Eddie Kantar

Test Your Play

1-10  |  11-20  |  21-30  | 31-40 |  41-50  |  51-60  |  61-70  |  71-80  |  81-90  |  91-100

Edited 3-3-13


Dlr: West 
Vul: Neither 

S. A1042
H. 84 
D. AQ104
C. J84 

S. J 
H. QJ9
D. J2
C. AQ109752 

West   North   East   South 
1S       Pass    Pass   2C 
Pass    2S (1)  Pass   4C 
Pass   5C       All Pass 

(1)  Tell me more 

Opening lead:  SK    You win the ace and East plays the 3. Plan the play. 


The fact that West did not lead a high heart indicates that East is likely to have the ace or king of hearts. If that's true then West must have both minor suit kings. If East had a minor suit king along with a heart honor he would have been strong enough to respond originally. Lead the CJ to the ace at trick two. If the king doesn't fall lead the DJ and hope West doesn't cover holding Kxx. If he makes that error, repeat the finesse and you will be able to discard two hearts on the diamonds before West can ruff in. 

The East hand:   S. 863           H. K7532  D. 865   C. 63
The West hand:  S.  KQ975      H. A106     D. K973    C. K


When missing the ace-king of an unbid suit and that suit isn't led, assume the opening leader doesn't have both missing honors. That, in turn, may help you place other honors around the table.   


Dlr: North 
Vul: E-W 

S. 832
H. AQJ104
D. K10
C. Q104  

S. 1096 
H. 9
D. QJ4 
C. AJ8632 

 North   East    South  West 
  1H       Pass   1NT     2S 
  Pass   Pass    3C      All Pass 

 Opening lead: SA    West continues with the SQ to East's king. East shifts to a low diamond to West's ace. West cashes the SJ, East pitching a heart and continues with a 4th spade. How do you handle this ruff-sluff that doesn't do you any good?   


Better ruff it in your hand. Your only concern is picking up the CK and you should be intending to finesse the king through East. If East happens to have all four clubs, you need all three trump in dummy to pull off this finesse.  

The West hand:  S. AQJ74  H. K765  D. A862 
The East hand:   S. K5  H. 832  D. 97532  C. K975 


Defensively, when you see there are no tricks coming from the side suits, a ruff and a sluff has a good chance of promoting a trump trick for partner. Notice that if East had started with a 2-2-5-4 pattern, he can discard his remaining heart on the 4th spade and now you cannot make the hand as long as East covers the second club honor from dummy. 


Dlr: North
Vul: Neither 

S. QJ98
H. AJ9832
D. -
C. KQ5      

S. AK102
H. -
D. AK6542
C. J73            

 North   East   South   West 
  1H       Pass  2D        Pass
  2H       Pass  2S        Pass 
  4S       Pass  5S (1)   Pass
  6S       All Pass 

(1) Asking for first or second round club control, the unbid suit.  A response of 6C would show the CA and, in theory, a response of 5NT shows the CK.  

Opening lead: C10   You play low from dummy, East wins the ace and returns a club, West following. Plan the play. 


This looks like a clear-cut crossruff hand. However, before you play a crossruff, you must count the number of trump tricks you expect to take first. Here, you can reasonably expect to take eight trump tricks if you can score a heart ruff with the S2. This means you must take four tricks outside of spades and you must take take them before you begin your crossruff. You have already taken one club trick, the ace of hearts is two and you must decide  between cashing two diamonds or one diamond and one club. Clearly it is safer to cash two diamonds. 

After winning the club return in dummy, play the ace of hearts, discarding the CJ, and ruff a heart with the deuce; cash the AK of diamonds and then crossruff diamonds and heart for 12 tricks. The trap is not to try to cash a third club unless West ruffs the second diamond meaning you need a second club trick.

The West hand:  S. 6543  H. K7             D. 108   C. 109842
The East hand:   S. 7         H. Q10654    D. QJ973  C. A6 

Yes, if East returns a trump at trick two the contract is defeated.  


Dlr:  East
Vul: Neither  

S. J1086
D. AKQ4 
C. 1076 

South (you) 
S. AKQ94 
H. J4 
D. 632 
C. J54 

East   South   West   North 
1C      1S        Pass   4S 
All Pass 

Opening lead:  C2 

East quickly cashes three top clubs, West following, and shifts to a trump. Trumps are 2-2. What is your plan? 


It is clear that East must have the HK to have an opening bid, so scratch the finesse plan. If diamonds break 3-3, you won't need the heart finesse, but what if they don't? 

You are still alive if EAST has four diamonds along with the HK. Draw trump, cash the HA (it only hurts for a little while) and play off all of your reamaing spades, discarding the heart queen, keeping all four diamonds in the dummy. In your hand you have three little diamonds and the HJ. 

If poor East was dealt four diamonds, he must save all four and must discard the HK. Voila, your heart jack is high and you have landed your game. Don't tell anyone, but you have just made a Vienna Coup (cashing the HA early). 

The West hand: S. 75  H. 876532  D. 107  C. 832 
The East hand:  S. 32  H. K109  D. J985 C. AKQ9 


Dlr: North
Vul: Neither 

S. AQ2
H. KQ753
D. A2 
C. A76 

S. K76
H. 104
D. K1098
C. 10985 

North   East   South  West 
1H         Pass  1NT     Pass 
3NT      All Pass 

Opening lead:  SJ    What is your plan? 


The way to attack most notrump problems is to count your sure tricks OUTSIDE of the suit you plan to establish. In this case hearts is that suit and you have 6 tricks outside of hearts. Therefore you are looking for the best play to secure THREE heart tricks. 

The answer is to start by leading a low heart from dummy towards the ten. This play wins whenever East has Jx or AJxx; 3-3 breaks are irrelevant. If the 10 loses to the jack, lead the second heart from the closed hand.          

The West hand:  S. J10985  H. 82  D. Q765  C. Q2
The East hand:   S. 43  H. AJ96  D. J43  C. KJ43           


Dlr: North 
Vul: Both 

S. K87
H. A2
D. A63 
C. A9842 

S. 64
H. 7
D. KQJ10985 
C. K73 

North  East  South West
1NT     3H     4D       Pass 
5D       All Pass 

Opening lead:  H5   Plan the play


The idea is to set up the clubs without letting West in to hurt you with a damaging spade shift if East has the ace. 

The way to do this is to duck the opening lead around to your seven! In effect you are trading a club loser for a heart loser but keeping West off lead in the process. 

If East returns a heart, discard a club, cash the DK and then go about your business in clubs playing the king-ace and ruffing a club high. If the suit breaks 3-2, draw trump and discard both of your losing spades on dummy's two established clubs. 

Even if clubs are 4-1, you live if East started with a 4-7-1-1 distribution. In that case you still have two remaining trump entries to set up the fifth club for one spade pitch.  

The West hand: S. Q9832 H. Q95  D. 74  C. QJ6 
The East hand:  S. AJ10  H. KJ108643 D. 2 C. 105      


Dlr: East

S. A432 
H. AQ1086
D. KJ 
C. 42     

S. QJ1098
H. KJ9
D. 763
C. A10 

East   South   West   North 
1C      1S        Pass   4S
Pass   Pass    Pass 

Opening lead:  C3    East plays the king. Plan the play. 

Solution to #47 

You have to look ahead on this one. With the CQ marked with West, East is likely to have the missing honors. If you win the first club and take a spade finesse, East will win, put West in with a club and then take two more diamonds when West returns the suit.  

It is easy enough to avoid this diamond switch if you duck the opening lead. Now East can't put West in with the CQ, and you will be able to discard two diamonds on the hearts eventually losing one club, one spade and one diamond. Don't play too quickly to the first trick! Give the hand a little thought. 

The West hand:  S. 65  H. 54  D. 98542  C. Q763 
The East hand:   S. K7  H. 732  D. AQ10 C. KJ985  


Years ago some universities and colleges participated in a par contest called the Intercollegiate Bridge Tournament. 18 par hands were distributed to the various participating schools. These hands are never published until after the tournament is over. The idea is to earn as many "par points" as possible on each hand. This hand is an example: 

Dlr: South
Vul: Neither      

S. KJ87
H. AK75
D. 72
C. J42    

S. AQ1095 
H. 4
D. A43 
C. Q653 

South   West   North   East 
1S        Pass   3S (1)  Pass 
4S        All Pass 

(1)  Game Forcing Raise. In those days people didn't play limit jump raises.     

Opening lead:  DK   Plan the play. 

This is the official solution: 

Play Par: North-South  

South must win the opening lead (1 point), cash the HAK, discarding a diamond, ruff a heart high, draw two rounds of trump ending in dummy and ruff dummy's last heart. (3 points if the lead is now in the South hand). Now South must exit with a diamond (1 point). 

Play Analysis: South has one diamond loser and three potential club losers. The third club loser can be eliminated if the opponents can be forced to lead a club or give declarer a ruff and a sluff. To accomplish this, South must hope for a 2-2 spade break stripping his hand and dummy of all red cards. 

By discarding a diamond on dummy's second high heart, evening up the diamond suit to one diamond on each side, South can pull off this throw-in play and force a club switch. If the trumps do not split 2-2, South must attack clubs and hope for a favorable position (ace-king in either hand or guessing which hand has a singleton or doubleton honor and play accordingly).    

#49 STAYING ALERT                         

Dlr: West 
Vul: East-West
IMP scoring  

S. A8 
H. 962 
D. KQ74 
C. 10983  

South (you) 
S. KJ10974 
H. 843 
D. 109 
C. KJ 

West   North  East      South 
1H       Pass  1NT (1)    2S 
All Pass  

(1) Not forcing  

Opening lead: HQ 

East wins the ace and king of hearts and shifts to the C4. Before reading on, which club do you play?  Play the CJ. East can't have the AK of hearts and the Ace of clubs, bid 1NT and then pass 2S! Please. 

O.K The jack drives out the ace, West cashes a third heart, East discarding a low diamond, and exits a club to your king. Now what?  


Unless East-West are playing 2 over 1 as a game force (which would have been mentioned) or a forcing 1NT response with 11 HCP (which means no SQ) for that 1NT response. Keep in mind East has already turned up with 9 HCP. Win the club and run the SJ. Assuming it wins, cross to the SA and lead a high diamond. If West wins and returns a diamond to dummy's queen, you still have to guess how to come off dummy without West overruffing you.  This means you have to watch the opponents carding in the minors hopefully giving you a distributional clue.  


1. As declarer you must know what system the opponents are playing. 

2. Playing  "standard", a 1NT response to a major suit opening bid shows a max of 10 HCP and seldom that many. 

3. As an aside: If the opponents are playing "2 over 1" and a 1NT responder has 10+ HCP he is expected to bid twice. 

The West hand:  S. Q62  H. QJ1075  D. AJ  C. A72   

The East hand: S. 53  H. AK D. 86532  C. Q654 


Dlr: West 
Vul: East-West 

S. 8752 
H. J7 
D. KJ10 
C. 6432 

S. J63 
H. KQ10953 
D. A75 
C. K 

West      North   East   South 
1NT (1)  Pass    Pass  2H 
All Pass 

(1)  15-17 

Opening lead:  SA 

West continues with king, queen and ten of spades, East discarding the CQ and the D2. What is your plan? 


Ruff the fourth spade and exit your hand with the HK. If West wins the ace and exits with a heart, draw trump and lead the CK to see who has the ace. If West has the ace, then East must have the DQ as West has already turned up with 17 HCP. 

If East has either ace, play West for the DQ as West needs the DQ to have 15 HCP.  


1. When looking for a queen (DQ) that can be finessed in either direction, try to play that suit last for two reasons: (1) By locating the honors in the other suits and using the bidding to guide you, you will surely  have a better idea of who has the queen; (2) A relative or a close friend may lead the suit for you.

2. Playing the CK is an example of  a "discovery" play. Once you see who has the CA, you will know who has the DQ.   

Notice the discard of the CQ. An honor discard shows a complete sequence in the suit, the honor being the highest of the equal honors. Think of the discard as more or less the equivalent of East leading the CQ. This type of discard can make it easy for partner who has a strong hand and may be forced to make many discards on the run of a long suit. The strong hand can now afford to discard clubs (all of them if necessary!) from Kx or Kxx. without worrying about losing a trick.

The West hand:  S.AKQ10  H. A62  D. 984  C. A75
The East hand:  S. 94  H. 84  D. Q632  C. QJ1098 



contact Eddie at kantarbridge@gmail.com   •   copyright © Eddie Kantar   •   site by designloft.com