HOW TO COUNT WINNERS AND LOSERS

Some people recommend coutning winners in No Trump and Losers in a suit contract BUT this is WRONG

You should do both in all contracts

WINNERS

When the dummy goes down we must count winners to ascertain how many more tricks we need to find

WINNERS ARE DEFINITE TRICKS without any qualification

If we look at the following card combinations we can see how the winners works :-

AQ3         opposite K54                     is 3 winners

AQ3        opposite K542    is still only 3 winners

KQJ109   opposite 876                    is no winners YET  (even if its trumps)

AKQ765  opposite 8432                    is  6 winners (even if suit breaks 30)

AKQ765   opposite 843                      is 3 winners (suit might break 40)

(One counts winners to see how much work there is to be done)

LOSERS

The people who only count  losers in a Suit Contract, which is incorrect, will not be able to determine who to keep off lead in a No Trump contract- that why you should also count losers.

With  losers one can be "optimistic".

No suit can have more than 3 losers as we now assume that suits will break!!

If a suit has less cards then it has less winners since we can trump in immediately when we run out of a suit.

These holdings in the NON TRUMP suits demonstrate how we count losers :-

KQJ10  opposite 543    is 1 loser

A2         opposite 543     is 1 loser

432        opposite  65      is 2 losers

A32        opposite  5        is 0 losers

KQ         opposite  5       is  1 loser

(One counts losers to see how to play the hand carefully and how to work out if some of the losers can be dumped on winners in other suits, also counting losers sometimes pinpoints a weakness  that might not easily have been spotted when counting the winners in the first place!!)

Now let us see how all this relates to the following hand : -

South gets to  4ª after a transfer sequence and West leads the Q

North

ª KQJ43

West               ¨ KQJ10            East

ª 87                § 765               ª A65

¨ A82               South             ¨ 764

§ QJ102         ª 1092             § K84

¨ 953

§ A93

Counting our winners initially we have :-

1 Club and 3 Hearts ONLY

We therefore need 6 more , which will eventually come from the trumps and Diamonds.

Counting losers initially we have  1Spade, 1 Diamond and 2 Clubs.

We therefore have to avoid the club losers which need to be dumped on the 3 winning Hearts.

What pitfall could occur here?

If we had counted all our spades as winners initially we would draw trumps. The opponents get in and quickly cash 2 club winners. Now that we have counted correctly, we know as we do not have control of the trump suit, that  we need to dump the club losers immediately before touching trumps. This hand is fairly easy BUT  the problems that might occur are highlighted by counting the winners and losers correctly.

Play off three rounds of Hearts dumping the Clubs and now 11 tricks should be  easy peasy !!