BBO Discussion Forums: Who uses Losing Trick Count? - BBO Discussion Forums

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Who uses Losing Trick Count?

#21nullve

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Posted 2022-June-22, 04:02

Btw, it's easy to create a pair of hands where some version of LTC looks dumber than Goren points.

Two examples:

1)

Qxx Qxx Qxx Qxxx (8 losers, 7 Goren points*)
AJT AJT AJT AJT9 (8 losers, 20 Goren points*)

2)

Qxxxxx Qxxxx x x (6 losers, 7 Goren points*)
AJT9xx AJT9x K K (6 losers, 18 Goren points*)

* using the (Goren point) algorithm in Jens Boeck, Moderne bridge, 1980

Can anyone come up with a pair of hands where Goren points look dumber than some version of LTC?

This post has been edited by nullve: 2022-June-22, 04:18

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#22Douglas43

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Posted 2022-June-22, 08:48

In response to the request for a pair of hands which LTC handles better than Goren

1. AJT9xx AJT9x K K (6 losers, 18 Goren points*)

2. AJT9xxx AJT9xx - - (4 losers, 16 Goren points )

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#23mw64ahw

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Posted 2022-June-22, 09:18

nullve, on 2022-June-22, 04:02, said:

Btw, it's easy to create a pair of hands where some version of LTC looks dumber than Goren points.

Two examples:

1)

Qxx Qxx Qxx Qxxx (8 losers, 7 Goren points*)
AJT AJT AJT AJT9 (8 losers, 20 Goren points*)

2)

Qxxxxx Qxxxx x x (6 losers, 7 Goren points*)
AJT9xx AJT9x K K (6 losers, 18 Goren points*)

* using the (Goren point) algorithm in Jens Boeck, Moderne bridge, 1980

Can anyone come up with a pair of hands where Goren points look dumber than some version of LTC?

Using a MLTC rather than LTC gets you to
1) 10 vs 5
2) 8 vs 5.5
so makes more sense
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#24mycroft

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Posted 2022-June-22, 09:20

"Single mode of evaluation" is bad.

Mollo mocks it with the Walrus; it is screamingly clear that pure and only LTC is also (usually) awful.

That's why nobody past novice does that.

We just assume this when having Walrus count conversations.

Why does nobody allow this for LTC, but just say that "KQxxxx xxxx xx x and AJ9xxx AT9 A98 Q are considered the same, and that's stupid"? Of course it's stupid. That's why nobody past low intermediates and LTC zealots (but I repeat myself) does that.

As I have said repeatedly - including here - LTC is a great "substitute for judgement" *on top of* HCP. It's a great way of explaining your judgement to those who don't have it yet - MikeH's "a 6-loser 18 count is very strongly on the weak side of 18s, I would downgrade out of GF" - makes sense to people in one sentence that wouldn't understand the 3 paragraphs of *actual judgement* Mike actually does. I think - but have not tried - LTC + cover cards could play well; "an Ace is equal to a Queen" is fine if partner's cards are therefore more likely to be Aces than Queens because you have them. After all, that's what we do with control cue bids (for AK) and spiral scan (for AKQ). I'm at the point where my judgement is good enough for me that relearning how to think isn't worth it, but I think a good, solid, detailed version of this (likely with some sort of spiral scan) would work at least as well as HCP + adjustments.

But no single mode of evaluation will be better than good judgement. It's just that all the people here have judgement for HCP "automatically", and laugh at LTC without judgement applied (partly because it's easy, partly because they don't "automatically" have the LTC-based judgement to apply).
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#25Flem72

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Posted 2022-June-23, 07:12

I use R of 22 and R of 21+ when I have spades, LTC might be a tie breaker. A few of my partners use LTC. It is amusing to me when they pass R of 22 hands and I open hands that don't pass LTC muster but are R of 21+ or 22. NO accountin' for personal taste, I says.
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#26pigpenz

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Posted 2022-June-27, 10:29

I have played LTC back in 70's....it works ok, but as you gain experience you begin to see its flaws....
to Losing Trick Count its sort of a corollary to THE LAW.
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#27AL78

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Posted 2022-July-04, 14:47

I occasionally use it as an additional tool alongside other methods/judgement.
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#28pescetom

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Posted 2022-July-04, 15:29

AL78, on 2022-July-04, 14:47, said:

I occasionally use it as an additional tool alongside other methods/judgement.

I use it mainly to figure out what the rest of my club will decide
But I agree with mycroft that all tools have some value and none can supplant overall judgement.
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#29bluenikki

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Posted 2022-July-04, 19:37

pescetom, on 2022-July-04, 15:29, said:

I use it mainly to figure out what the rest of my club will decide
But I agree with mycroft that all tools have some value and none can supplant overall judgement.

A defense:

Losers-covers tells you to respond 1NT with 4333 including AQx in partner's 5-card suit. No matter how much your partnership claims *not* to be playing sound single raises, your partner will always always subconsciously play you for more offense than this if you raise directly. Whether it is phrased in terms of covering losers or not.

Likewise, straining not to open 8-loser hands works. Subtracting a point for 4333 does almost as well.
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#30thepossum

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Posted 2022-July-05, 18:00

pescetom, on 2022-July-04, 15:29, said:

I use it mainly to figure out what the rest of my club will decide

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#31EarlPurple

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Posted 2022-July-11, 11:06

I'm the one who, sometime around 1994-95, wrote an article on Losing Trick Count which was published somewhere on the internet. I may still have it.

It was intended mostly for beginners+ and intermediates, those who continually miss game contracts or don't compete enough with big trump fits. And there are many who over-compete of course.
After giving what I called the "raw" losing trick count, I put in various adjustments, which end up almost as sixths of a trick, and said it should be used as guidance, together with the law of total tricks and point count, and that establishing how side-suits fit with partner is an important part in decision making too.

When you open 1 of a minor and partner bids 1 of a major for which you have 4 card support, how far do you raise? And if partner opens one of a minor, you bid one of a major and partner raises to 3 of your major invitational, do you bid game or not?
You can't keep a good man down
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#32thepossum

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Posted 2022-July-12, 04:16

I keep analysing my hands and without being able to prove it the number of times using HCPS against the judgement of losers in our hands has proved unwise.
It could just be confirmation bias but I had a beautiful example just the other day. Considered passing 2S, made the mistake of inviting and ended up one down
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#33mw64ahw

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Posted 2022-July-12, 07:21

thepossum, on 2022-July-12, 04:16, said:

I keep analysing my hands and without being able to prove it the number of times using HCPS against the judgement of losers in our hands has proved unwise.
It could just be confirmation bias but I had a beautiful example just the other day. Considered passing 2S, made the mistake of inviting and ended up one down

Sounds like you need to modify
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#34helene_t

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Posted 2022-July-12, 10:49

I presented some analysis of hand evaluation for suit contracts in this thread: https://www.bridgeba...s-investigated/

The analysis shows that if you are in a 4-4 fit, an ace is worth almost twice as much as a singleton. Compare this to unmodified LTC (where a singleton is worth twice as much as an ace) and modified LTC (where a singleton is worth 4/3 of an ace).

It gets a bit less severe when you are in 9-card fit, but even then, LTC overvalues shortness.

Modified LTC does get the relative value of the honours about right, although the queen of trump is worth more than the queen of a long side suit, and mLTC does not allow for that.

If you modified LTC a bit further by counting a doubleton as 2 1/2 loser, a singleton as 2 losers and a void as 1 1/2 loser, or some such, you would get a decent, albeit still crude, evaluation system.
pretty good defense against a grand with no overtricks given away. --- johnu
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#35thepossum

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Posted 2022-July-12, 18:31

mw64ahw, on 2022-July-12, 07:21, said:

Sounds like you need to modify

I need to go with my instincts and not overthink and overanalyse things - this hand has too many losers but enough HCPs. I know I will go with the HCPS
-it could possibly work if partner does not always accept invites
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#36P_Marlowe

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Posted 2022-July-19, 13:09

HCP is pretty good at evaluating balanced hands, Helene did some analysis,
coming up with better numbers for AKQJ, but the numbers were 4 digit long,
and the improvements was existing but ... not really worth it (5%?), in short the
old fashioned 1-2-3-4 count was already pretty accurate.

LTC was developed to evaluate unbalanced hands, assuming a reasonable trump fit
exists. If you use the LTC for bal. hand, ... suprise / suprise, the usefulness goes
down, it may not even exist.
What works is using Cover Cards (estimating / determining) for the bal. hand,
LTC (estimating / determining) for the unbalanced hand.

Reasonable Trump Fit: 5-4, 4-4 ( with minimal caution )
A bit more caution is needed, with a 5-3, and you should not really do it with 6-2.

The main point I want to make: If you use a tool, try to understand, for which situation the
tool got developed, and for which it was not.
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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