Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Brian Callaghan
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I agree with Louis Dekker and others on there being a host of features, not incorporated into the Work count, which a hand can have which increase or decrease its real value relative to its count, and that some of these mean that hand should be bid as if it were a Work point higher or lower.

But I think Thomas Andrews gets at a fundamental point of trying to use ‘best’ values (not Work values) for the court cards and maybe some lower ones too. Then when you look at a hand you don't have to think it has a lot of Aces and 10s which are undervalued by the Work count, or a lot of Queens which are overvalued. You no longer have to adjust for that inaccuracy, and can concentrate on other stuff like distribution and having honours in long suits rather than short ones.
Nov. 29, 2015
Brian Callaghan edited this comment Nov. 29, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
To my mind talk of upgrading 14 Work count hands is to look at the situation from the wrong perspective. The reality of a hand is the number of tricks it is worth. The trick estimate given by a point count, any point count, is the shadow on the cave wall, not the reality. Not knowing precisely what a hand is really worth does not stop it having that real value. Say you hold a 14 Work point hand whose trick equivalent is 14.5 Real points. By 14.5 Real points I mean halfway in value between 14.0 Reals (an average 14 Work count hand) and 15.0 Reals (an average 15 Work count hand). You have to decide whether to open it 1NT or not. If you think that what the 15-17 stated on your convention card means is 14.5 to 17.5, then it is (just) a 1NT opening. You haven't upgraded the hand by opening it 1NT; it is the Work count that gave a low estimate of the number of tricks it was worth.

You can, of course, stick to a very literal interpretation of 15-17. But then you would probably be opening 1NT on some hands of fewer than 14.0 or greater than 18.0. I expect most experienced players would feel instinctively that the extremes were not appropriate for a 1NT opening. But the problem exists for hands of 0.5 above and below the range (or at any rate something that adds to 1.0 depending on where you draw the line).

I think there is a distinction between those who say they open good 14 Work counts because that reflects the reality of the hand having the trick-taking strength belonging the 15-17 range, and those who wish to widen the range by decreasing its lower boundary.
Nov. 29, 2015
Brian Callaghan edited this comment Nov. 29, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
On the point about fractions on convention cards. I do have convention cards (EBU, WBF and ABF ones, but not ACBL ones as I'm not often in the US) with explicit fractional points on them for my notrump ranges. I use an adjusted point count influenced by Thomas Andrews' work mentioned upthread. A=4 and one third, K=2 and five sixths, Q=1 and two thirds, J=five sixths, 10=one third. It adds up to a 40 point deck to make it easier for Work point users to understand. I try to do part of my disclosure duty by putting ‘non-Work count’ and the valuation used in big red print on the front of the convention card. In third and fourth seat I play a 1NT opening as 14 through 16 and five sixths (about 0.5 points weaker than what I think a traditional ‘15 to 17’ means). In first and second seat I play weak - 11 through 13 and five sixths.

This is no doubt a lot more disclosure than those who just say a ‘good 14’ provide, but actually weakening the whole range by half a Work point makes it more important to explain to the opponents what is going on.
Nov. 28, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
My notion of what constitutes a good 14 is simply a hand that is worth at least 14.5 Work points. Of course, the problem is deciding when a hand does so.

I would argue something like this:

1/. Any hand (that might open 1NT) is objectively worth a definite number of tricks (I don't mean a whole number).

(By objective I mean something like assuming the aim is 3NT, no extra information from the bidding, and double-dummy play opposite all possible layouts. Something that is theoretically calculable.)

2/. The Work count and other counts are an attempt to estimate the number of tricks a hand has in a way that is quick and easy for humans.

3/. Since players are used to evaluating in Works, define an average 14 Work point potential 1NT opener as 14.0. (Individual 14 Work point hands might actually be worth less than 13.0 or more than 15.0.)

4/. So a 14.5 count would be half way in trick-taking strength between a 14.0 count and a 15.0 count.

It would be possible to divide the 14 to 15 range at other than the half way point, but I think that when players announce 15 to 17 as their 1NT opening strength, the intent is that 16.0 is the middle of the range. So 15 to 17 really means 14.5 to 17.5.

The Work count isn't necessarily the most accurate way to estimate trick-taking strength. Some think the Four Aces 3, 2, 1, half count was better.

As a rough estimate, valuing down to 10s I would put your example 14 Work count hand at worth around 15.0.

And as an aside, I think that various NBOs having regulations about what strength hands may be opened expressed in the Work count as dubious (The Work count being used as a kind of successful Indiana Pi).

I look forward to plenty of disagreement.









Nov. 26, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I confess it was I who held this hand at the table. It did cross my mind to open 2 instead of 2NT, but I thought I was approximately 10 too weak. In an agreementless (probably not a real word) auction I bid 4, intended as a natural(ish) trial bid with heart support. In the absence of conventional agreements I think that is how strong hands should be bid (not a cue bid) in this kind of auction. Possibly a Candide-like optimism on my part. I knew I would be wrongsiding 4, but that did not look too serious on this particular hand.
Nov. 20, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Sept. 20, 2015
Brian Callaghan edited this comment Sept. 20, 2015
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
In my irregular partnerships I play 4-way transfers and use Stayman as the response on balancedish game-invitational hands without a major. And I agree that using Stayman this way is a really poor idea. Puppet Stayman is much better because opener usually bids 2 and does not gratuitously reveal a 4-card major.

But I don't do that in my serious partnerships. I don't play any kind of Stayman at all, which I concede is way off the mainstream. But it does completely remove the drawback of using Stayman with majorless game-invitational hands. I don't specifically look for 5-card majors in opener's hand either. Instead I use a completely transfer-based method in which responder gets to show suits first.

I do use a 2 response to show either a notrump game invitation without a major or a club suit (weak or strong). Although 2 is usually referred to as a range-ask, it may just be regarded as potentially showing the notrump game invitation as one alternative, which leaves only one sensible way of arranging opener's 2NT and 3 rebids.

In my method, when responder has clubs, he either has a one-suiter or a 4-4-4-1 three-suiter. Responder's suit rebids are

3/pass = weak with clubs
3 = 1=4=4=4 or 4=4=1=4 game values or better (with the rounded suits and leaving room for an ask below 3NT)
3 = 5 or more and at least game values, leaving room for opener to show a 3-card club fit with 3 and still being able to stop in 3NT.
3 = 3=3=3=4 at least slam-invitational values (this is a one-suiter).
Sept. 20, 2015
Brian Callaghan edited this comment Sept. 20, 2015
.

Bottom Home Top