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Thinking Bridge: SL NABC 9th Day

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 8 of St Louis NABC 2013: Responding to an opening bid. Dummy recognition.


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

J 10 9 8
K 4 3
K J 9 7
7 4


A 7 5
6 2
Q 8 5 3
K J 10 9


6 3
A J 10 9 7
A 4 2
A 8 5

West North East South
Pass 2 The End  

Lead: J

Bidding commentary:

As North, you have a maximum raise to 2. It is not a good idea to start with 1 when holding three hearts and fewer than 10 HCP. If you do, and partner bids 2 or 2, you are not well placed. You aren’t strong enough to jump to 3 (11-12 support points) and if you return to 2, you show a doubleton heart! As East, a nonpassed hand, you are not strong enough to make a takeout double of 2. If you were a passed hand, you might chance it, but the double would be flawed lacking four spades

Defensive commentary:

As East, ask yourself, “How can declarer use this dummy profitably?” There are three possibilities: (1) long-suit establishment, (2) ruffing losers and (3) neither. Dummy is balanced. On this deal, long-suit establishment can be  eliminated. You have the clubs covered and partner appears to have the spades. However, there is a possibility that declarer can ruff a diamond or two in dummy. Your counter move is to shift to a low heart at trick two. As West, if partner switches to a low heart and declarer ducks, win the king and follow partner’s defense by continuing with a heart. When later on lead in diamonds, play a third heart, killing any possible diamond ruff in dummy.

Play commentary:

As South, if the defense plays a heart and a heart at tricks two and three, give up on trying to ruff a diamond. Try to set up
clubs instead. Lead a club to the queen and later play the A and a club, hoping for a 3-3 break. Sorry. Not this time. You gave it your best shot, but you are slated to lose two clubs, two diamonds and a trick in each major for one in the ashcan.


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