Questions and Answers


Question 21

I hurried to begin reading your book but, up to my knowledge, I'm wondering how do your guidances apply when you can see only your own hand and only have an idea of that of your partner.
   Rule of counting SST doesn't appear to me very clearly stated: having no certainty if the short suites of our partnership are those where I've myself shortness (he may have length facing my shortnesses), how have I to count SST looking to my sole hand?
   As to WP, it's not either easy to know precisely how will honors' concordance between the two hands work?

Yves le Bretton, France


Answer

If you look a deal with all four hands on view, it's easy to figure out each side's WP and SST. But, as you correctly say, it's more difficult at the table. You can't always know which honors are working nor your exact SST.
   What the WP + SST formula can do is help you looking at the important items, so that you are in a better position to judge what your side can make.
   Here is one example: You open with 1S, West overcalls 3C, and your partner raises to 3S. If you consider raising to 4S with 5-3-3-2 distribution including ace-king in both majors, you can expect your WP to be 14 (it doesn't have to; if partner has a singleton heart, and the HK doesn't provide a useful discard, you only have 11 WP). Thus, you know that if your partner has no distributional feature for you (i.e. three or more cards in both red suits and at least two clubs), he needs 11 WP for your side to have the potential for ten tricks. But if he has a useful doubleton, 8 WP will be enough.
   Sometimes you know a bit about partner's distribution, sometimes you don't. In the latter case we recommend a slightly optimistic estimation. Suppose you know that your partner has a balanced hand with five hearts, and you have the distribution 4-4-2-3, you know that it is possible that your SST is 5 only if partner has a doubleton diamond. If his doubleton is in any of the other suits, your SST will be 4. Unless the auction has made it likely that you have matching doubletons (e.g. when the opponents bid and jump raise diamonds), we suggest you expect an SST of 4 and proceed on that basis.


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