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By: Eric Kokish and Beverly Kraft

Originally Published in The Toronto Star, August 25, 1999

If youíre interested in learning bridge and have Internet access, head for, the Web site of the American Contract Bridge League. You will find directions for downloading a free program that will teach you how to play bridge.

Torontoís Fred Gitelman, who has developed superior bridge software for nearly a decade, wrote and designed the program, Learn To Play Bridge, with step by step instructions featuring interactive quizzes and exercises, emphasizing the play of the cards.

Opening lead: K

In his pushy 4 contract, declarer won the A and led a club to the Q. Eastís K was a blow, but when a high diamond came back, declarer was still alive. He ruffed in dummy, cashed the A, and led a spade to the 9 and K, certain it would lose to Westís A. West played ... a ďsafeĒ third club. Declarer ruffed, ruffed a diamond, came to a high trump and ruffed his last diamond with the A. There were two trumps out, but declarer could not afford another round as it was essential to retain a trump in each hand. He called for a spade.

If Eastís J were permitted to hold he would have to concede a ruff-and-discard. If West overtook the J with his Q, however, he would establish a natural spade trick for declarer. At this point, there was no defense to declarerís partial elimination.

Kraft: Very pretty, but donít you think that our expert defenders should have done something more effective in spades?

Kokish:Yes. East had an early blind spot; if declarer had two spade honours, staying off spades would not gain. West, playing reverse count signals, could identify the 9 as a singleton or from J9 doubleton but not from 984 (declarer would lead a spade to the J with KJ doubleton). West may have believed that his partner would hot have a trump to ruff the third spade, but a small spade return really could not lose.

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