Some Philosophy of the Work Point Count System

To use my method, you do not have to understand why the Work point count system succeeds; to justify my system, I could give examples and ignore philosophy. But I did gloss over a deep issue. Let me explain the issue this way. Suppose a king is by itself -- you have Kxx opposite xxx. The king is worth half of a trick. Now suppose the king is accompanied by the ace -- you have Kxx opposite Axx, or AKx opposite xxx. Now the king adds a trick to the card combination.

So kings are more likely to take tricks when they are accompanied by the ace. The ace can be in either hand. But if you give 3 points to the king when you also have the ace, why give 3 points to the king when partner might not have the ace? In other words, why are we giving the same points to the sure trick as we do to the possible trick?

The same question can be asked about the queen. Yes, it is nice to have the queen in the same hand as the ace. But the most important thing is that there is an ace in one of the hands -- with the ace, the queen is worth half a trick; with no other honors in either hand, the queen is only 1/4 of a trick (it scores when both the A and K are onside). So when your queen is accompanied by an ace, isn't that very good news? Why does it rate just a half-point increase?

By Yourself

Suppose your partner has no HCP. If you had two aces and two kings, you would want your kings to be accompanied by the aces. For example, if you were defending against 4 spades, you would rather have two AK's than two aces and two unsuported kings. In terms of quick tricks, the two ace-kings are 4 quick tricks; the two aces with two unsupported kings are only 3 quick tricks.

The point is, this principle works very well if partner has no HCP.

The Answer

The answer lies in partner's hand. Suppose you have Kxx, Kxx, Kxx, Kxx. If partner has an ace, it promotes one of your kings. You do not care which ace it is. Now suppose you have Kxx, QJ10, J109, Qxx. Your partner's ace helps out any of these combinations.

So, the answer is this. If you have an ace, it doesn't not matter very much which suit it is in. Yes, it is nice if it is in the same suit as your king, because it promotes your king. But it's nice if it is in the same suit as your queen, and if it is sitting all by itself in a suit, it is probably promoting an honor in partner's hand.

That means that an ace in partner's hand is not as useful if neither you nor your partner has any other honors to be promoted. Indeed, that is what we call aces and spaces -- Axx opposite xxx. However, even for that, the control is very useful. If you have xx Kx in your hand, and your partner has an ace, do you want that ace to be opposite your king? If you have to play both suits yourself, you want the ace opposite the king. If your partner has a source of tricks in a third suit, then you want the controls -- the A opposite your xx.

So, in the worse case, where an ace promotes nothing, it is a valuable control.

My System

What this comes to is that you do not correct for which suit your ace is in. If you could know exactly which high cards your partner had, you could make small adjustments. But you don't know that. None of this changes the fact that within a suit, it is better to have the queen (or jack) with the ace. My system of half-points takes that into account.