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Weak Two Openings and Losing Trick Count

#1 User is offline   prando 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 10:16

We (me and “she who must be obeyed”) play primarily social bridge (rubber and Chicago). We use the LTC and are comfortable with it. Whilst we have been playing for several years, we would consider our standard to be somewhere between beginner-intermediate.

We are currently ‘studying’ the weak two openings (2D 2H 2S) and can see, and like, the advantages of using same.

Is it viable to use the LTC alongside this opening ?

I am thinking that if responder (to a weak two opening) has at least 2 cards in the opening suit, we have a fit. Dare responder count losers and respond accordingly ? It is assumed that the weak two opener will have 8 losers.

I hope that makes sense !
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#2 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 11:29

Losing Trick Count makes sense when you have a fit. So does make sense when responding.
For other choices it can be a tool or a guideline but shouldn't make any decisions solely on loser count.

Because weak 2's can be shapely a weak 2 can have a lot less than 8 losers.
Also a bad one can easily have 9 losers.
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#3 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 11:41

The simple answer to this is 'yes'. As you have an eight card fit so you can use the Losing Trick Count to evaluate hands. The strange thing is that I am actually reading an article today by Andrew Robson (in English Bridge Magazine) about countering interference by the opponents over weak two bids with a two card fit and he uses The Law of Total Tricks for this example. (Andrew wrote a very informative book about the LTC about 10 years ago.)

However, the Losing Trick Count is a very accurate tool in evaluating hands. You are right to put the number of losers at eight for an opening weak two generally, though there are times when the suit quality and distribution will change that number given how flexible pre-empts are these days. But maybe you wish to stick with pre-emptive weak twos that have at least two of the top three honours or AJ10/QJ10 heading the suit. That may suit your style, although it is commonplace for today's players to bid a weak two with a lot less.

And welcome to the forum :)
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#4 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 12:01

View Postprando, on 2018-November-14, 10:16, said:

We (me and “she who must be obeyed”) play primarily social bridge (rubber and Chicago). We use the LTC and are comfortable with it. Whilst we have been playing for several years, we would consider our standard to be somewhere between beginner-intermediate.

We are currently ‘studying’ the weak two openings (2D 2H 2S) and can see, and like, the advantages of using same.

Is it viable to use the LTC alongside this opening ?

I am thinking that if responder (to a weak two opening) has at least 2 cards in the opening suit, we have a fit. Dare responder count losers and respond accordingly ? It is assumed that the weak two opener will have 8 losers.

I hope that makes sense !


I wrote an article that was published in Bridge World magazine back in the mid-nineties that addressed this very thing. My argument was that the most likely game or slam contract after a weak 2-bid was in the opened major. I used a step-response system to show loser counts - if I remember it started with 9.

You might want to see if you can find it. "A Losing Trick Count for Weak Two Bids" by Winston Munn.
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#5 User is offline   prando 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 13:23

Thanks all. I will search your the book / magazine Winston.
Am I being presumptive to ask whether you have an electronic copy of your article ? ( happy to give you my email )
I’m in the UK
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#6 User is offline   billyjef 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 13:33

For social bridge purposes and without getting into all the math and science, which I had started to do until I realized it was way beyond the scope of your query and this forum, an effective LTC matrix based on the assumptions that the opponents are likely to have game would be:

Favorable vulnerability, 8LTC for a weak 2 bid.
Equal vulnerability, 7LTC
Unfavorable, 6LTC

Again, this is based on the assumption the opponents can find a game. If they don't have a game, then the above will allow responder to figure out constructively where the partnership belongs.

Direct raises to 3x by responder is furthering the preempt. At favorable vulnerability she can have as much as 10LTC and still further preempt to 3. Equal, 9LTC, unfavorable, 8LTC.

Direct raise to 4x is anyone's guess, could be furthering the preempt or could be to make.

If responder is interested in slam, or some other strain, anything else bid by her, that isn't equal to game, would be forcing.

Just remember LTC isn't absolute, like HCP it can only evaluate probability of trick taking strength.
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#7 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-November-14, 14:44

View Postprando, on 2018-November-14, 13:23, said:

Thanks all. I will search your the book / magazine Winston.
Am I being presumptive to ask whether you have an electronic copy of your article ? ( happy to give you my email )
I’m in the UK


No, I'm sorry. I think Bridge World has a searchable archive, though. It is Bridge World magazine, published in New York City.

I researched it and it was in the August, 2006 issue.
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#8 User is offline   prando 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 00:50

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-November-14, 14:44, said:

No, I'm sorry. I think Bridge World has a searchable archive, though. It is Bridge World magazine, published in New York City.

I researched it and it was in the August, 2006 issue.

Thanks again. I also have located the relevant website.

Billyjef...thanks also for the matrix
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#9 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 04:53

I find LoTT also useful when deciding what to bid responding to a weak 2, so with 3 card support bid 3 and with 4 cards bid 4. If you have a strong hand then bid 2N to discover whether partner has a good or bad weak 2.
I think the given matrix is a bit conservative, a 6 loser hand can always be opened at the one level.

So I would go: Weak Strong
Favourable 9/10 8
Even 9 8
Unfavourable 8 7

At Even or Favourable open a 7 loser hand at 1 level

Given that you play rubber or Chicago, you should consider what the implications are of part scores
a simple example if you are +70 then a two level opening in a major is STRONG looking for slam while a one bid may well be weak looking to sneak that 30 points and partner will pass hands that would normally bid.

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#10 User is offline   billyjef 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 08:37

View Postnekthen, on 2018-November-15, 04:53, said:

I find LoTT also useful when deciding what to bid responding to a weak 2, so with 3 card support bid 3 and with 4 cards bid 4. If you have a strong hand then bid 2N to discover whether partner has a good or bad weak 2.
I think the given matrix is a bit conservative, a 6 loser hand can always be opened at the one level.

So I would go: Weak Strong
Favourable 9/10 8
Even 9 8
Unfavourable 8 7

At Even or Favourable open a 7 loser hand at 1 level

Given that you play rubber or Chicago, you should consider what the implications are of part scores
a simple example if you are +70 then a two level opening in a major is STRONG looking for slam while a one bid may well be weak looking to sneak that 30 points and partner will pass hands that would normally bid.

Part of the joy of rubber that has been lost to duplicate players!



I will defer to you as I rarely play rubber, I wasn't aware of the tactic you suggest and I can't argue with it. Quite the contrary. But such tactics change everything. The OP and his pd will have to decide though whether:

AKQxxx x xx xxxx 6LTC 1S vs 2S?
AKxxxx x xx xxxx 7LTC, 1S or 2S?
I have no problem with 1S if pd is in on the suggested tactic and house rules are accepting.

To help beginners and novices understand though I think further explanation what makes a hand preemptive as opposed to an opening hand would be helpful.

The theory of preemptive hands are that they are hands that often have the offensive strength (which is what LTC measures) of opening hands but lack the defensive and flexibility of standard expectations...i.e. they are good to play only in the suit they are aiming at and offer little prospects to not only play anywhere else but little or no help if the side ends up on defense. This is what allows them to preempt the auction with some safety and providing useful information to partner.

I like the Law of Total Tricks as well but it is less accurate and less constructive than other forms of evaluation. One can have the best of both worlds when the partnership knows together when they are making preemptive bids and/or constructive bids. Knowing what bids forward going and which ones are simply obstructive is key.
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#11 User is offline   aawk 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 08:47

Using the LTC for weak openings bid is ok I recommend you hold 8 LTC or better.

Partner can raise to 3 level with 7 LTC and 4 level with 6 LTC or better.

If you hold a strong hand (16+ HCP with or without a fit if range of 2 6-10 HCP) you start with 2nt asking a description of the weak hand and you have to agree what the responses are (could be showing shortness or showing values).

2 - 2nt (forcing at least ?? HCP depending on the range of the weak bid)
?

3 = maximum HCP 0-1 card (or values if agreed on)
3 = maximum HCP 0-1 card (or values if agreed on)
3 = minimum HCP
3 = maximum HCP 0-1 card (or values if agreed on)
3nt = maximum HCP no short suit (or values if agreed on)
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#12 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 09:11

View Postbillyjef, on 2018-November-15, 08:37, said:


AKQxxx x xx xxxx 6LTC 1S vs 2S?
AKxxxx x xx xxxx 7LTC, 1S or 2S?
I have no problem with 1S if pd is in on the suggested tactic and house rules are accepting.

I like the Law of Total Tricks as well but it is less accurate and less constructive than other forms of evaluation. One can have the best of both worlds when the partnership knows together when they are making preemptive bids and/or constructive bids. Knowing what bids forward going and which ones are simply obstructive is key.


a) I adjust for this distribution. So firstly if xxxx is hearts d not open a weak two except in 3rd seat. Second, ruffing values are not worth so much when you are playing in your 6 carder, so maybe I am cheating but I think of a) and b) as weak 2s and both 7 LTC

b) The point of "The Law" is that you bid immediately to a level that gives your opponents the tough decision. Unlike LTC it is not saying that if we have 10 trumps we can make a 4 level contract. It is saying that opps probably have a 10 card fit somewhere and if we can't make our game, they can probably make theirs
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#13 User is offline   dsLawsd 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 15:21

While I do not use the LTC directly, it does work.
For rubber or Chicago I suggest you find the original work by
Howard Schenken that describes weak two bids as duel edged swords that can help your constructive efforts by thinking about the play will go at your target contract. It also keeps the players out of speculative overcalls to help for part scores.
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#14 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2018-November-15, 16:00

The way LTC is often taught to beginners is that Qxx is two losers and Axx is also two losers. This is terrible.

But as a responder you can think of it this way: opener has 7 cards outside the trump suit. He may have a useful card somewhere so let's give him 6 1/2 losers outside the trump suit. The trump suit itself typically has 1 or 2 losers. So let's give him about 8 losers in total.

This means you need to be able to cover 5 of them to make game. An ace covers a little more than one loser. A king covers about 3/4 of a loser. A singleton covers 1 or 1 1/2 loser, assuming that you have at least three trumps.
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#15 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-November-16, 05:20

View Postprando, on 2018-November-14, 10:16, said:

Is it viable to use the LTC alongside this opening ?

I am thinking that if responder (to a weak two opening) has at least 2 cards in the opening suit, we have a fit. Dare responder count losers and respond accordingly ? It is assumed that the weak two opener will have 8 losers.


Yes, you can use the Losing Trick Count (LTC) after a Weak 2 Opening. Klinger devotes a chapter in The Modern Losing Trick Count to this subject. The Klinger book is not perfect, but is easily readable and a good introduction to the LTC.

I wouldn't use the LTC to determine whether or not to open a weak 2 (or a one-level opening for that matter) - better to look at point count, position at the table and suit quality and length. But having found a fit, responder can reasonably use the LTC. Klinger recommends that opener will usually have seven or eight losers (based on a 6-10 HCP range for the 2M opening).

I would caution that the LTC is a useful tool in hand valuation, but better players would only use the LTC as one tool in valuing the hand. Also think about High Card Points; Shape (length, shortages); suit quality; intermediates; are the honours and intermediates working well (in combination with other honours and in long suits)? How is the hand fitting with partner? Considering the bidding and re-evaluating the hand at each bid is very important. Brian Senior (Hand Evaluation in Bridge) gives a pretty comprehensive treatment - I recently re-read my copy.
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#16 User is offline   prando 

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Posted 2018-November-16, 13:12

View PostTramticket, on 2018-November-16, 05:20, said:

Yes, you can use the Losing Trick Count (LTC) after a Weak 2 Opening. Klinger devotes a chapter in The Modern Losing Trick Count to this subject. The Klinger book is not perfect, but is easily readable and a good introduction to the LTC.

I wouldn't use the LTC to determine whether or not to open a weak 2 (or a one-level opening for that matter) - better to look at point count, position at the table and suit quality and length. But having found a fit, responder can reasonably use the LTC. Klinger recommends that opener will usually have seven or eight losers (based on a 6-10 HCP range for the 2M opening).

I would caution that the LTC is a useful tool in hand valuation, but better players would only use the LTC as one tool in valuing the hand. Also think about High Card Points; Shape (length, shortages); suit quality; intermediates; are the honours and intermediates working well (in combination with other honours and in long suits)? How is the hand fitting with partner? Considering the bidding and re-evaluating the hand at each bid is very important. Brian Senior (Hand Evaluation in Bridge) gives a pretty comprehensive treatment - I recently re-read my copy.


Thanks TT. Believe it or not...I actually have Rod Klingers book ! We bought it years ago (recommenced by our tutor). Just dug it out and indeed chapter 7 “Weak Twos & Other Pre-Empts”
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