Questions and Answers

Question 28

I've been to the 'errors' section at, and make the following observation. The discussion of 'not enough trumps' shows that short trumps can render short suits inutile. The two examples were 3 card trump support with a doubleton (repeated trump leads means no ruffs in dummy) and 3 card trump support with a singleton (repeated trump leads means one ruff only).
   This could be made explicit under the following principle: trumps that are 3+ cards longer than your short suit is a plus factor (i.e., 3 with a void, 4 with a singleton). Trumps that are 2 cards longer than your short suit (i.e., 3 with a singleton and 4 with a doubleton) are expected. Trumps that are 1 card longer than your short suit (i.e., 3 with a doubleton) is a minus factor.

Obviously, I don't have access to the kind of database you have, but intuitively this seems right. The problem is that I always hated counting half-losers when using adjusted forms of the Losing Trick Count, and that's the direction this points to.


Henry Sun
Benicia, CA


Sometimes you need to take lots of ruffs in dummy. Then the number of trumps is important. Other times dummy has a strong side suit, which will provide enough tricks, and your short suits are only stoppers (you intend to draw trumps, then establish and run the long side suit). Then, the number of trumps is not important.
   Most of the time, you don't have that strong suit in dummy, which suggests that this will be an excellent rule of thumb. If you don't want to count fractions, why not add or deduct from you WP. After all, the difference between an SST of, say, 3 and 4, is the same as the difference between, say, 20 and 23 WP, i.e. one trick. So if you feel like adjusting half a trick, you can add or deduct 1 or 2 WP. That will be close to the truth.

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