In the initial lessons on Bridge, I taught you about counting points as the method of deciding what to bid and how high to bid.  Now I would like to introduce another method of analysing your hand, the LOSING TRICK COUNT which is comlimentary to that system, rather than an alternative to it.

When you look at your hand and at each suit in turn, count how many cards you have in each suit (but 3 maximum) which is not an Ace, King or Queen.  So if you had a truely wretched flat hand with not a face card or Ace in sight, you would have 12 losers.  You might think you actually had 13, which you probably would, but this system works on 12 being the maximum.  And if your hand was full of all the Aces, King and Queens available in every suit, and obviously 1 other card, you would have no losers at all - and you should certainly win 12 tricks, and could even win all 13 with a bit of luck. Now nearly all  hands will fall between these two extremes.

The references for deciding if you have a good enough hand to bid on using the system, are having no more than 7 losers, and for responding to support your partner, no more than 9 losers.

However, this system was designed to help you decide how high to bid when you have a suit fit, and it does not work very well for No Trump bids.  So I might well open with 1 No Trump (weak - 12-14 points) when I had 8 losers, but I would be rather loathe to do it if I had 9 losers.

So let's see if you understand the concept so far.

50.  In the following hand, how many losing tricks can you count?

Spades            A,K,9,8,4
Hearts             10,5
Diamonds        Q,5,3
Clubs.              K,J,8

a.  6
b.  7
c.  8