A Bridge Phantasmagoria
THE LOSING TRICK COUNT
The hand below came up for discussion at the conclusion of the weekly tournament, and McTavish was holding court.
“According to the Losing Trick Count, which we used in the old days, if you add together the losers in each hand and subtract the total from 18, the answer tells you the maximum level you can reach.
South has 5 losers and North has 8 and deducting 13 from 18 you know that the five level (i.e. 11 tricks) is your limit. I sat East and the result proved the efficacy of the count.”
Game all: South deals.
McTavish continued. “My partner got off to the lead of the king of hearts and continued with the ace which South ruffed. With only eleven tricks in view, he took two top trumps and judged that his only hope was that the opponent with the three trumps also had four clubs. If that were so he could get rid of two diamonds and a diamond ruff would see him home. Alas, West ruffed and although dummy overruffed, there was no escape from a diamond loser and eleven tricks it was.”
Perhaps I should have learned my lesson from previous experiences, but I had to jump in. “Hold it, I would have made 12 tricks. When the trumps broke 3-2, I would have ruffed two more hearts in hand, using the top diamonds for entry. I get to dummy with the king of clubs to play the jack of spades to draw West’s last trump and to discard my losing diamond - a simple dummy reversal. So much for your Losing Count,” I said deliberately omitting the word “Trick.”
Grinning like a Cheshire cat, McTavish replied “I thought you were good enough to fall for it. You see, the L.T.C. was right, but it was West who was wrong. Personally, I would have believed the Four Heart cue bid from South and switched at trick two. South no longer has the entries to ruff three hearts in hand and get back to dummy to draw the outstanding trump.”
“Why can’t I keep my big mouth shut?”