#jsDisabledContent { display:none; } My Account | Register | Help

# Zar Points

Article Id: WHEBN0003237545
Reproduction Date:

 Title: Zar Points Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia Language: English Subject: Collection: Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia Publication Date:

### Zar Points

Zar Points (ZP) is a statistically derived method for evaluating contract bridge hands developed by Zar Petkov. The statistical research Petkov conducted in the areas of hand evaluation and bidding is useful to bridge players, regardless of their bidding or hand evaluation system. The research showed that the Milton Work point count method, even when adjusted for distribution, is not sufficiently accurate in evaluating all hands. As a result, players often make incorrect or sub-optimal bids. Zar Points are designed to take many additional factors into consideration by assigning points to each factor based on statistical weight. While most of these factors are already implicitly taken into account by experienced players, Zar Points provides a quantitative method that allows them to be incorporated into bidding.

## Contents

• Zar Points 1
• Zar high card points 1.1
• Zar distribution points 1.2
• Trump fit re-evaluation 1.3.1
• Bidding levels and Zar Point requirements 2
• Zar Points conversion 3
• New bidding systems 4
• Opening bids 4.1
• Responding to opening bids 4.2
• References 5

## Zar Points

Zar Points (ZP) are based on high card points, distributional points and adjustments for suit fits.

### Zar high card points

Zar high card points (ZHP) are the sum of the traditional Milton Work or Charles Goren 4-3-2-1 scale and control values for the ace and king.

4-3-2-1
value
Control
value
ZHP
Ace 4 2 6
King 3 1 4
Queen 2 2
Jack 1 1

### Zar distribution points

Zar distribution points are the sum of the lengths of the two longest suits plus the difference between the longest suit and the shortest suit.

#### Trump fit re-evaluation

With an 8-card trump fit, add points for:

• Extra trump support with a void: for each trump over 8 when the shortest suit is a void, add 2.
• Extra trump support with a singleton: for each trump over 8 when the shortest suit is a singleton, add 1.
• For a secondary 9-card fit, add 1.
• For a secondary 10-card fit, add 2.

For bidding systems that allow one partner to know the shape of the other's hand, an additional misfit adjustment exists. To calculate the misfit modifier, find the difference in length between spade suits in each hand. Perform a similar calculation for the other three suits and sum the differences. Call this number M4.

When the partners do not have an 8-card trump fit, the misfit modifier subtracts from the total ZP. When the partners have a trump fit longer than eight, the misfit modifier adds in place of the trump-support modifier if it is larger.

The misfit modifier (M4) can be estimated if one partner knows the difference in lengths between the two most different suits (M2). This works because M2 is almost always approximately 75 percent of M4, meaning that M4 can be estimated by increasing M2 by 1/3. Keep in mind that this estimate will slightly under-value the hand in the case of "freak" distribution (where M4 is greater than 14) because M2 is only 60 percent of M4 for such wild distribution. Fortunately this only occurs 0.8 percent of the time.

To improve the accuracy of the point count, standard "judgment" adjustments can be used, such as:

• Concentration: with 15+ HCP add 1 point if all of the HCP are concentrated in three suits; with 11-14 HCP add 1 point if all of the HCP are concentrated in two suits.
• Short honors: subtract one point for short suit honors like KQ or QJ
• Finesse: subtract or add a point for honors in opponents suits depending on whether they are on or off side
• Unguarded Honors: discount honors in short suits bid by opponents
• Support: add one point for each honor in partner's suit (up to two)

Zar Points are designed with rubbers scoring in mind. When playing for matchpoints, it is desirable to bid any game or small slam that has a 50 percent chance of making. In order to do this, slight adjustments to the ZP required per level need to be made. The result is that intermediate values are slightly off from the 5 point scale suggested above.

• 44 ZP — 8 tricks
• 48 ZP — 9 tricks
• 52 ZP — 10 tricks
• 56 ZP — 11 tricks
• 61 ZP — 12 tricks
• 67 ZP — 13 tricks

When playing using IMPs, a game should be bid with a 38 percent chance when vulnerable, but only bid a 46 percent game when not vulnerable. This adjustment shifts the ZP required for game and slam one point down when vulnerable or not vulnerable.

## Bidding levels and Zar Point requirements

Once adjustments have been made, an opening hand requires 26 ZP and a responding hand needs 16 ZP; a major suit game requires 52 ZP, a small slam requires 62 ZP and a grand slam requires 67.

Bidding levels are five points apart yielding:

Two level – 42 i.e. 26 + 16
Three level – 47
Four level – 52
Five level – 57
Six level – 62
Seven level – 67

This scale does not need to be memorized. In order to arrive at the expected number of tricks, one need only subtract 2 ZPs and divide by 5. For example, with 52 ZPs, subtracting 2 gives 50, and dividing 50 by 5 gives 10 – the number of tricks expected to be taken.

Some players use ZP for suit bidding only. Others use them for bidding no-trump as well. Zar recommends the following scheme. Notice that not having an 8 card fit increases the ZP required for a given level by 5.

• Grand slam
• 67+ ZP with fit or
• 72+ ZP without fit
• First round control in all suits
• Small slam
• 62+ ZP with fit or
• 67+ ZP without fit
• First round control of at least three suits
• Second round control for the suit with no first round control
• No trump game
• All suits stopped
• 52+ ZP and any 5-3 fit or 4-4 minor fit
• 57+ ZP without fit
• Major suit game
• 52+ ZP and major suit fit
• Minor suit game
• 57+ ZP and minor suit fit
• Does not meet No Trump requirements
• Not more than two quick tricks in any suit

## Zar Points conversion

The simplest way to use Zar Points (in respect of opening hands) is to divide everything by two and open, as Charles Goren taught, with 13 points. Thus we effectively use the same high card point scale devised by the Four Aces in the 1930s with A=3, K=2, Q=1, J=½. We then add the length of the longest suit and finally, we add half the difference in the length of the second and fourth longest suits.

The foregoing normalizes Zar Points to numbers more commonly used in Standard American bidding. Alternatively, see the section below: Obtaining the conversion.

In order to get the HCP equivalent discussed above, Zar points need to be scaled. To scale the values of the honors from a 13 points scale to a 10 point scale, the ZP are multiplied by 10/13 and rounded to the nearest half. This results in slightly under valuing Aces and Jacks, but is much more accurate than the traditional count.

To scale the shape points to the traditional scale, we can subtract 8 (to set the lowest value at 0) and divide by two (to scale the highest value correctly). Algebraically, if 'a' is the length of the longest suit, 'b' the second longest, and 'd' the shortest:

\frac{(a+b) + (a-d) - 8}{2} = (a-4) + 0.5(b-d)

## New bidding systems

Petkov has proposed a core bidding method, similar to the Precision Club derivatives Symmetric Relay and MOSCITO, that makes extensive use of limit bids, relays, and the shape defining properties of Zar Points to rapidly describe a hand. Below is a summary of the basics, omitting some of the finer points and the research details supporting the decisions. To make this a full system, a partnership would need to agree on what conventions to use. Most of the ideas from other systems can carry over. Partnerships interested in using this system should familiarize themselves with the reasons behind this basic bidding pattern before selecting specific conventions.

### Opening bids

Opening bids are divided into three intervals: just enough to open (26-30 Zars), one extra bidding level (31-35 Zars), and two or more extra bidding levels (36+ Zars). Because distribution can dramatically affect the playability of a hand, each of these Zar Points ranges can cover a wide number of traditional high card points. The opening level could represent between 3 and 19 HCP. The middle level could represent between 7 and 22 HCP. The maximum level could represent between 11 and 30 HCP. These ranges are inclusive. These three ranges are statistically derived: 60 percent of opening hands will fall in the lowest range, 30 percent will fall in the middle range, and 10 percent will fall in the top range.

• 1: 36+ Zars, Any Distribution, or 31-35 balanced
• 1: 31-35 Zars, Any Distribution, or 26-30 with 6-card minor
• 1: 26-30 Zars, 4+ cards in H, may have 4 cards in S
• 1: 26-30 Zars, 4+ cards in S, may have 4 cards in H (and 5 in S)
• 1NT: 26-30 Zars, No 6-card suit, no 4-card major, no 5-5 minors
• 2: 26-30 Zars, 6H or 6H and 5 in another suit
• 2: 26-30 Zars, 6S or 6S and 5 in another suit
• 2: 26-30 Zars, 5-card H suit and 6 cards in a minor
• 2: 26-30 Zars, 5-card S suit and 6 cards in a minor
• 2NT: 26-30 Zars, At least 5-5 in minors
• 3: 26-30 Zars, 7-card Club suit
• 3: 26-30 Zars, 7-card Diamond suit
• 3: 26-30 Zars, 7-card Heart suit
• 3: 26-30 Zars, 7-card Spade suit
• 3NT+: 8+ card suits

### Responding to opening bids

Because of the very descriptive nature of each of the opening bids, the responder is in control of the bidding unless the opener bid 1. Also, the responder will be able after the re-bid by the opener to estimate the misfit modifier, allowing an accurate determination of where to play the hand.

• Responses to 1 or 1
• 1 response to 1 is round forcing and asking to the opener to better describe his hand. It shows 4+ spades. If opener rebids the heart suit, he has exactly 5 hearts.
• 1NT is "to play", it discourages game and denies 4 spades if in response to 1.
• 2 is artificial and forcing; shows prospects for game; denies 4 spades if in response to 1.
• Direct raise of the suit is preemptive and sign-off.
• All other bids are "natural" and to play.
• Responses to 1NT
• 2 is a game-forcing relay asking for distribution
• 2 rebid is 4333 distribution (so 18-22 HCP + Controls). Oriented towards 3NT
• 2 rebid is 4432 with 3 cards in hearts (implying 2 cards in spades and a 4-4 minors).
• 2 rebid is 4432 with 3 cards in spades (implying 2 cards in hearts and a 4-4 minors).
• 2NT is distribution with 5 clubs and no singleton
• 3 is distribution with 5 diamonds and no singleton
• 3 is 5431 with 3 hearts (implying 1 spade)
• 3 is 5431 with 3 spade (implying 1 heart)
• 2 is a transfer to 2; Afterward:
• a rebid of 2NT is invitational to 3NT or 4H with 5+ hearts
• a rebid of 2 is invitational to 3NT and shows no relevance to either major
• 2 is a transfer to 2; a 2NT rebid is invitational with 5+ spades
• 2 is a transfer to 2NT or 3; 2NT by opener shows interest in game in clubs
• 2NT is a transfer to 3 or 3; 3 by opener shows interest in game in diamonds
• All level three responses are game forcing and show a 4441 distribution with a singleton in the bid suit
• Respond to 2 with 2 (a relay)
• Rebid of 2 specifies uni-suit (6 hearts)
• Rebid of 2 specifies 5 card spade side-suit
• Rebid of 3 specifies a 5 card club side-suit
• Rebid of 3 specifies a 5 card diamond side-suit
• Respond to 2 with 2 (a relay)
• Rebid of 2 specifies a uni-suit (6 spades)
• Rebid of 2NT specifies 5 card heart side-suit
• Rebid of 3 specifies a 5 card club side-suit
• Rebid of 3 specifies a 5 card diamond side-suit
• Other responses above 1NT
• 2NT asks for side top honor
• New suit is round forcing oriented toward fit and then side top honor
• Other bids are "to play" unless partnership has agreed otherwise
• Responses to 1
• 1 is negative (less than 16), any distribution
• 1 is positive (16+), at least four cards in hearts
• 1 is positive (16+), at least four cards in spades
• 1NT 16-20, balanced hand, etc.
• Other bids are similar to Precision Club or related systems of the partnership's choosing
• Responses to 1
• 1 forcing, natural asks opener to show his hand, any new suit on the next round is forcing
• 1 forcing, natural asks opener to show his hand, any new suit on the next round is forcing
• 1NT negative, responder is ready to pass next bid of opener
• 2 artificial, forcing, 21+, game prospects, no 4 card major, will support a major bid with 3 cards on next round
• Other responses are up to the partnership

## References

• Petkov, Zar (2003). Zar Points – Aggressive Bidding Hand Evaluation. p. 38. Link
• Petkov, Zar (2005). Zar Points – Aggressive Bidding Backbone. p. 165. Archive link
• Les Principes ZAR (in French)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.

Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.