North-South vulnerable. North deals.
xJ 10 7
vA K J 10 9 8
x9 6 4 xA K Q 8 5
u5 2 u6
vQ 6 3 v7 5 2
wQ 10 8 6 5 wA 9 4 2
uK J 10 9 8 7 4 3
NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST
1v 1x 4u Pass
Opening lead: Four of x
South’s four-heart response typically shows eight hearts and 6-9 high-card points. With a stronger hand, South bids two hearts and then four hearts. With an even stronger hand, system permitting, South jump shifts.
With three cards in partner’s unsupported suit, honor or no honor, the lowest card is led. However, with A x x, the ace is led.
Third hand must watch partner’s spot-card leads like a hawk. On this hand, partner’s second spade is higher than the first, indicating a three-card holding. It also means that a third high spade will be ruffed. That in itself is not so terrible if it weren’t for those imposing diamonds in dummy.
East has to give up on spades and try for two club tricks by leading a low club, the key play. If partner has the king, it doesn’t matter which club is led, but if declarer has the king and partner the queen, East must lead low to put declarer to the guess. If declarer plays low hoping West has the ace and East has the queen, he winds up with egg on his face. West wins the queen and returns a club (a third spade can’t cash) to defeat the contract. If only one trick is needed to defeat the contract, East leads the ace of course.
If East shifts to a low club at trick three, South has a nasty guess coming up. Good luck, South.
This is another deal from Eddie Kantar’s award-winning series “Thinking Bridge.” For more information on this and other Kantar writings go to www.kantarbridge.com.
2013 Tribune Media Services