By Eddie Kantar

(From NABC Nov 2007 San Francisco - 2)



Dlr: South


Vul: None



♠ Q 9

6 4

9 6 5

♣A K J 10 7 3           









1 NT


3 NT

All Pass















 A 7 6            

K 9 8 3

K 7 3 2

6 5



♠ 5 4 3 2             

10 7 5

A 10 8 4

♣ 4 2


Opening Lead = 3



♠ K J 10 8

A Q J 2


♣ Q 9 8



Bidding commentary: North, with six potential club tricks, has an automatic raise to 3NT even without the Q.


Lead commentary: West, with two relatively equal-strength suits, selects the major. Why? When responder does not use Stayman, responder figures to have minor-suit length.


Play commentary: As declarer, win trick one with the Q, not the jack. With two equals, take the trick with the higher equal. It is far more deceptive. If you win the Q, West can't tell who has the jack. East's play of the 10 does not deny the jack, but it does deny the queen. If you take the trick with the jack, you tell West you have the queen. Don't be so friendly.


Next issue: Being wide open in diamonds, should you try to steal your ninth trick by leading a low spade at trick two, or run the clubs and hope for a discarding error? Choices, choices, choices.


Defensive commentary:  If declarer runs clubs, East discards three spades and a heart, no diamonds! Discard losers, keep potential winners! West, who knows partner needs the A to defeat the contract (otherwise declarer has nine tricks), discards two spades, a heart and the 7. When a spade is eventually led, West wins and shifts to a low diamond, asking for a diamond return. East wins and returns the 4, original fourth best, and the contract is defeated. If South leads a low spade at trick two, West must apply the rule of "unattended suits." What's that? When a long powerful suit in dummy is left unattended, assume declarer has the missing honor. If so, South must be stealing a ninth trick. West jumps up with the A, and shifts to a low diamond. Down one.