East-West vulnerable. South deals.


xQ J 10 6

uK Q J 8

vQ J

w10 8 5


x7 2 xK 9 8

u6 4 3 2 u7 5

v10 7 6 5 4 3 v9 2

vK vA Q J 7 4 2


xA 5 4 3

uA 10 9

vA K 8

v9 6 3

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2w Dbl

2x Pass 4x Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: ?

Here’s another deal from Eddie Kantar’s award-winning series “Thinking Bridge,” designed for players who would like to improve their game.

East’s double of the Stayman response is lead-directing. It is also a penalty double. At this level it promises five or six clubs headed by three of the top five, or two of the three top honors. Lead- directing doubles at the four- level or higher (Blackwood responses, cue-bids) do not promise such extreme length in the suit, just strength: K Q x (x) or K J x (x) are just fine. After the double, South shows a four-card major if he has one. Lacking a major, South rebids two diamonds to deny a club stopper and passes to show a club stopper. South can also redouble to show four or five strong clubs (A J 10 x (x)). With a suitable hand, North can pass the redouble, leading to no end of excitement!

After a lead-directing double, opening leads are no-brainers. Even with a void, the doubled suit should be led.

East overtakes the king of clubs in case it is a singleton. Rule of Life no. 1: Do not signal partner encouragement if you can afford to overtake. After overtaking, East takes three clubs, but what about an encore? East can see 12 HCP in dummy to go along with at least 15 in declarer’s hand, giving the bad guys 27 HCP minimum. This leaves the good guys with 13 HCP. East has 10 HCP, so the most West can have is 3 HCP and he has led the king of clubs! Guess how many HCP East has left!

Rule of Life no. 2: When there are no tricks coming from the side suits, think ruff-sluff. If East leads a fourth club and West uppercuts dummy with the seven of spades, driving out the ten, East’s K 9 8 promotes to the setting trick. Bravo East; bravo West.

For more information about “Thinking Bridge” and other Kantar bridge writings, go to

2013 Tribune Media Services

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