Week 0171 : 2nd October 2023



Points based on distribution that you add to the High Card Points value of a hand to more accurately estimate its playing strength. A number of methods are in use, some based on shortages, others on length. For example:

The standard Goren Count (or 3-2-1 count) adds three points for a void, two for a singleton and one for a doubleton. When the partnership has a good fit, Goren recommends adding five points for a void, three fora singleton and one for a doubleton.

The Karpin Count adds points not for shortages, but for extra length in the bid suit, one extra point for each card over four in the longest suit; so a five-card suit gains one point, a six-card suit gains two extra points, etc. Opener uses the Karpin count in evaluating his hand. In responding, with primary trump support, the 5-3- 1 count is more accurate while the 3-2-1 count is more accurate with only secondary support.

While the shortage and length points’ methods produce similar results, it is a good idea to make the following adjustments:

With a singleton king, queen or jack, deduct one point. With five trumps in the responding hand, add one point.

With this hand, it would be usual to count three points for the singleton heart if partner bids one of the black suits because then you have primary trump support.

If partner bids diamonds, the singleton is worth only two points. If partner bids hearts or no-trumps, the singleton is not worth any distributional points.

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