Terry H asked: When assessing your hand to open, you need 12+ opening points to open one of a suit, provided you have 5 or more cards in a major suit, or less for minors. Opening points are a combination of HCPs and length points. Length points are one point for a 5 card suit, two points for a 6 card suit etc. Then, when you find a fit with partner you can include shortage points (1 for a doubleton, 3 for a singleton and 5 for a void).
This raises 4 questions on points:
1. Do you drop the length points when you find a fit with partner and only use HCPs and shortage points from then on?
2. To reach game in a major, you need 25 total points. Total points are the combination of HCPs and shortage points. Does it also include length points from your opening hand?
3. To open 1NT, you need 15-17 points and a balanced hand. A balanced hand is one of the three combination 4432, 5332, and 4333. However two of these three combinations include a doubleton. A doubleton allows one shortage point. So to reach your 15 points to open 1NT, can you include the shortage point with your HCPs?
4. To reach game in NT you also need 25 points with your partner. Are these 25 points all HCPs? Or can they include shortage points from opener, and, shortage and length points from responder?
PG answered: High card points, length points and shortage points are all guides to help you evaluate the strength of your hand to take tricks. There are other guides as well that some players use. Some people tend to be point focused and tend to explicitly add points for length and shortages to their say 14 HCP hands and others prefer to simply regard their hands as strong or weak 14 HCP hands.
To answer your specific questions, it seems to me to be inconsistent to add both length and shortage points. With a trump fit and enough trumps for ruffing I tend to upvalue my hand for any shortages but would not also add length points.
I would not count shortage points in a 1NT opening or in a decision about whether to bid higher in a NT contract. But some shortages are safer than others, so having Kx in a suit is much better than 9x in a doubleton if considering say bidding and then being declarer in 3NT. I personally don't explicitly add length points in evaluating whether to open 1NT, but I think it affects my judgement.
Let me know if you think I have not answered any of your questions.