Eddie Kantar

Test Your Defense

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

 #41   Clearing Things Up 

Dlr: South 
Vul: None

                    North (dummy) 
                    S. AK3 
                    H. KQJ8 
                    D. QJ84 
                    C. K10

                                            East (you)
                                            S. 9 
                                            H. A643 
                                            D. 9752 
                                            C. AQ76

South  West  North  East 
3S       Pass   4S      All Pass

Opening lead:  H10.  Dummy covers. Plan your defense,


It is very likely that your partner is leading from the top of a sequence and declarer could well have a singleton in which case it is important to get partner in with a diamond for a club shift. Your play is to win the HA and shift to the D9, indicating weakness, hope partner has the DA, and gets the "club" message.

The West hand:  S. 54  H. 10976  D. A6  C. 98532 
Declarer's hand:  S. QJ108762  H. 5  D. K103  C. J4


1. When partner leads the 10 against a suit contract, look for the nine. If you can see it, partner is leading from shortness. If you can't, partner may be leading from the top of a sequence,

2. When trying to get partner in for a shift to another suit, lead the most discouraging card you can to prevent partner from returning the suit you have led,

#42   What's Going to Happen?

Dlr: South 
Vul: None

                    North (dummy) 
                    S. 863 
                    H. A875 
                    D. KJ6 
                    C. 932

                                        East (you) 
                                        S. 94 
                                        H. K2 
                                        D. Q1083 
                                        C. AKQ54

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

Opening lead: CJ

Declarer ruffs the opening lead and runs the HQ to your king. Now what?


You have to project at least two high honors in partner's hand to defeat the contract. If partner has  S.AQx, a spade shift will do the trick. If partner has the S.Qxx along with the DA, a diamond shift is necessary before the spades can be established for diamond discards in dummy. If partner wins the ace and returns a diamond your side will come to two diamonds, a spade and a heart.  This nets you two diamonds, a spade and a heart. The second scenario is a bit more likely, so a low diamond shift is called for. 

Declarer's hand: S. AKJ105  H. QJ1093 D. 742  C. - 
The West hand:   S. Q72      H. 64 D.        A95  C. J10876


1. When declarer ruffs the opening lead, start thinking in terms of declarer's distribution with relation to the bidding. Here it is quite likely that declarer has a 5-5-3-0 pattern,

2. When declarer is known to have a long side suit plus the ability to draw trump and still leave trump in the dummy, an active defense is usually called for. In this case attacking the diamonds before the spades are established,

#43  Weak Jump Response

Dlr: North 
Vul: Both

                     North (dummy) 
                     S. A108 
                     H. 2 
                     D. AKQ102
                     C. J864

West (You)
S. 75 
H. Q10643 
D. 7653 

North  East  South  West 
1D      1H     2S (1)  4H 
4S       All Pas

(1)  Weak   5-7 HCP (6 card suit)

Opening lead: H4

Partner wins the HK and shifts to the C2, declarer playing the C9. Plan your defense.


You should get this one right. Partner must have the CK for a number of reasons: (1) He has led a low club showing a high honor; (2) declarer is unlikely to have the CK. He should have a decent spade suit and if he does, having the CK as well would give him too much for his preemptive response. Win the CA and return the CQ. If partner can't figure out you have a doubleton, and doesn't overtake to give you a ruff, look around for a new  partner,

Declarer's hand: S. KQJ942  H. 85       D. 84  C. 973 
The East hand:   S. 63          H. AKJ97  D. J9  C. K1052


1. When declarer makes a weak jump response, assume most of his strength is in the bid suit and the missing honors are in partner's hand.

2. When partner leads a low card after dummy is exposed, assume he has a high honor in the suit and defend accordingly,


#44   Using the Bidding

Dlr: South 
Vul: E-W

                     North (dummy) 
                     S. A764 
                     H. 103 
                     D. AJ53 
                     C. 852

                                       East (you) 
                                       S. J98 
                                       H. A854 
                                       D. 72 
                                       C. A963

South  West     North      East 
1D       2H (1)    Dbl.(2)    3H 
3S       All Pass

(1)  At this vulnerablility 7-9 HCP with a six card suit 
(2)  Negative

Opening lead: HK  Plan your defense


A little counting help here. Declarer is marked with a singleton heart and four spades leaving eight "other" cards. Declarer's two more likely distributions are 4-1-5-3 or 4-1-4-4.  In the first case there is a danger that unless clubs are broached immediately, declarer will be able to draw trump and discard a club from dummy on a fifth diamond. In the second case, partner has a doubleton club and may be able to obtain a ruff.

It is clearly right to overtake the partner's lead and shift to a low club, showing strength, at trick two. Your play works out beyond your wildest dreams because there are the unseen hands:

Declarer's hand: S. KQ52  H. J               D. KQ1086  C. Q107 
West:                 S. 103     H. KQ10976  D. 94          C. KJ4

As it happens partner wins the first club presumably with the jack, cashes the CK, and lead a club to your ace. Continuing with your sharp play, you play a 13th club and when partner uppercuts the SA out of the dummy with the S10, your J98 of trump promote to the setting trick,


When declarer turn up with an early singleton (hearts) and the length of at least one other of the declarer's suits is marked on the bidding (spades), consider the likely distribution of the remaining cards and defend accordingly,

#45  Wake Up Call

Dlr: South 
Vul: None

                    North (dummy)  
                    S. 62 
                    H. KQJ6  
                    D. 9642  
                    C. 853

                                           East (you) 
                                           S. 1073 
                                           H. 975 
                                           D. A873 
                                           C. Q62

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

(1)  Waiting 
(2)  22-24

Opening lead: S5 (4th best)   You play the 10 which loses to the king. At trick two declarer plays the DK and partner discards the SJ. Plan your defense.


The discard of an honor card indicates possession of the lower equal(s) but no higher honor. In other words, declarer started with the S AKQ.  Given the strength of declarer's diamonds and the strength of dummy's hearts, it looks like a club shift is in order, but which club?

Because you need four club tricks, you should shift to the queen hoping partner has AJ10x. If you shift to a low club, declarer with a Kxx can duck the trick around forcing partner to win and there go the four club tricks. In desperate cash out situations when leading through declarer, small cards in dummy, the lead of a low card promises the king or ace. With a lower honor, the honor should be led,

Declarer's hand: S. AKQ     H. A3        D. KQJ105  C. K97 
The West hand:  S. J9854  H. 10842  D. -             C. AJ104

#46  You Be the Judge

Dlr: South  
Vul: Both

                     North (dummy) 
                     S. Q7432  
                     H. 872  
                     D. K65  
                     C. A4 

   West                              East
   S 86                               S. AK105
   H.103                             H.J64
   D. AQ98432                    D. J7
   C. J8                              C. 10762
                     S. J9
                     H. AKQ95
                     D. 10
                     C. KQ953

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

Opening lead: S8 

This is what happened and you must decide which defender, if either, blew the defense.  Dummy played low at trick one and East took the first trick with the king and shifted to the DJ at trick two to West's ace. As there was only one diamond remaining, West thought East had a singleton and returned the suit allowing declarer to discard a spade. In fact, he now made an overtrick. He drew two rounds of trumps and ruffed a club in dummy.  However if declarer had a doubleton diamond and a singleton spade, then a diamond return at trick three would be the only defense. 

The hand can be defeated if West returns a spade trick three allowing East to win the trick and play a third spade promoting a trump trick for the defense, the setting trick. Anybody do anything clearly wrong?

Yes, West blew the defense. But how should West know that partner has a doubleton diamond and not a singleton? Notice that East has to return a diamond before playing two more rounds of spades lest South discard a diamond on the third spade. Well, the answer may scare you, but here it is. 

If East had a singleton diamond originally, he should win the first spade with the ACE purposely fooling his partner and then return the diamond. Now West won't worry about partner having the SK and will return a diamond which East will ruff. If on the other hand, East wins the first spade with the KING and returns a diamond, West can reason that East cannot have a singleton diamond or else he would have won the first trick with the ACE! Remember when bridge used to be fun?         

#47  Something You Should Know

Dlr: South 
Vul: Both

                     North (dummy)  
                     S. Q109 
                     H. J1076 
                     D. KQ10 
                     C. 962          East 
                                         S. AK63 
                                         H. 32 
                                         D. 964 
                                         C. Q1083

South   West   North   East 
1H        Pass   2H       Pass 
4H        All Pass

Opening lead: S2  (4th best leads).  Dummy plays low and you win the king. What now?


There is a danger that if partner has led from a four card spade suit declarer will be able to set up a spade for a club discard. Therefore, it is necessary to attack  clubs at once. With the Q108(x) or K108(x) and the 9x(x) to your right, attack with the ten, another "surrounding play". If declarer has the hoped for  AJx, your lead  nets two tricks in the suit-just what you need. If you lead low instead of the ten, declarer can play low and lose but one trick in the suit,

Declarer's hand:  S. 54  H. AKQ54  D. A82  C. AJ7 
The West hand:   S. J872  H. 85  D. J753  C. K54

#48   The Tale of the Red Deuces

Dlr: South 
Vul: E-W

                             North (dummy) 
                             S. 965 
                             H. AKQ6 
                             D. QJ3 
                             C. 974

West (you)  
S. AJ73 
H. 75 
D. K4 
C. Q10862

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

You lead the C6 which goes to the jack and king. Playing standard count signals, declarer leads a heart to the queen and follows it with the DQ to your king, partner playing the deuce in both red suits. What now?


If partner's count signals are to be believed he has an odd number of cards in both hearts and diamonds. Given the bidding he should have five hearts and three diamonds. If this is true, declarer has 9 tricks ready to run outside of spades:  four diamonds, three hearts and two clubs.

When declarer has enough tricks in three suits to make his contract, shift to the fourth suit. Just do it!  Shift to a low spade hoping partner has the king and will return a spade and not a club. How will partner know which black suit to return? The rule is this:  if partner leads one suit and then shifts to a LOW card in another suit, he wants the second suit returned. If partner shifts to  HIGH card in the second suit, he wants the first suit returned. Got it?

Declarer's hand:  S. Q104  H. 83  D. QJ3  C. 974 
The East hand:  S. K82  H. J10942  D. 872  C. J3

#49   Squash!

Dlr: North 
Vul: Both

                     North (dummy)
                     S. 8 
                     H. A62 
                     D. KQ10865 
                     C. K102

                                               East (you) 
                                               S. A1073 
                                               H. J1097 
                                               D. A974 
                                               C. 9

North  East  South   West 
1D       Pass  1S        Pass 
2D       Pass   2NT     Pass 
3NT     All Pass

Opening lead: C7  (4th best)

Dummy wins the C10 and leads a low diamond to the jack and a second diamond to dummy's queen, partner discarding the CQ. What is your plan?


Partner's discard announces the queen is his highest club and he has all the equals beneath it. Counting tricks you see three clubs, five diamonds (once you take your ace) and the HA. Same old story. When declarer has enough tricks in three suits to make his contract, shift to the fourth suit. In this case you must shift to a spade, but which one? In order to reap the maximum number of tricks you have to shift to the S10 squashing the S8 in dummy. Why? In order to take four spades you must find your partner with either KQ6x or KJ6x. In both cases you must lead the ten to get four tricks. Lay it out for yourself and see why. 

Declarer's hand:  S. Q954  H. K43  D. J3  C. A653 
The West hand:  S. KJ62  H. Q85  D. 2  C. QJ874

#50  Don't Blow This One

Dlr: South 
Vul: Both

                     North (dummy) 
                     S. 975 
                     H. J10 
                     D. KQ1084 
                     C. QJ3

                                         East (you) 
                                         S. Q86 
                                         H. KQ98 
                                         D. A32 
                                         C. 765

South  West  North  East 
1NT      Pass  3NT    All Pass

Opening lead:  S2  (4th best)

Your queen holds the first trick. Now what?


You have this hand beaten in your own hand. Look at those heart spots in dummy. If you shift to a high heart and continue with a high heart if declarer ducks, you can set up three heart tricks for yourself to go along with the spade you already have and the diamond you are sure to get,

Delclarer's hand: S A104  H. A65  D. J97  C. AK42 
The West hand: S. KJ32  H. 7432  D. 65  C. 1098


1. There is no law that says you have to return partner's suit if you have the contract defeated in your own hand by shifting to another suit.  And yes, declarer should have won the opening lead.

2. If the opponents never make a mistake you are doomed to be a losing player. Don't worry, it's not going to happen.



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