Source: A Book on Hand Evaluation Presents Many Useful Ideas By Alan Truscott Evaluation is a subject usually confined to a few early pages of an elementary textbook. It has a dreary aspect, and the author and the reader proceed thankfully to more exciting topics. Evaluation as viewed by an expert, however, can have almost limitless horizons. Mike Lawrence of Berkeley, Calif., a former world team champion, has explored the subject in depth, beginning with evaluations of common holdings and continuing to the special problems that arise in a variety of common bidding situations. Almost all readers will learn useful concepts from Lawrence’s ”The Complete Book on Hand Evaluation”. Many will learn from the very first chapter. Few below the expert level appreciate that three cards is the worst length if the opponents have bid a suit once, but a doubleton is worst if the suit is raised. Both Sides Vulnerable, South Dealer
K 10 7 K 7 6 3 2 A K 10 8 5
J 5 3 Q 9 8 A Q Q J 7 6 2 2 J 10 5 4 K J 9 8 7 5 4 3
A Q 9 8 6 4 A 2 10 6 3 9 4
Close Room:
West North East South
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 4 Dbl 4
Pass 4NT (RB) Pass 5
Pass 6 All Pass
RB= Regular Blackwood West led the spade three. The diagramed example, from the book, shows how North-South can uncover a perfect fit, providing a sound slam with 23 high-card points in the combined hands. North’s second- round jump to four diamonds is a ”splinter,” showing a spade fit, slam interest and at most one diamond. South’s hand is favorable in the light of this information, and he cue-bids the heart ace. Against six spades, a diamond lead would make South’s task easy. But West rightly leads a trump and leads another trump when the declarer concedes a diamond trick. South tests clubs, hoping for a normal split, and has another string to his bow when the split proves to be abnormal. After ruffing a diamond, he returns to his hand and plays all his trumps. At the finish West must keep a club winner and East a diamond winner, so the heart seven in dummy scores the final trick.