The September 2001 issue of The Bridge World contains a letter from Mr. Doug Bennion of Toronto, Canada, that defines a new point-count, which is designated as Little Jack Points (LJP), as Ace = 6, King = 4, Queen = 2 and Jack = 1, which Mr. Doug Bennion's research confirms as being superior to the usual 4-3-2-1 provided an adjustment is made for honor synergy: add for any two of these cards working together in the same suit except a Queen-Jack combination.

Note: The publication is a letter in the September 2001 issue of The Bridge World. It is not a published article. Copies of this letter of Mr. Doug Bennion can be found at this source. (Note: this link is to a source, which will automatically be downloaded to your computer in .doc format. A second reference can be found on the bridgebum.com website in an online article contrasting Honor Count vs. Point Count, authored by Mr. Marvin French of San Diego, California, United States.

Note: This write-up is also only preserved and archived on this site in .pdf file format for future reference.

Copy of the Letter Provided by Mr. Doug Bennion

You may notice that (a) A92 K8 J743 Q653, a seemingly "average" hand, contains 14 LJPs (Note: Little Jack Points). That won't do, for one of the points of using point-count is to have a common unit of measure that partners and opponents can understand. If you are filling out a convention card that has a space for the range of a 1 No Trump response to 1, it is unacceptable to write "11 to 14 LJPs" (the approximate equivalent of the standard "8 to 10" HCPs).

To create the necessary commensurability, we might transform the scales, multiplying all values by 10/14.5 and rounding to the nearest tenth. This yields the point-count: Ace = 4.5, King = 3.1, Queen = 1.7 and Jack = 0.7, all in HCP terms.

However, we can do better still.

1. Double all of Bennion's values, producing Ace = 13, King = 9, Queen = 5, Jack = 2 and whole-point adjustments instead of halves. Now the "average" hand appears to contain 29 of the new points.
2. Notice that (a) is not an "average" hand but a poorer than average hand, and an atypical "10-HCPs" hand at that. The probability that a hand with one Ace, one King, one Queen and one Jack has no synergy points turns out to be exactly the same as the probability that it has two synergy points. Therefore, on the average, synergy adjustments give it 30 of the new points, not 29. A more typical "10-HCP" hand is (b) A92 KJ84 73 Q653.
3. Restate the synergy adjustment as: add 1 point for every picture-card that is accompanied by an Ace or King.

The changes introduced so far yield Double LJPs. However, Bennion did not make some adjustments that I recommend to reflect my judgment, which is very close to the judgment of Edgar Kaplan as implemented in "Four C's" (Bridge World, October 1982). So, to reflect my judgment and Kaplan's more accurately:

* Add for 10s when accompanied by 9s or higher honors: add 1 for one such "companion" in the suit, 2 for two or more companions.
* Subtract 1 for any suit whose lowest card is higher than a 10.
* Subtract 1 for unguarded picture-cards (e.g. K, Qx or Jxx).
* Subtract 2 for a flat hand (4-3-3-3 distribution).
After making these adjustments (or any others you like) …
4. Divide the resulting count by 3 to get the equivalent HCP ("Kleinman Points" or "Your Points" depending on which adjustments you make) using the customary scale. If there is no remainder, you have a "bad" hand for its point-count, e.g. 45/3 = a "bad" 15 HCPs. If the remainder is 1, you have an ordinary hand for its point-count, e.g. 46/3 = an ordinary 15 HCPs. If the remainder is 2, you have a "good" hand for its point-count, e.g. 47/3 = a "good" 15 HCPs. This terminology is consistent with the usage of "good" and "bad" for point-counts that we have seen in The Bridge World for decades (but may soon be changed to "weak" and "strong").

Additional Notes

Mr. Doug Bennion researched only the values of high cards when balanced hand faces balanced hand. So even when contemplating No Trump bids, you should assign more weight to Aces and less to Queens and Jacks to reflect their relative values in the suit contracts you may reach when partner has an unbalanced hand.

In addition Mr. Danny Kleinman improved this method by doubling the values, producing Ace = 13, King = 9, Queen = 5, Jack = 2, with whole point adjustments instead of halves. He also added further adjustments to reflect the value of 10s when accompanied by 9s or higher honors, subtracting two points for a 4-3-3-3 hand, reducing values for singleton honors, and devaluing a hand with an unstopped suit. Note that owing to this addition by Mr. Danny Kleinman the perhaps more official designation is referred to as Kleinman Points. The words little jack refer to the card itself.

Additional Published Information

In his publication titled The No Trump Zone Mr. Danny Klein has provided an outline for valuation of Little Jack Points. The reader / student should have access to this excerpt in order to complete the concept of Mr. Doug Bennion. Following is the excerpted passage:

Kleinman Points or (your name here) Points

The September 2001 Bridge World contains a letter from bridge software developer Doug Bennion of Toronto that suggests a new point-count, Little Jack Points (LJP): as A = 6½ , K = 4½, Q = 2½, and J = 1. Bennion's research confirms this method as being superior to the usual 4-3-2-1 provided an adjustment is made for honor synergy: add ½ for any two of these cards working together in the same suit except a queen-jack combination.

You may notice that

A92   K8   J74   Q653︎

which looks like an average hand, contains 14½ points LJP. That creates a problem, of course, because one of the reasons for using point-count is to have a common unit of measure that partners and opponents can understand. If you're filling out a convention card that has a space for the range of a1NT response 1♣, it is unacceptable to write '11½ to 14½ LJP' (this being the approximate equivalent of the standard 8 to 10 HCP.

To create the necessary commensurability, we might transform the scales, multiplying all values by 10/14.5 and rounding to the nearest tenth. This yields the point-count: ! = 4.3, K = 3.1, Q = 1.7, and J = 0.7, all in HCP terms.

However, we can do better still.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Dup'licate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.

 


     
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