Thinking Bridge: Phoenix NABC 5th Day


Source: NABC Phoenix ACBL Bulletins


10 9 8
7 6 3
K J 9
K Q 10 9

J 7 2
A K J 4
7 6 5
J 5 4


4 3
Q 9 2
A Q 10 2
8 7 6 3


A K Q 6 5
10 8 5
8 4 3
A 2

West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1
Pass 2 All Pass  




Opening lead: A

Neither East nor West has enough to stick their nose into the auction at this vulnerability… or any vulnerability for that matter. When partner leads the ace from ace-king, the vast majority of the time third hand gives attitude. Count and suit preference signals are possible, but exceptional.

Normally, third hand encourages with a doubleton or the queen. However, if third hand badly wants a switch to another suit more than a continuation, third hand makes a discouraging signal. It only hurts for a little while and it happens to be one of the big secrets to accurate attitude signaling.

Assuming East has made a quarter turn of her neck to the right, she will notice that she is sitting over dummy’s K J 9 with the A Q 10 2, making a diamond shift more than desirable. Accordingly, South discourages at trick one. And how will North know what switch South has in mind?

West will also make a quarter turn of the neck, this time to the left, and figure out that diamonds, not clubs, is the suit partner must want and switches to a diamond. East wins and returns a heart, West cashes a second and third heart and leads a second diamond. East cashes a second and third diamond and leads a fourth diamond,  promoting West’s J for the defenders’ seventh trick! Down two! Beautiful.