Learning to Count by Eddie Kantar
West leads the A (A from A—K—x—(x) at trick one in unsupported suits).
Bidding commentary: West does best to raise to 2 instead of rebid-ding 2 or reversing into spades, which shows 17 or more high-card points. Playing support doubles, West doubles 2 to show three-card heart support and bids 2 to show four-card support.
Defensive commentary: West continues with the K, East discarding the Q (showing the top of a complete sequence), and plays a third diamond, East ruffing dummy’s 10. East exits a heart to South’s ace,
Play commentary: South has lost three tricks, and, even though one heart can be pitched on the Q, there is still a heart loser. Also, there is the little matter of finding the Q. South has three neat clues, however, as to the distribution of the East—West hands:
1. East has shown out on the second diamond, so West started with five diamonds. Show-outs are impor-tant counting tools.
2. East has bid hearts and West has supported. There are seven hearts in the East—West hands; East must have four and West three. Supported suits lend themselves to easy counting.
3. Spades are unbid and the oppo-nents have eight spades. If either had five, the suit would have been bid eons ago. Spades must be 4-4. Unbid majors also lend themselves to an easy count.
Don’t look now, but South has a complete count. Working with West, the player with the known five-card suit, South counts West for five diamonds, four spades, three hearts and one club. If West has one club, East started with four and has three left. South crosses to the K and leads a club to the jack. The A draws the last trump and one heart goes on the Q.
West leads the A.
Bidding commentary: Normal. East does not have enough to bid 3 (even though it makes) and West isn’t strong enough to double again. A second double shows 16-plus HCP, lacking a singleton in the opponents’ suit. With a singleton, a second double can be made with as few as 15 HCP.
Defensive commentary: East starts a high-low in hearts and West cashes a third heart. On the third heart, East discards an encouraging club. If West believes, he shifts to a low club. East wins and returns a club to the king and West’s ensuing club return is ruffed, the setting trick.
Play commentary: If the defense doesn’t find the club ruff, declarer draws trump and concedes two clubs. The discard of an encouraging spot card shows strength in the discarded suit. If there is no possibility that the discard can show strength, (dummy may have all the missing honors), partner assumes a count discard at a suit contract and a suit preference discard at notrump.
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