Dear Jerry: Why can’t we always value hands with either points for long suits or with points for short suits? And why do the points for short suits keep changing! —P. Dalton Hartford, CT

Dear P.D.: Let’s start with some history about valuing distribution. In the 1940’s, Charles Goren, while promoting Milton Work’s 4-3-2-1 point count system (4 for an Ace, 3 for a King, 2 for a Queen, and 1 for a Jack), introduced the concept of
adding value for short suits. Prior to finding a fit, he suggested the total worth of a hand be the sum of high card points plus short suit values.

[box type=»info» style=»rounded»]Pre-Fit Short Suit Values
Doubleton 1 point
Singleton 2 points
Void 3 points[/box]

Using “Goren” the total value of this hand is 17 points: 14 high-card points plus 3 for the void. What happens to these presumed values if the final contract becomes either spades or no-trump? They vanish! So, some theorists suggested the alternative of valuing long suits: [button link=»http://www.jerryhelms.com/Ask_Jerry_Articles/BetterBridge-Sep04.pdf» size=»small» window=»yes»]Click here[/button] to contiinue reading