hands from best to worst, then decide what you would bid in each case. Because the opponents have entered the auction, be guided by the location of your honor cards and anticipate the opening lead and subsequent play. Master these nuances and you’re on your way to expert status.

aaxx

All hands count to 15 HCP; hand B is best, hand A is next, and hand C is worst.

What makes B best is that none of the honor cards are wasted. Each is pulling full weight, including the K, which seems well-positioned behind East’s club bid.

Hand A includes a dubious value, the K sitting in front of West’s diamond call. Also the J is probably useless in the play.

Hand C is worst because the diamond values, initially suspect which downgraded the hand from a 1NT opening, are now likely to be wasted (falling under the ace-king), and the club cards may be ruffed away on a likely club lead.

Bid 4 on B. As little as:aaxxin dummy offers a good play for game, anticipating six spade winners, two hearts, one club with the A onside, and one club ruff.

Bid 3 on A. The sixth spade suggests competing to the three level, but no further, because four minor-suit losers (at least) are looming.

Pass with C: nothing extra. If partner holds extra shape, let him compete.

aaxx

All hands count to 13 HCP, but any similarity ends there. Hand E is best, F is next, and D is worst.

Hand E is “the terrific 13” because it contains excellent diamond support, a source of tricks in hearts, a second-round spade control, and the club length in the suit the opponents have bid and raised implies that partner is short in clubs, either singleton or void.

Hand F has diamond support but nothing else to brag about, and D has no bragging rights at all, given the context of an opening bid.

Hand E is slamworthy and 3 doesn’t begin to do justice. A jump to 4 or 4 – a splinter minus the fourth trump – are the candidates. Visualize partner holding.aaxx6 is virtually laydown.

Hand F is worth a simple raise to 3 . 3NT remains in the picture if part-ner can stop the clubs. If not, 3 could easily be the limit.

Hand D is best expressed by pass. Yes, you have a club stopper, but where are eight fast tricks coming from after your K is dislodged? Partner needs running diamonds or extra high cards. If he has them, let him show them. In general, when you hold a minimum opening bid and the opponents inter-vene, pass is the ticket. Trust partner to compete with additional values.

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