Eddie 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  Phoenix 2013

Dealer North Vul N-S


A J 10 8 7 5
A 4
7 6 4
A 4

6 3
9 8 7 5
K 9 2
J 9 8 3


K Q 9 2
10 6
A Q J 10 3
10 2


K Q J 3 2
8 5
K Q 7 6 5

West North East South
  1 2 2
3 Pass Pass 4
Pass 4 The End  

Lead: 2

East plays the A, Q and then the J. You ruff the third diamond low, West following with the 9 and the king. You are playing in a team game. Plan the play from here.


West must have raised on his good looks. In any case you have to bring in the clubs and still keep control of the hand. Best is to play a club to the ace and another to your king, then ruff a low club with dummy’s A.

Next, return to your hand with a trump to the king and cash the other two high hearts. If hearts divide 3-3, you have the rest. If hearts are 4-2, play winning clubs and the most you can lose is two diamonds and heart. Yes, if clubs are 3-3 and
hearts 4-2, you lose an overtrick, but this is IMPs and making the contract is far more important than risking your contract for an overtrick. If you draw four rounds of trump before touching clubs, in effect playing the hand at notrump, down you go.

The bottom line

Ruffing a loser high when dummy has honor doubleton in trump is a good way of unblocking the trump suit, not to mention avoiding a possible overruff. North’s pass to 3 shows a minimum opening and denies three-card heart support.