Questions and Answers


Question 5

I very much enjoyed the book. And I also agree with the concept. I think it was important to first systematically demolish the LAW, so the reader could accept a new concept. I think it was necessary to show the strengths and weaknesses of both systems, so no one comes away thinking it's a hatchet job on the LAW. I have begun using your system, and its quite easy. (I posted a brief overview on BBO [Bridge Base Online], and have already dueled with an advocate of the LAW.)
   The one part of the book that might have been made a little clearer, is the part where extra WP are awarded for a long side suit (3 per extra card), and 2 for the Jack. While the concept is not difficult to understand, there are some contradictory examples (I think) in your book. On the one hand the QJ may be wasted if our side has 10 cards, headed by the AK. But having a long side suit (perhaps AKxxxx opposite xxxx) should be valued at 13? 4+3+6 (3 points per extra card beyond 4). I think on one page you mention the QJ as being wasted, but on another award extra points.
   What I've already been thinking about is bidding conventions that would replace Bergen raises and instead show shape or some other useful attribute. I'd very much like to see articles on new conventions.

Brandon Einhorn


Answer

To be fair and objective is important. That is also why we started this site, where we hope we can explain some of the finer points, present new ideas, correct errors, expand the discussion, etc.
   In our answer to Question 2, we gave one example of replacing a trump-counting convention with one stressing the SST instead. There we suggested that in a sequence like 1C – (pass) – 1S – (2D), opener's double and 2S could be used not to distinguish between three and four trumps but to show whether opener is strong or weak. According to this New Law Double, opener's double shows either a weak minimum hand (an SST of 6) or a hand with an SST of at most 4 (responder assumes the weaker type, so opener will take another bid with the strong hand type), while 2S shows a good minimum (an SST of 5).
   We are sure we will see more ideas eventually, and we might even write a follow-up book with conventions that can be used together with WP and SST.

We're sorry if we haven't been clear enough on the concept of Working Points. We will explain it more carefully on this site, so hopefully everything will be clear in the end. In the example where you had ten trumps headed by ace-king, the queen and the jack aren't needed most of the time. That is true. But you still have 10 WP in the suit. What we meant to say was that if you have ten or more trumps, the queen and the jack aren't needed to bring in the suit – it would have been better for your side if they had been in a side-suit instead. But we didn't mean you should downgrade those honors to 0 WP.
   When you have a side-suit of ace-king sixth opposite four small, which breaks 2-1, and the suit gives you two useful discards, the suit is worth 16 WP. First, the 2-1 break means you have the equivalent of 10 HCP in the suit, and then each discard is worth 3 WP.

S A K Q 3 2 Table S J 9 4
H 9 H 7
D A 3 2 D 8 7 5
C 10 5 3 2 C A K 9 8 5 4

If you count HCP, you might wonder why these 21 HCP produce twelve tricks in a spade (or club) contract. But with our concept, everything is easy to explain. To begin with, EW's SST is 4, no matter if they play in spades or clubs. If clubs break 2-1, EW have 24 WP without discards, but since they can win the opening diamond lead with the ace, draw trumps and discard two losers on dummy's long suit, we add 6 WP for those two discards. The resulting 30 WP in combination with an SST of 4 says "12 tricks", and that is precisely what it is.
   So the correct description of the deal is that with 30 WP and an SST of 4, East-West took the expected twelve tricks. Since it didn't matter if they used their eight spades or their ten clubs as trumps, the deal is also another illustration to the fact that the number of trumps and the number of tricks are not connected.
   Now assume clubs are 3-0 and spades still are trumps. On the same diamond lead you win the ace, draw trumps and play on clubs. The bad split means that when you give up a club, the defenders cash out. This time you only take nine tricks. And once again that can be explained in terms of WP. Now you don't "own" the queen-jack, so you only have 7 WP in clubs; and since you can't use the two long cards for discards either, the fifth and sixth clubs aren't worth anything. In that scenario you are back to 21 WP and an SST of 4, which is the same as nine tricks.


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