Preempts and Weak Two's in the majors using the Losing Trick Count

 Preempts and Weak Two's in the Majors - using the Losing Trick Count.

                     ( Published Sunshine Bridge News 2016 July/August)

                        By Linda J Green


The losing trick count works well when we have ruffing potential, but when that does not exist, we use a better approach. Calculate partners losers, deduct from 13 , add on your winners. This gives you how many winners you can make in a hand.


Count losers by the number of Aces, Kings and Queens missing in each suit) We only count the number of losers depending on the number of cards you hold in each suit.

A singleton Ace = 0 losers.

AKxx = 1 loser               Jxx = 3 losers

AQxx = 1 loser               Qx = 2 losers

Kxxx = 2 losers                  x = 1 loser

 An unsupported Qxx = 3 losers    QJx = 2 losers    Q10x = 2 ½ losers.


 Using the LTC over  Preempts in a major:


If your long suit is easy to determine, we then count “PLAYING TRICKS”. 13  minus the number of losers.


e.g.   sp3  ht.QJ109654  d 9  cl J987.  With  heart ‘s as the trump suit, we have  the following losers-1sp + 2ht + 1d +3 cl = 7 losers from 13 gives us 6 playing tricks. Open 3ht  and forget about points. When we preempt we learnt about the Rule of  2 + 3 expecting to go down 2 vulnerable and 3 not vulnerable.


If you have a 7 – card major suit with a side 4 –card suit and a 6- loser hand open 4 of the major!


Use the LTC as your guideline as to whether to preempt in 1st and 2nd seat or not? Suit Quality is most important as the suits should have 2 of the top 3 honors. AK  or  KQ or AQ plus length



Using the LTC over Weak Two’s in a major: In 1st or 2nd seat only.

( Weak 2 ¨ openings the LTC does not apply)


When we open a Weak Two in a major  we either have an 8 loser or a  7 loser hand. No more than 8 losers- no less than 7 losers ( too strong)

e.g.  A.sp AQ7653                              B. sp 43                           

            ht 9                                             ht  KQJ843

            d 542                                          ¨d   K75

            cl 865 = 8 losers                          cl 32 = 7 losers

  Responder requires ruffing   potential or  playing  TRICKS.


e.g. sp 982

       ht 653

       d AK76

       cl AK3 .Should opener  open 2 ht  you have 4 playing tricks.


If opener has 8 losers  example A.

Deduct 8 losers from 13 tricks = will give us 5 playing tricks + our 4 tricks = 9   No Game!

If opener has 7 losers  example B.

Deduct 7 losers from 13 = will give us 6 playing tricks + our 4 tricks = 10 Game!


6/4 shapes might have 6 losers and are the same for weak jump overcalls. Too strong!

Therefore ,  my suggestion is as follows:


If you have a feature ( either an outside Ace or King) do not show the opponents what you have , BID GAME!

If you have a singleton in the hand ( you cannot have 2 outside features only one or the other) rather show the singleton, so responder can see if the cards are working tricks.


Self Sufficient Suits

Count the number of cards in your long suit. Add the number of honors in that suit.

The total is the SUIT QUALITY! If the suit is a major, try to insist on it as the trump suit.

If the suit adds up to TEN (10) or more, the suit is self sufficient.

e. g. AKQJ32: length = 6. Honors = 4 –Total 10 (SQ is 10 or more)

e. g.  KQJ1065    or   AQJ7432   or   QJ1098532, and so on.

Therefore, you will have a self sufficient suit.


Count your losers.

Deduct   from 13 to calculate your tricks.

Add on the winners estimated in partner’s hand. The answer is the number of tricks you are likely to make.

e.g.  Opener : sp KQJ8765 ht K3  d 2 cl A76 = 5 losers subtract from 13 playing tricks  gives you 8 playing tricks. When responder bids we  expect 2 playing  tricks = 10 tricks .

Opener                  Responder

1 sp                      1NT

4 sp ( shows a self sufficient suit ) If you have the 18/19 HCP the bid would be 2NT to show strength.

 This formula will also work if you have a trump fit too!