Hand evaluation in bridge using the location of honour cards
Where you points are is just as important as how many you have. Improving your hand evaluation skills will help you make better bridge bidding decisions.
There's more to hand evaluation than counting up your points and adding something for length or shortage.
Honours working together
I have a challenge for you? I'm going to show you three hands. They've all got 10 points, all the same shape. You've got to tell me which one is the best one.
On this first hand North opens 1♣, South bids 1♥, West overcalls 2♦ and North raises to 2♥.
How good is this hand? And in particular, look at the diamond suit.
On this second hand East overcalls 1♦ instead of West.
Did the hand get better or worse?
On the third hand again East overcalls 1♦ instead of West but we've got no points in diamonds.
This time I've turned the ♦K into the ♠K and the ♦Q became ♣Q. Still 10 points, still the same shape, still North opens 1♣, South bids 1♥ and North bids 2♥ hearts.
Which of the three hands above do you like best?
Well, we can go some way to solving this by looking at this example.
How good is that hand? How many tricks are we going to make? We're going to make the ♠A. Doesn't matter what the contract is or the auction, that ♠A looks like a trick. ♥K, maybe. But the ♦Q and ♣J are going to need some help to make tricks.
Let's take the same 10 points and put them all together in the same suit.
Now all of a sudden we seem to have four tricks. Ace, King, Queen, Jack. Those honour cards working together mean that the ♠J is just as good as the ♠A. So honors working together is a good thing.
Have a look at the first hand again this time showing the North hand.
The ♦K and ♦Q diamonds are not well placed because West has bid diamonds after us. West probably has the ♦A. So as soon as we play the ♦K West is going to play the ace. We'll make 2♥, maybe 3♥ but that's all.
The second hand looks a lot better because East has probably got the ♦A.
Now our ♦K and ♦Q are sitting after the ♦A so we're probably going to get two diamond tricks. Still, a partscore seems high enough.
The third hand has no honours in diamonds but the honours we do have are working together.
4♥ makes easily! Honours working together is a good thing.