ABTA: Home of the American Bridge Teachers' Association

“To help those who teach bridge to do it better, more effectively, more knowledgeably, more professionally.”


Lesson 1

Here are some hands that I teach in the first lesson.

Hand #1

West   East
♠K76   ♠QJ
AK964   Q753
J6   AKQ7
♣Q97   ♣1043


West North East South
1 Pass 2* Pass
2NT Pass 4  

*If they play Jacoby 2 NT, then 2NT is correct bid

This hand is a huge eye-opener for students. Even though it is the most basic of all defence hands, they lead the ♣A and continue with the ♣K every time. I tell them that when they lead an ace, they must watch to see what partner's attitude is. Partner will always smile or frown. A low card is a frown, a high card is a smile. I actually tell them that a high card is a yelling card that screams that you want partner to continue. I also tell them that "low means no." On this hand, they can figure out what to switch to, since diamonds cannot be right and partner gets in and must lead back a club. I tell them that if partner does not return partner's lead, then they should get a new partner. I often teach that when they cannot work out what to do, work out what NOT to do. I also make them lead the ♠9 (top of nothing) so this hand contains a lot of info. (I teach BOSTON at that time. Bottom of something and top of nothing.) But they need to know that a sequence takes precedence over BOSTON.

Hand #2

West   East
♠J72   ♠43
AKJ4   Q92
765   AQ108
♣J54   ♣9763
  ♣ A2  


South North
1♠ 2♠
all pass  

On this hand, which must follow Hand #1, they will always go wrong. They now signal high-low in hearts (since you have just taught them high-low on hand #1.)

East then finds themselves on lead at trick #3. (By the way you have to make them lead from the top when partner signals high-low or they think they can lead small at trick #2 since they know partner has the queen. Oh dear, partner could have had 92 doubleton so you have to teach them that.)

So you tell them they must put on their spectacles, the ones that are good for long distance vision, and recognize that they have to take six tricks to beat this contract. They have to turn their heads 90 degrees to the right and check out dummy at trick #1. This way they play two hearts at trick #1 and partner finds the diamond shift. You have to teach them how to work out to lead the diamond and not a club.

They also need to know that two diamonds does not say, "And by the way lead a diamond." It only says DO NOT lead any more hearts.

After the shift to diamonds, East wins and leads back small heart. West wins hearts and leads back another diamond. East cashes the third diamond, cashes the queen of hearts and now (already down one) leads the final diamond (13th). West's jack of spades scores a trick on trump promotion. Down two.

Remember you have let them play this whole hand first and they have all made it. Then lay out hands and go through every move.

MAKE SURE you check auction after allowing them a few moments to bid on their own
MAKE SURE you check opening lead also or all is lost and a waste of time.

West   East
♠642   ♠A7
10954   J8732
A4   K832
♣J642   ♣A5


East South West North
1 Pass 2* Dbl
Pass 2♠ all pass  

West leads ace diamonds. East encourages. West leads another diamond. East wins and must resist urge to lead another diamond. After all, his mission is to get six tricks for his side. SIX! So he now plays ace clubs. I tell them that their partner now plays the two clubs. (Very annoyed he is.) This is the one and only time that you ignore partner. You continue with a club. Declarer wins and draws trumps. You hop up with ace of trump and give partner a ruff (partner says under his breath, "It's about time!!" and now leads back a club.) Down one.

West   East
♠Q109   ♠AK4
K1052   AQJ97
KQJ9   1043
♣J2   ♣95


East West
1 3*

South leads the king of clubs. North must overtake it and lead the ace of diamonds. Club back to South and diamond ruff.

They will leave this lesson very excited. It is the hands. All Eddie Kantar's. Fun stuff. Email Eddie at kantarbridge@gmail.com for more of his hands.

Stay tuned for my follow-up article where I provide even more hands, and discuss printing while aboard a cruise ship, prizes and behavior.