Source: Toledo Blade – by Gene Benedict When you have a distributional hand and your partner has supported one of your suits, the Losing Trick Count is the best way to evaluate the trick taking potential of your hand. Count the number of missing aces, longs and queens in each suit to determine the number of losers in your hand. If you have a singleton in a suit, the maximum number of losers you hold is one unless you hold a singleton ace. With a doubleton, the maximum number of losers you can have is two unless you hold the ace-king in that suit. How do you know when to make a game try using the Losing trick Count? Suppose the auction goes:
1Spade Suit Pass 2Spade Suit Pass
a. With a seven-loser hand, pass. b. With a six-loser hand, consider a game try. c. With a five-loser hand, go directly to game and skip the game try. South was the dealer and everyone was vulnerable at matchpoints. Opening lead was the three of clubs. Declarer won the opening lead with the ace of clubs and led a heart to the king. He then led the 10 of spades, which was covered in turn by the jack, queen, and king. West found the best return by shifting to the queen of diamonds, but declarer countered by playing the ace, king and another diamond. West won the jack of diamonds, but he was forced to give South an entry to dummy to lead up to the nine of spades. Bidding and making four was a top board. How do you play the following hand? Even with all four hands exposed, it is not easy to spot the winning play. No one was vulnerable, South was the dealer at imp scoring. Opening lead was the jack of clubs. South won the Queen of clubs at trick one. It appears that South has a trump loser and also either a spade or diamond loser. Can you find a way to make a losing trick evaporate? South played the ace of hearts, and continued with the ace and king of clubs, pitching away the two of diamonds. He followed with the ace and king of diamonds and a third diamond which was ruffed with the 10 of hearts. The long diamond in dummy was now set up. Instead of cashing the king of hearts, South played the nine of hearts! West won the queen, but the seven of hearts in dummy was now an entry to the good diamond. If West would have ducked his queen, he would have lost it.

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