~Counting Points

Counting the Points in a Bridge Hand

Count the High Card Points–the aces (4 each), kings (3 each), queens (2
each), and jacks (1 each). To that add one point for the 5th or longer card in any suit. Do not count points for short suits until a suit fit has been found with partner.

Always open a hand with 13 HCP.

You have the option of opening hands with less than 13 HCP which meet the requirements of the Rule of Twenty. The Rule of Twenty says to add the HCP in the hand to the number of cards in the two longest suits. If the total meets or exceeds 20, you may wish to open the hand. Some professionals require that the hand with less than 13 HCP also have at least two quick tricks. An ace is one quick trick; an unsupported K counts as ½ quick trick. An ace & king in the same suit usually counts as two quick tricks. Those professionals who require two quick tricks to open amend the Rule of Twenty to 20/22–the hand must meet both criteria the Rule of Twenty and two quick tricks. You might want to apply the Rule of 22 when you are vulnerable.

Do these hands qualify as one-level “openers?”
A. S AQ     H JT76     D KQ32     C J72
B. S AT983     H Q5     A7654     C 4
C. S AJ6     H AJ87     D KQJ8     C 32

Answers:
A. Open 1D. This hand contains 13 HCP but has no 5-card major suit. Open in your longest minor. With two 3-card minors, open 1C, but with two 4-card minors, open 1D.
B. Open 1S. The hand contains 10 HCP, two 5-card suits, and two quick tricks. Under the Rule of 20/22, open the 5-card major.
C. Open 1NT. The hand contains 15-17 HCP, no void or singleton, and no 5-card major suit. Do not worry about the weak 2-card club suit–that’s what partner’s are for!

For practice, count the HCP in this hand:
S QJ7
H AQ65
D AJ743
C 2
Did you get 3 HCP in spades, 6 HCP in hearts, 5 HCP in diamonds, and 0 HCP in clubs for a total of 14 HCP? If you were given the chance to do so, you would start the bidding with 1D. If your partner bid 1H (showing 4+ hearts), you would have found an 8-card fit in a major suit, and would raise to 2H (or 3H Adding 3 points for the club singleton now that you have found a trump fit)., This raises you point total to 16. An aggressive bidder might jump to 3H with this hand.

 

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