ask your partner to bid!

You can share the East hand and give your partner access to this exclusive BRIDGERAMA+ article, even if he/she is not a subscriber.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

ask your partner to bid!

You can share the West hand and give your partner access to this exclusive BRIDGERAMA+ article, even if he/she is not a subscriber.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


using your Le Bridgeur account

Having trouble connecting?

Consult our help section

44 - December 2023

Read more issues
Add to bookmarks
Remove from bookmarks

Be Prepared


We are pleased to offer you this exclusive BRIDGERAMA+ post.



♠ KQ984
♣ A5

West opens 1, your partner passes and East bids 1NT.

Do you take any action and if yes, what is your call?
You have opening values and a beautiful 5-5 in the majors, which gives you serious hopes of making a part-score contract in one of them. In case you should find a ninecard (or better) fit, you might make a game even with a fairly weak hand opposite, for example: ♠52 K7532 654 ♣K62. Passing is therefore excluded (3 points). 2 (15 points) describes a two-suiter in the majors and is therefore much more precise than a Double (8 points). West doubles your 2, partner only bids 2 and East says 2NT.

What does the 2NT bid show?
East makes a free bid, which shows that he has the maximum of his 1NT bid, therefore 10 (or 9 beautiful) HCP (5 points), and of course a Heart stopper (5 points) and probably also a Spade stopper. West signs off in 3NT and that becomes the final contract. This is the full auction:


What is your lead?
Your partner bid 2 when, with equal length in the majors, he could have passed after West’s Double. It is therefore preferable to lead a Heart, the normal card being the 10 (top of the inner sequence, 15 points) rather than the 4 (standard count when our suit was bid and raised, 11 points). I must admit, however, that a Spade lead may sometimes create a surprise when partner has the Ace or Jack doubleton – provided that you lead the 8 (fourth best, 7 points) and not the Queen (3 points) in order to avoid blocking the suit. You lead the Heart 10 and discover the dummy:

Your partner wins the Heart lead with the Ace and plays back the 2, East following with the Jack and then winning with the King.

What’s the distribution of the Hearts?
Your partner played back the 2. Showing residual count in that situation, he started with either four or a doubleton. Given that East denied a four-card major when he bid 1NT, he started with King-Jack doubleton and your partner had Ace-fourth (10 points).

How would you react if East played a small Club at trick three?
When you hold the Ace and see KingJack in dummy, it is often correct to play small without hesitation so as not to help declarer decide how to handle the suit. But beware of automatisms! In the given case, jumping up with the Ace (10 points) makes sure that you beat this contract since you are looking at three high Hearts that you can cash. You can see that playing small (3 points) would allow declarer to make his contract by calling for the King from dummy. Declarer knows that you won’t fall into this trap and, in hand with the King of Hearts, starts with six rounds of Diamonds. On the first three, your partner plays two small Diamonds and then discards the 2 of Clubs.

What do you know about the hidden hands?
Declarer started with King-Jack doubleton in Hearts and four Diamonds to the Queen (5 points), that’s 6HCP in the red suits. To get to a total of 9-10 points, he must have the Ace of Spades and not the Queen of Clubs. Partner’s Club 2 shows count, telling us that he started with an odd number of cards, leaving four or six for East. The latter would not have bid No-trumps the way he did with a diamond fit and 10HCP in a 1-2-4-6: he therefore has four small Clubs (5 points) and the Ace of Spades third (5 points). You have now reconstituted declarer’s hand, which allows you to have a look at the full layout before the end of the deal:

How will declarer make his contract if, on the run of the Diamonds, you get down to the stiff Ace of Clubs?
If you decide to let go of a Club, the first four discards are easy (your four small black cards) ‒ but on the last Diamond, when you need to keep your Ace of Clubs and King-Queen of Spades, you’ll be forced to let go of a Heart. If declarer reads the position correctly, he can now play dummy’s Jack of Club for your stiff Ace (10 points), thus establishing his King for the ninth trick.

Finally, which five discards must you find on the run of the Diamonds that ensure you beat the contract?
You must keep the King and Queen of Spades, as well as the Ace of Clubs doubleton, as was proved in the previous question: this forces you to discard two of your Hearts. This is not really a problem, since your partner can keep two cards in the suit and you can put him on lead with your last Heart… as long as you take care to keep your 6, in order to cross to partner’s 7! Your five discards must therefore be your three small Spades, the Queen of Hearts and the 9 of Hearts: you get 3 points for every correct card. After the Diamonds, declarer must play either black suit from dummy and that’s where you’ll get the fifth trick for your side: either the Club Queen or the King of Spades.

Bonus question: Does it matter in which order you make your five discards?
You have been able to reconstruct the hidden hands with precision, but your partner has less information than you. However, for your defensive plan to work, it is crucial that he keeps his two small Hearts, which may seem useless to him since you have more Hearts than he does. To help him hold on to both his Hearts, it is therefore important that you discard the Queen and 9 as soon as possible. If you have reconstructed the full layout after your partner’s discard of the 2 of Clubs, your discards should therefore be, in order, the 4 of Spades, the Queen of Hearts, the 9 of Hearts, and then the 8 and 9 of Spades (10 points bonus)


100 points : When are you free toplay a tournament with me?
90 points : If your sympathy is like your game level, you must be a courted player
80 points : Very decent.
70 points : Not so bad.
Less : You will certainly do better next time.

Share this post
Avatar photo
Jérémie Tignel

Jérémie Tignel is a multiple French bridge champion. As an experienced player, he brilliantly succeeded in joining the Club France (year 2023). As well as competing and training, he writes articles for a number of well-known bridge magazines.

Articles: 14

Leave a Reply