North-South vulnerable. South deals.


xA 6 5

uK 10 8 2

vQ 6 5

wK 3 2


xQ 8 x10 9 7 4

u5 4 3 u9 7 6

v8 7 3 2 v10 9 4

wQ J 10 8 w9 7 6


xK J 3 2

uA Q J

vA K J

wA 5 4

The bidding:


2w Pass 2v Pass

2NT Pass 6NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Queen of w

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

South’s artificial two-club opener followed by a two no trump rebid shows 22-24 high-card points, balanced. The two diamond response is played as “waiting” (unlimited), and the raise to six no trump is clear holding 12 high-card points facing partner’s 22-24. Why not Stayman by North? In general, it does not pay to use Stayman with a 4-3-3-3 pattern. If no fit is found, opener’s rebid gives away his distribution. It gives the opponents a chance to double the Stayman club response for a lead. If a 4-4 fit is uncovered, the opener might also have a 4-3-3-3 shape and the hand might play just as well, or better, at notrump. Trumps might break obscenely and notrump might play easier even if there is a 4-4 fit.

Conversely, if a 4-4 fit is uncovered and opener has a side-suit doubleton, the hand frequently plays at least one trick better in a 4-4 fit.

Forming good habits is important. Declarer should start by counting sure tricks outside spades, the suit he plans to work with. Due to duplication in diamonds declarer has nine sure tricks, three in each suit outside spades. The best way to assure three tricks in spades is to cash the king and ace and, if the queen has not appeared, continue with a spade to the jack. That guarantees three tricks on all 3-3 splits and on a 4-2 split with the queen doubleton or in front of the knave.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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