During each day of the NABC (National American) Eddie Kantar, one of the best American bridge writers, analyzes one bridge hand, for players who want to improve their bridge. This is the third days hand of the San Francisco NABC 2012:


6 5 4
8 3 2
K J 10 8 2
8 4

Q J 10 3
J 10 9
6 5 3
5 3 2


K 9 2
Q 5 4
A 9 7
10 9 7 6


A 8 7
A K 7 6
Q 4

Oeste Norte Este Sur
    Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 3NT The End  

Lead: Q

Bidding commentary: A 2 opening followed by 2NT shows 22-24 high-card points and a balanced hand. Transfers and Stayman are “on” when the response is 2. They are not on when opener bids 2NT after a response of a natural 2 or 2.

Defensive commentary: As East, play the 9 at trick one, the equal-honor signal. As West, lead the 3 at trick two after declarer ducks. As East, if the K holds, lead a third spade.

Play commentary: As South, win the third spade and lead the Q, hoping someone takes the trick (dreamer) or ducks a second diamond, in which case you have nine tricks. However, if East wins the second diamond and gets out with a club, cash four clubs and three rounds of hearts, starting with the ace and king.

Defensive commentary# 2: As West, play the 3, count, at trick four. When giving standard count, the play of your lowest card in the suit that has been led shows an odd number of cards. Play high-low to show an even number. As East, play West for three diamonds. West can’t have five diamonds or else declarer is void! Win the second diamond, declarer’s last, cutting declarer off from dummy’s remaining diamonds, and exit with the 10.

Defensive Commentary #3: As West, discard a diamond on the fourth club and play the J under declarer’s A to show partner a sequence. As East, when declarer plays the high heart and partner plays the jack, unblock the Q. If you don’t, you will win the third heart and have to lead a diamond to dummy’s queen. If you unblock, partner wins the third heart and cashes a spade, the setting trick.