Thinking Bridge: Atlanta NABC 1st Day

Edwin Kantar
Edwin Kantar

Source: ACBL Bulletins

During each day of the NABC, Eddie Kantar, one of the best American bridge authors, explains one bridge hand, for players who want to improve their bridge.

This is the hand number 1 of  Atlanta 2013


A 7 5
K 7 4
9 8 4
Q 7 4 3

J 10 2
Q 6 5
K Q 10 5
J 9 5


9 3
A 10 9 8
7 6 2
A 8 6 2


K Q 8 6 4
J 3 2
A J 3
K 10

West North East South
Pass 2 The End  

Lead: K

Bidding commentary:

North does best to raise to 2 with a flat 9-count. A raise is more encouraging than a 1NT response. Normally, when a five-card suit is supported, the hand can be upgraded. But when the distribution of the hand is 5-3-3-2, forget it.

Defensive commentary:

When the king is led from the K-Q-(x) and low cards appear in the dummy, third hand signals encouragement with the
jack or ace, but not with a doubleton.

Defensive commentary #2:

On defense, when a balanced dummy appears, think “passive.” Lead safe suits, suits that cannot cost a trick. Side-suit tricks cannot get away. Where are they going?  When there is no long suit in dummy for declarer to establish, defensive tricks will not vanish. Patience. After the K holds, West does best to shift to a low spade, the safest exit. If East has the Q or K, nothing has been lost. It’s okay even if partner has no honor. Any other switch can (and does) cost a trick.

Play commentary:

It is routine to duck the lead of a king holding A-J-x-(x) hoping the suit is continued. This hand is a dogfight to see who can avoid breaking new suits. Declarer has seven top tricks and will probably make eight, but it is not a certainty.