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Goren

Charles Goren was a famous bridge player, writer and popularizer. In the course of his writing he made extensive use of the Work Point Count System developed by Milton Work[?]. Previously, bridge players assessed their hands by counting 'quick tricks'. The high card point count system was a large step forward in bridge theory because it was easy to apply. Aces were assigned a value of four points; kings, three; queens, two and jacks, one point. A hand containing thirteen points was considered to be an opening bid.

Of course, hand distribution can add a great deal to a hand's value and so various systems to assess that have been applied over the years. Voids become very useful when there is trump agreement and so a void in the responding hand was counted as five points and a singleton as three.

Another feature of the Goren system was opening four card suits. An approach known as 'five card majors' has become very popular as a major feature of Standard American bidding. As the name suggests a bidder using that system promises five cards in the suit by bidding one Heart or one Spade.

There is much merit in Goren's four card opening approach, though, and many experts still use it. Any method that uncovers a four-four trump fit is very useful. 'Five card major' bidders sometimes use negative doubles to find four-four trump fits. The advantage of 'Five card majors' is when the opponents bid. Following the 'Law of Total Tricks' is a lot easier in a 'Five card majors' system.

Bridge is an evolving game and many styles and new approaches have been developed over the years. Few people would say that they play 'Goren' now. That takes nothing away from the great skill and competitive spirit that made Charles Goren one of the foremost bridge players of his day.



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