Happy Birthday all ye losers!
Today it is our Company Director’s birthday. So for today’s tip we share insight from her unique way of seeing the world of bridge.
She starts to count her losers from the moment she picks up her hand. So that if she ends up as declarer she is ready to plug the gaps with dummy winners. And when defending, she is ready to watch for the signs from the bidding. Or to pick up on the clues from the play to work out how to support partner to defeat contracts.
Let’s refresh what we mean by a loser. A loser is a card that will NOT win a trick. An Ace will win, a King should, and a queen might. All other cards will lose – so count the first three cards of each suit which are NOT an Ace, a King or a Queen.
When paired with your partner’s, your loser becomes a winner if partner has the Ace, King or Queen and vice versa. Remember every time a trick is played (four cards in sequence) all the cards die – so if you can catch the opponents winning cards, your little cards get promoted to become winning cards instead.
In this drill quiz, practice counting losers, and notice how they change, or don’t, when paired with dummy to build a complete hand shape.
Now look at loser count slightly differently.
In this quiz drill below decide if each dummy spading holding will change this two loser holding above into zero losers in spades for your SIDE (assume you have kept sufficient trumps in dummy to trump).
You can create your own drill anytime with playing cards. Simply deal up some different combinations of cards from a pack, give yourself some trumps in dummy as well, and practice playing and notice when playing two cards wins, or loses.
The idea is to match cards declarer for dummy like this:
When you are familiar with how to put your cards with potential dummy holdings, you can start to make better decisions about whether to bid on or not in competitive auctions.
On the above deal, even though West cannot know where partner’s ace, kings and queens lie, but the shape is known from the bidding as: 5 or six spades and 4 or more clubs. West can judge that the spade and clubs losers might well be reduced by partner’s aces and kings in clubs and spades. And so West decides to bid 3 spades to invite game.
Finally, have a look at some of these decisions. Each surely would have been made better had these bidders used this method of trying to match potential losers with dummy’s winners
A calmer more thoughtful auction, play and result was this one.