The Way to Play Well

Dealer: South
E-W vulnerable

S 7 6 3
H A Q 5 3
D 8 3 2
C Q 5 4
S J 9 2
H 10 4
D A K 7
C A J 7 6 3
S Q 10 8
H J 9 8 7
D 10 6 5
C 9 8 2
S A K 5 4
H K 6 2
D Q J 9 4
C K 10
South West North East
1 NT Pass C Pass
S Pass 2 NT All Pass
Opening Lead: C 6

I continue a series on card-reading. When we say someone played “double dummy,” we mean he played as if he could see all four hands: with remarkable skill. Declarer sees only his hand and dummy but can use logical reasoning to “see” the defenders’ cards. It’s easier to play well when you know what everyone has.In today’s deal, West leads a low club against 2NT. South wins with the ten, leads a heart to dummy and returns a diamond: five, jack, ace. West then takes the ace of clubs and leads a third club to set up his suit.


South decides not to play for a 3-3 heart break: He leads a second diamond, and East plays low. Should South play the queen or finesse with the nine?

An inference is available. If West had no further side entry, he would have led a second low club, not the ace and a low club, to keep communication with East. If South trusts his opponent to defend logically, he will finesse with the nine of diamonds, losing three clubs and two diamonds.


You hold:
SJ 9 2
H10 4
DA K 7
CA J 7 6 3
. Your partner opens one heart, you respond two clubs and he rebids two hearts. What do you say?

Your partner may have six cards in hearts but has not promised more than five. One option is to leap to 3NT, giving the opening leader no more guidance. I would choose a bid of three diamonds. If partner bids 3NT, pass. If he bids three hearts, raise. If he bids four clubs or four diamonds, try four hearts.

Copyright © 2015, Tribune Media Services

About the Author:

Frank Stewart is one of the world’s most prolific bridge journalists. He won many tournament events before devoting himself to writing. Frank has published hundreds of magazine and on-line articles. He has written 24 books, among them “Becoming an Expert,” “Play Bridge With Me,” “Who Has the Queen?” and most recently “Keys to Winning Bridge.” In 2014, Frank Stewart received the International Bridge Press Association’s Alan Truscott Award. He has been the senior analyst for ACBL-wide Charity and International Fund events since 1980. Frank and his wife, Charlotte, a pediatric speech pathologist, live in Fayette AL. They have a 17-year-old daughter.

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