What are High Card Points?

Last night, I opened 1NT, holding 11 HCPs. I decided to upgrade my hand, as I held a very strong 5-card Diamond suit (A K J 10 x), and all 3 other 10s. I assessed my hand as being 'worth' 12 HCPs.
One of my opponents said that my partner should have announced my HCP range as 11-14, not 12-14. I disagreed, saying that it is perfectly allowable to upgrade (and indeed downgrade) your assessment of the value of your hand. For example, if I had a 4-3-3-3 shape hand with 3 Aces and a King - one honour in each suit, I would open 1NT, downgrading such a hand as being 'worth' only 14 HCPs. I don't believe that the 12-14 HCP announcement should be taken 100% literally.
It could be that my opponent was a little peeved as my opening had prevented them finding their Game contract in Hearts?
Which of us is correct? I have to confess that we are both qualified (albeit just as club-level) directors.
IanC

Comments

  • @IanC said:
    Last night, I opened 1NT, holding 11 HCPs. I decided to upgrade my hand, as I held a very strong 5-card Diamond suit (A K J 10 x), and all 3 other 10s. I assessed my hand as being 'worth' 12 HCPs.
    One of my opponents said that my partner should have announced my HCP range as 11-14, not 12-14. I disagreed, saying that it is perfectly allowable to upgrade (and indeed downgrade) your assessment of the value of your hand.

    I agree with that.

    For example, if I had a 4-3-3-3 shape hand with 3 Aces and a King - one honour in each suit, I would open 1NT, downgrading such a hand as being 'worth' only 14 HCPs. I don't believe that the 12-14 HCP announcement should be taken 100% literally.

    I don't agree with your bridge judgment here! Aces and Kings are good cards - especially if you end up playing in a suit. There are 15-counts I might downgrade, but they would be ones with queens & jacks.

  • @gordonrainsford said:

    I agree with that.

    Please forgive me Gordon for being obtuse, but which statement do you agree with?
    - That my partner should have announced my hand as 11-14, or
    - that it is allowable to upgrade/downgrade (however good/bad your bridge judgement) and still announce 12-14?
    IanC

  • @IanC said:

    @gordonrainsford said:

    I agree with that.

    Please forgive me Gordon for being obtuse, but which statement do you agree with?
    - That my partner should have announced my hand as 11-14, or
    - that it is allowable to upgrade/downgrade (however good/bad your bridge judgement) and still announce 12-14?

    Sorry, I agree with you that upgrading good hands is part of any NT range. Only if you do it more than is justified by the hand should it be described differently.

  • I think it really comes down to how often you upgrade/downgrade hands.
    If the two hands in the original post are the only hands you upgrade or downgrade then announcing 12-14 seems right.
    If however you upgrade all 11 counts with a 5 card suit and downgrade all 4-3-3-3 15 counts then I think you need to amend your announcement.
    No doubt you are in the middle somewhere.

  • What are "high card points" - the Blue Book gives the definition of 4/3/2/1.

    What is announced? The Blue Book says you announce "the range" and (for better or worse) does not mention "points" or "high card points" in the section (BB 4E1).

    I think "12 - 14" includes some 11HCP hands which are as strong as an average 12HCP hand, and excludes some 12HCP hands which are not as strong as an average 12HCP hand; and similarly at the other end of the range.

    But if you think any above average 11HCP is worth 12HCP, then your announcement should mention "eleven".

  • To announce 12-14 when you upgrade more than just rarely will mislead the opponents if there are ( as I believe there are) many who announce 11-14 because they sometimes upgrade. And misleading the opponents is unfair.
  • I remember reading somewhere that announcing '11+(good 11) to 15- (bad 15)' would cover such situations.
    Whether local regulations allow this is another matter.

  • I used to announce "12-14 nominally" but was told it wasn't necessary as everyone upgrades or downgrades their 1NT range.

  • Some people count an ace as 1 1/4 - whilst a jack is only 3/4 so what is normal? common sense dictates here. whatever you do, someone will complain.

  • @patricks said:
    To announce 12-14 when you upgrade more than just rarely will mislead the opponents if there are ( as I believe there are) many who announce 11-14 because they sometimes upgrade. And misleading the opponents is unfair.

    To announce 11-14 when the majority of 11-point hands are not included will mislead the opponents if (and I believe many will) they interpret your announcement to mean what it says. Maybe they will wonder sufficiently to check what you mean with this particular range, but what about 12-15 or 13-16? How are they supposed to have any idea that you are just including one or other extreme because you might be upgrading/downgrading, rather than because it is part of your normal range?

    If a defender goes wrong because he assumes "11-14" includes most 11 counts when it turns out that only a minority of 11-counts are regarded as suitable by his opponents then I think he is just as much a victim of mis-information as if the opposite happens. Maybe we should encourage announcements along the lines of "12-14, plus a number of/the occasional/quite a few (delete as applicable) 11-counts".

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