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BRIDGE



Published: Fri, January 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

BRIDGE

Neither vulnerable. South deals.

NORTH

x9 8

uK 10 6 5

vK J 5 4

w4 3 2

WEST EAST

xJ 10 7 3 xK 6 5 4 2

u7 uQ 9 8

v10 6 3 2 v8 7

wA 9 8 5 wQ J 10

SOUTH

xA Q

uA J 4 3 2

vA Q 9

wK 7 6

The bidding:

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST

2NT Pass 3w Pass

3u Pass 4u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of x

Here’s another hand from Eddie Kantar’s award-winning series “Thinking Bridge.”

It is usually right to open two no trump with a balanced 20-21 count, five-card major notwithstanding. The opening lead should come up to, rather than through, a hand this strong. Furthermore, if South opens one heart and hears a likely one no trump response, the correct rebid is three no trump. Now the strong hand will be the dummy. Not good. Seeing the strong hand on the table makes defense ever so much easier.

At a trump contract, a suit headed by two adjacent honors is considered enough of a sequence to justify leading the top honor. However, at notrump, three adjacent honors (J 10 9), or the third card missing by one (J 10 8) is considered a sequence and the top honor is led. When the third card is missing by more than one (J 10 7 3), lead fourth-best.

When partner leads a jack against a suit contract, third hand assumes a suit headed by J 10, or shortness if the ten is visible. It might also be from K J 10 (x), playing standard leads, but rarely, if ever, from a suit headed by the A J 10 (x). One seldom underleads aces at suit contracts to begin with and never smack into the strong hand. Please.

South, missing the queen of hearts, is looking at a vulnerable club holding — if East gets in! On the bright side, South is looking at a fourth diamond upon which a club can be discarded. To avoid an accident (East getting in with the queen of hearts), South crosses to the king of hearts and leads a heart to the jack (finessing through the danger hand). Even if West wins the queen, the king of clubs is safe from immediate attack. As it happens, the finesse works and 11 tricks are taken. “Eight ever, nine never” does not apply when there is a danger hand. Keeping the danger hand off lead takes precedence.

2013 Tribune Media Services


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