A Short Allegory of Opening Hand Evaluation

In the beginning, the powers-that-be determined that an opening hand should have the expectation of taking 5 tricks. Thus began, primitive opening hand evaluation.

Later with the discovery of Milton Work Points, the magical number of 13 was found to represent this trick taking expectation.

When the first atheist dared to create a system from the ground up, rather than accept the dogmatic design of the day, he created a system where his angels could open with a trick less than mortal men. A queen less to be exact, thus 2/3 of trick less, to be most accurate. That created the 11 High Card Point (Work renamed) threshold.

Modern scientists realize that 11 was fine, but 10 HCP was easier and more effective. Of course, it had to be a good 10 HCP. Indeed, it had to be the best 10 HCP at the table. This represented a hand that expected to take 4 tricks, one more than its fair share. The math became so much easier. Hallelujah!

Modern Precision is Born

What the wise men of modern time realized was this created an unholy and contrary arrangement between opener and responder. Where standard openers open with 5 tricks, and responder invites with 4 tricks, playing modern precision, opener opens with 4 tricks and responder invites with 5 tricks!

LAW BREAKERS! The masses screamed. “I refuse to acknowledge this witchcraft!” “Get thee behind me Satan!” Just as they did when it was revealed it was more efficient to open 5-card majors (Certainly, if at any given moment, we can expect our partner to have at least 3-cards in any suit, the odds greatly favor quickly finding 8-card fits when we open 5-card suits*).

Even long in tooth precisionist refuse this new paradigm.

Thus, history repeats itself.

*This is not to say that opening 4-card majors don’t have tactical promise, they are, let’s say, best reserved for those who fearlessly dabble in the dark arts.