Both vulnerable. South deals.


xK 3

uA K Q J

vK Q J

w10 8 6 3


x2 xJ 5

u10 5 4 3 u9 8 7 6

v10 9 7 6 5 vA 8 4 2

wA 4 2 wK J 9


xA Q 10 9 8 7 6 4



wQ 7 5

The bidding:


4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Ten of v

Here’s another deal from Eddie Kantar’s award-winning series for players eager to improve their game.

An opening bid of four of a major with a strong eight-card suit and fewer than 10 high-card points is more or less automatic. Pre-emptive opening bids in first or second seat are supposed to be weak bids and seldom, if ever have two aces. In third seat, facing a passed partner, all bets are off. The pre-emptor might have almost anything, particularly at favorable vulnerability. A wise partner seldom messes with a third-seat pre-empt. Fourth-seat pre-empts, however, are a horse of a different color. These pre-empts show good hands, more often than not with opening bid strength. After all, fourth hand can pass with garbage. In any case, North should have no qualms about passing four spades because at least two aces figure to be missing.

After winning the ace of diamonds, it should be clear to East that a club shift is necessary. Besides, East can be near certain that West has the ace of clubs, assuming that South has a normal first-seat pre-empt.

Actually, the idea is not whether to shift to a club — that’s a given. The question is which club? We are back to our old friend the surrounding play. When 10 x (x) (x) is in dummy and the player on lead has K J 9 x or A J 9 x, the proper card to lead is the jack.

To find out more about “Thinking Bridge” and other Kantar writings, go to

2012 Tribune Media Services

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