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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 Unless you're one of the rare "naturals" at the game, you won't continue to improve your bridge unless you do some reading. Fortunately, the available literature is quite good and covers the full spectrum of experience and skill levels. If you've passed through the beginner phase and consider yourself a serious intermediate or advanced "improver," there are two prolific, down-to-earth authors whose catalogues you should consider. Mike Lawrence's comprehensive works deal with virtually every aspect of the game, from hand evaluation to falsecards to passed-hand bidding.

Neither side vulnerable
East deals

  Q 7 2
Q J 2
K Q J 10 5

7 5

J 10 9 8
A 6 3
4 3
A Q 10 2
6 5 4
9 8 5 4
9 8 6
K 4 3
  A K 3
K 10 7

A 7 2
J 9 8 6 


West North East South
Pass 3NT Pass Pass



 Eddie Kantar's style is light but his approach is thorough. Here's Eddie's (condensed) analysis of today's excerpted deal.

J collects the deuce, four, and king. Declarer leads the 7.


 What do you (West) know?


 Declarer must hold the A (4 HCP) because he hasn't attacked that suit. Could partner hold A43? Count points.


 Between you and dummy there are 22. If declarer has 15 (a minimum), East can have no more than 3, so East can't have the A. East can hold the K, but then declarer will hold the KJ. If you follow low and partner wins and shifts to a club, you can still take only two clubs (unless declarer's two honours are doubleton) and two hearts without setting up declarer's ninth winner.

 Since you can't realistically defeat the contract if partner has the K, why not play him for the K instead? Win the A (don't let declarer steal the ninth trick from under your nose!) and shift to the 2. A good partner will produce the K and return a club. Sometimes, the suit you want partner to lead so badly is the very suit you should be leading yourself."