During each day of the NABC (National American) Eddie Kantar, one of the best American bridge writers, analyzes one bridge hand per day, for players who want to improve their bridge. This is the first hand of the first day of the San Francisco NABC 2012:
Opening lead: 4
Bidding commentary: As South, with a doubleton in the opener’s suit, your takeout double followed by a new suit bid shows 17-18 “working” high-card points (don’t count the J). With a singleton in opener’s suit, 16 HCP is enough to
double and then bid a new suit. If your hand is not strong enough to meet these requirements, overcall.
As North, you have enough to boost partner to 3. Your hand has improved on the bidding and partner is sitting over there with some 17-18 points. You are an eyelash away from raising to 4. As East, you are not strong enough to rebid 2 with only five hearts, not to mention a minimum opening, not to mention a silent partner.
Lead commentary: With three low cards in partner’s unsupported suit, lead low. With three low in partner’s supported suit, lead high.
Play commentary: As South, if the defense starts with three rounds of hearts, ruff low. West has shown three hearts by leading low-high. Pay attention to the second card the opening leader plays after having led partner’s unsupported suit.
There’s a world of difference between high-low and low-high.
Play commentary #2. As South, the plan is to ruff two diamonds in dummy with high trumps. After ruffing the third heart, play the A and K and ruff a diamond high. If the queen has not appeared, cross to the A and ruff the J high. You remain with four high trumps and a losing club. Making four.
Defensive commentary: As East, if the Q is led from dummy, cover. If a low club is led, play low.