Eric Kokish
Eric Kokish

Wikipedia: Eric O. Kokish (born 1947) is a Canadian professional bridge player, writer, and coach from Montreal. Kokish graduated from McGill University.

Kokish has been the coach of Nick Nickell’s professional team for many years. He first worked as coach for the Brazil national team in 1985 and later coached the Indonesia team briefly, a stint interrupted by political unrest in Jakarta. Around the Indonesia job he and his family relocated from Montreal to Toronto.

Kokish was inducted into the ACBL Hall of Fame in 2011. Kokish was inducted into the Canadian Bridge Federation’s Hall of Fame.

IMPs Dealer East. Both Vul

A 7
9 8 4 2
10 9 8
K Q 3 2
K J 10 9 6 2
K J 7
A J
9 4
West North East South
1 2
Pass 21 Pass 2NT
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
Pass

1- Cue bid for clubs

Opening lead: 5

This is a hand for the 1995 Cap Volmac World Top Pairs in the Netherlands. Put yourself in the place of America’s Jeff Meckstroth, in the East seat.

West leads the 5, Larry Cohen, the declarer, plays small from dummy at trick one. Do You win the king or play the nine, trying to keep the defensive lines of communication open? If You win, what do you play now?

3NT is pretty good for N/S after an opening spade bid by East, particularly if played by North with East on play for a likely spade lead. North’s 2cue bid looks more accurate to me that a gentle 3, and two of eight pairs missed this marginal game, one after each of those starts.

At four tables, North was the declarer in 3NT. At three of those tables, East led the J or the K. Declarer had two fast spades and time for an eventual diamond toward the king. At the four of these tables, Andy Robson (Eng) did rather better, he led the K (1 – 2 – P – 2NT – P 3NT) and defeated the contract for a gain of 11 IMPs.

At the others two tables, West led a spade through the ace against South’s 3NT, ducked by declarer. One defender elected to put in the 9, hoping to leave his partner with a second spade should he gain the lead early. Curtains for the defense. Jeff Meckstroth put up the K and switched to the K to scuttle the contract.

There is an important theme here. 3NT needn’t be a wonderful contract. Indeed, you might well prefer to be in 3single dummy. Nevertheless, it’s a vulnerable game that can be sensibly reached and it’s not worth the aggravation to try to do better by daisypicking on a deal that calls for brute force. The par 3contract cost its supporters 5 IMPs each in practice.

The complete deal:

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

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