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On counting tricks.

A central tenet in teaching beginners how to play out a hand, and I'm sure every one of you who teaches, taught, took, or even listened in on a beginner's class, will remember this, is to count your winners in no-trump contracts and your losers in trump contracts.

As far as I can tell, this has gone virtually unchallenged since Culbertson's days.

When you play, do you approach hands in this fashion?

Or do you identify winners and potential winners first, then worry about losers?

Or is this a silly question to pose to expert players who don't think in black and white. Each hand is unique and you probably couldn't put into words ALL that's going on in your head. 

When I started teaching, I posed this issue of winners and losers to my then bridge partner, not so much in the context of teaching, but just as a kind of general approach. He looked at me like I was asking a stupid question. "Bridge is tricks, period, end of discussion." 

I've been teaching play of the hand, at every level, that way since. Doesn't matter the strain. "If you need ten tricks, before you touch a card, identify what ten tricks you'll be trying to make. When you have a satisfactory plan for that, then deal with the losers". 

Since, I believe I'm almost alone in this approach, I'd like to have you weigh in.

Count winners in no-trump contracts, losers in trump contracts?

Or count winners in both, then account for losers in both?

Or are there third or fourth choices?

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