Eddie Kantar

Test Your Defense

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#31    Honors are Flying

Dlr: East
Vul: N-S

                      North  (dummy)
                      S. AKJ985
                      H. 53
                      D. Q874
                      C. J

West (you) 
S. Q1063
H. A
D. KJ532 
C. 952

East   South   West   North
4H      5C          All Pass

Opening lead:  Ace of hearts

Your lead is greeted by the HQ from partner and the seven from declarer. What now?


Switch to a spade. When third hand is known to have a six card suit or longer, his play at trick one is suit preference (if either the opening leader  or dummy wins the first  trick.)  If you trust, partner will ruff the spade, give you a heart ruff and ruff another spade to defeat the contract two tricks. If you do anything else, you get no more tricks!

The East hand:   S. -     H. QJ108642  D. A1096  C. 84
Declarer's hand: S. 742 H. K97           D. - C. AKQ10763


Whenever third hand shows a six card suit or longer. his first play in the suit is suit  preference- if either partner or dummy wins the first trick.

#32   Vision

Dlr: North
Vul: Neither


                       North  (dummy)
                       S. K1076
                       H. 10
                       D. Q4
                       C, AKQ1074


West (you)
S. J853
H. A932
D. K5
C. J92

North   East   South   West
1C        2D (1)  2H        Pass 
2S        Pass    3H        Pass 
4H        All Pass

(1) Weak

Opening lead:  DK

That raise to 4H was a real vote of confidence.  Partner plays the D7 at trick one, how do you defend to make North rue that raise?


Apparently partner has the DA. so cash the HA and return a diamond. Partner wins the DA and plays a third diamond. If declarer has the J, you ruff for the setting trick. . If partner has the DJ he will take that trick and then play a fourth diamond promoting your heart 9 to the second undertrick.

The East hand:  S. Q9   H. 64         D. A109762  C. 853 
Declarer's hand: S. A42 H. KQJ876 D. J83           C. 4


When you are lucky enough to hold the ace of trump and dummy's singleton trump is going to prevent you from getting a possible ruff, cash the ace and then go for your ruff.

#33   Desperation?

Dlr: North
Vul: Both

                          North (dummy) 
                          S. 4 
                          H. QJ1096
                          D. AQ1096
                           C. 74


                                                  East (you) 
                                                  S. 73
                                                  H. A852
                                                  D. 8432
                                                  C. A103


North  East   South   West
Pass   Pass    1S        Pass 
2H       Pass   3S        Pass 
4D       Pass   4S        All Pass

Opening lead: CQ     Plan your defense


Given those diamonds in dummy and declarer's strong spade bidding, an attacking defense in hearts is called for. Your best shot is to play partner for the Kx of hearts and shift to a low heart after grabbing your CA.  If it all works out. partner will win the king, return a heart and your subsequent heart play will promote the setting trick in the trump suit,

The West hand: S. J85  H. K7  D. 75  C. QJ9652
Declarer's hand: S. AKQ10962 H. 43 D. KJ C. K8


When dummy tables with a long apparently usable side suit and declarer has shown a strong trump holding, an active defense is on the agenda. This is a recording.

Keep your eyes open for trump promotion plays,

#34   Leave No Prisoners!

Dlr: North
Vul: Both

                      North (dummy)
                      S. J
                      H. 82
                      D. AKQ1074
                      C. AQ75


                                              East (you)
                                              S. AQ1098
                                              H. AJ3
                                              D. 632
                                              C. 86


North    East     South   West
1D         1S        Dbl. (1)  Pass 
3D         Pass    3NT        All Pass

(1) Negative

Opening lead:  S2        Plan your defense


The truth of the matter is that this is a no-brainer. Assuming declarer has the SK for that 3NT bid, you don't have "time" to set up your spades and wait to get in with your HA to use them. You will still be waiting. Count tricks. You see six diamond tricks in dummy, at least two clubs, probably more and one spade for nine quick ones.

If this hand is to beaten, it must be in hearts, not spades. You must project a heart position that will produce four quick heart tricks. One such combination is if partner has KQxx, but that's an awful lot to hope for. Actually K107x is enough if you start with the JACK.  If declarer has Q9xx of hearts, there is nothing he can do to stop the good guys from cashing four heart tricks.  Your play is to win the first trick and switch to the HJ, not the ace, but the jack. Study the combination and you will see why it is necessary to start with the jack.

The West hand:  S. 752   H. K1074   D. 95  C. 10943
The South hand: S. K643 H. Q965  D. J8 C. KJ2


When leading partner's unsupported suit, lead low from three or four small, top of a doubleton,

When attacking a suit holding AJx, A10x, A9x, KJx,  K10x or K9x  and  there is a small doubleton to your right in dummy, attack with the middle card.

#35   No Brainer

Dlr: North
Vul: Both

                     North (dummy)
                     S. A4
                     H. AK4
                     D. KQJ1097
                     C. Q3

West (you)
S. J9862
H. 932
D. A 
C. KJ102

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

Opening lead:  S6

Dummy plays the ace, partner the three, and declarer the queen. At trick two the inevitable DK is played from dummy, partner plays the deuce and declarer the 5. It's your turn again.


This is a no brainer. You can see five diamond tricks staring you in the face along with the AK of hearts for seven, the ace of spades is eight and partner's small spade has denied a spade honor, so declarer has the SK for nine.

Your ONLY chance is to play partner for the CA and shift to a LOW club  (not the jack) at trick three. If partner has the CA and returns a club (and not a spade!) your side will gobble up four clubs and a diamond. Down one.

The East hand: S. 1073  H. J1087  D. 8432  C. A7
Declarer's hand: S. KQ7 H. Q65  D. 65  C. 98654


As declarer with a weak suit you would rather not see the opponents attack  suit (clubs), feign weakness in the suit they have led. Notice declarer's deceptive play at trick one.

Count declarer's tricks before automatically continuing the suit you have led taking into account partner's signal in the suit.

When a defender determines that the declarer has enough tricks in three suits to make his contract, shift to the 4th suit. Just do it!

Had you shifted to the CJ, you could not take four club tricks.

#36   Having an Eagle-Eye

              North (dummy)
              S. AKQ2
              H. 974
              D. 86 
              C. QJ53

West (you)
S. J7
H. AJ83
D. Q10732
C. K8

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

Opening lead:  D3

Your opening lead goes to the jack and king. At trick two declarer leads a spade to dummy's queen, partner playing the 3 and continues with the CQ, partner playing the 2, declarer the four, and you take your king. Now what? (Assume "standard" count signals)


Continue with a high diamond and develop the suit. Declarer has six tricks in the blacks to go along with the AK of diamonds so there is no need to press the panic button and shift to a heart.

Playing "standard" count signals (low shows an odd number and high an even number), you can figure your partner for five spades and declarer two given the play of the S3 at trick two. (If partner had three spades, declarer would have four which is inconsistent with the bidding).

In clubs, your partner's play of the ueuce shows an odd number of clubs, probably three. which means declarer started with four clubs and has at most three club tricks coming. Had partner played, say the C9 at trick three indicating a likely doubleton, then declarer would have started with five clubs and would, indeed, have nine tricks ready to run: three spades, four clubs and two diamonds. In that case you would have to shift to a low heart hoping partner has Kxx.

Declarer's hand: S. 86         H. K852  D. AK9  C. A1064
The East hand:  S. 109543  H. Q10    D. J54  C. 872

#37  4th Hand Bidding Quiz - A Change of Scenery

Assume you are South with neither side vulnerable and the bidding has proceeded:  

West   North   East   South

1H       Pass    2H       ?

What action would you take with each of the following hands?

1.  S. J5  H. AQ108  D AJ87  C. 1087

2.  S. K5  H. K5  D. AKQ876  C. J87

3.  S. K87  H. 4  D. AJ87  C. AQ876

4.  S. KQJ87 H. 4  D. AQJ876  C. 5

5.  S. KQJ9  H. 8765  D. 4  C. AQ102

6. S. 109  H. AQ  D. K43  C. AKQJ98

7. S. AJ10974  H. 4  D. K5  C. AJ107

8. S. 876  H. AK4  D. J987  C. A104


1. Pass.  Double here would be for takeout and you are not nearly strong enough to bid 2NT, if you and your partner play that as "natural". Some play it "unusual". Be sure to discuss this sequence with your favorite partner.

2. Here it is again. If 2NT is played as "unusual" for the minors, bid 3D. If it is played as natural, bid 2NT

3. Double. You would like to have a fourth spade, but they only dealt you three.

4. This one depends upon your methods. If you play "Michaels, a  3H cuebid shows five spades plus five or six card in one of the minors, you should do that. If you play that a 3H cuebid asks partner to bid 3NT, then you should be playing "Leaping Michaels"!

Playing "Leaping", a leap  to four of a minor (4D) shows a very strong two suiter with five cards in the unbid major plus five, or more likely six, cards in the bid minor. Leaping Michaels is also used after they open a weak 2H or 2S bid reserving the cuebid to ask partner for a stopper in their suit when holding a solid minor with a good hand on the outside,

5. 2S. You only live once and partner is short in hearts. A good partner will have spade support. You can't double. What will you do if partner bids 3D?

6. 3NT   Put one of your club honors in with your spades if this bid makes you edgy.

7. 3S, invitational. When the bid to your right is weak (2H), a jump by you is strong. When the bid to your right is strong, a jump by you is weak.

8. Pass. Don't go looking for trouble with minimum balanced hands that don't have four cards in the unbid major not to mention having  most of the strength in the opponent's suit. Four no-nos in the same hand,

#38  It's Your Lead

Given the bidding, can you select the proper opening lead with the following West hands?

1. You hold:  S. A865  H. KJ932  D. 84  C. 76

South  West  North  East
1S       Pass  2S      Pass 
3C      Pass   3S     Pass 

2. You hold:  S. 864  H. J1096  D. 3  C. K10542

South   West   North     East 
1D        Pass    3D (1)   Pass 
3S        Pass     4H         Pass
5D        All Pass

(1)  Limit raise

3. You hold:  S. J98  H. 75  D. 93  C. Q87543

South   West   North   East 
1H        Pass   2D       2S 
3H        Pass   4H       All pass

4. You hold:  S. A4  H. AQ8754  D. 7  C. J965

West   North   East   South 
1H       Dbl,      4H      4S 
5H       5S        All Pass

5. You hold:  S. K2  H. J1097  D. J1076  C. 965

South   West   North   East 
1S        Pass   3C       Pass 
3S        Pass   4S       Pass 
4NT      Pass   5H       Pass 
6S       All Pass

6.  You hold: S. 742  H. KJ32  D. K84  C. 965

South  West  North  East 
1S       Pass  2D      Pass 
2S       Pass  4S      All Pass

7. S. AQ108  H. 1076  D. Q76  C. J103

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


1. Low heart.
The H3 if you play 4th best lead, the H2 if you play low from odd leads. The idea with four trump is to lead your longest side suit in the hopes of forcing declarer to trump once or twice thus enhancing your trump length.

2. Low club.
They are telling you that they don't have a club control. How much more of a clue do you need?

3. Eight of spades.
Low from three to an honor in partner's suit. Partner may think you have a doubleton, but when partner sees the nine on the second lead of the suit, he will know you don't.

4. The seven of diamonds.
Your plan is to get in with the HA, underlead your ace of spades to partner's hoped for king and ruff the diamond return,

5. The Jack of diamonds.
Partner had a chance to double 5H and didn't, so diamonds offer a better chance than hearts of building up a quick trick.

6. Low heart. 
With the a probable long diamond suit threatening you in the dummy, and given your diamond holding, an aggressive lead is called for.

7. A low trump.
Dummy is surely short in spades and each trump you can remove from dummy is one less spade declarer can trump over there,

#39   Visualize!

 Dlr: North 
Vul:  None

                    S. AQJ 
                    H. A5 
                    D. 653 
                    C. AQJ96

West (you) 
S. 53 
H. QJ108 
D. AJ74 
C. 742

North  East   South   West 
1C       Pass  1S         Pass 
2NT    Pass   3C (1)   Pass 
3S      Pass    4S        All Pass

(1) Checkback- looking for three spades or four hearts among other things.

Opening lead: HQ

Declarer wins the HK, partner playing the H2, and leads a spade to the jack and king. Partner shifts to the D9 and declarer plays the DK. How do you defend?


Duck the diamond, signaling encouragement with the D7. Judging from the lead of the nine, declarer has the KQ10 so you can't afford to win and return the suit. What you have to do is wait for partner to lead the suit again. So hope your partner has the CK and will return a diamond upon getting in with that card. If everything goes accoreding to plan, you will score two diamonds along with two black kings. Down one.

Declarer's hand:  S. 109872  H. K4  D. KQ10  C. 1083 
The East hand:  S. K64  H. 97632  D. 982  C. K5


The lead of a nine is normally a top card. If partner leads a nine through declarer and dummy has small cards, it is usually right for third hand with the AJx(x) NOT to win the king, but rather to signal encouragement and wait for partner to lead the suit a second time as declarer is marked with the KQ10,

#40  What Else?

Dlr: North 
Vul: Both

                    North (dummy)   
                    S. KJ4 
                    H. AK2 
                    D. AQJ97 
                    C. 105

                                     East (you) 
                                     S. 8762  
                                     H. 853 
                                     D. K65
                                     C. A82

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

Opening lead:  HJ

Declarer wins the queen and runs the D10 to your king, partner playing the D8. What now?


Declarer is known to hold seven red suit winners and the position of the spade honors in the dummy indicate that your best  chance to defeat the contract is to attack clubs. Switch to the C2, promising a high honor. If partner has the dreamed of KJ9x, you will collect a quick four club tricks and defeat the contract.

Declarer's hand:  S. AQ10  H. Q76     D. 1052  C. Q764 
The West hand:   S. 953    H. J1094  D. 84      C. KJ93


1. A 1NT response to a 1D opening normally shows four or more clubs. 
2. At a notrump contract when dummy is to your right and has small cards, a shift to a low card WHEN ON LEAD FOR THE LAST TIME  promises the ace or king. With suits headed by the 10, J, or Q, the honor is usually led if three or more tricks are needed,


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