Questions and Answers

Question 12

I very much enjoyed reading I Fought The Law. The Law definitely has its shortcomings, as you show here.

The only problem I find with your method is estimating your WP, but it may be nice that judgment is still needed. I myself have for many years counted losers, which has worked well for me. I use a simplified version of the Losing Trick Count. I make no corrections for a suit like Qxx, but I remember it as a minus (like when you estimate the WP count).
   I have made a comparison between your method and mine with the aid of some examples from the book:

Page WP/SST LTC Best method
1631110WP/SST ?
171910WP/SST ?
17299LTC ?
178-177LTC ?
19198WP/SST ?

According to this, WP/SST was superior only once (example page 183).
   After having read your book, I often think of your method when I play bidge. But I still think counting losers is quicker and simpler, so I will continue doing so. Maybe you need to write a new book to question (kill) my way of reasoning.

Ola Mattsson


Thank you for sharing your work with us.
   As we said in our reply to question 8d, we think The Losing Trick Count is an excellent method, but it has its downsides. Take, for instance, the deal on page 164. Yes, Blackwood allows you to stop in a small slam, but the LTC estimation is too high. Move one of North's clubs to hearts, and it is spot on. Move another club to hearts and it predicts too low. So blindly trusting the LTC equation can be dangerous.
   If you analyze these deals with all cards on view, WP+SST will predict accurately 100% of the time, which LTC does not. Therefore, it seems like you try to compare how the two methods would have fared at the table. That is more difficult to judge, of course. And we are not sure we accept all your conclusions. For instance: if we were South on 178-1, we would expect 8 tricks, but as North we would expect 7 tricks. Somebody using LTC would come to the same conclusion. And on 178-2 you say 'none', when WP+SST predicts correctly, which LTC does not. Using our method, on 178-1 neither player would bid 3S, while on 178-2 North would bid 3S. What will LTC do? That is not clear to us.
   If you feel more comfortable with LTC, we suggest you continue using it – as long as you remember that it isn't perfect.

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