Main   Quiz 7J42 by Richard Pavlicek  

Which Suit First?

As South, can you find the best play in these 4 H contracts? Decide whether you will draw trumps immediately (assume a 3-1 break) and which side suit you will lead first.

1. 4 H South

S A 10 9 8
H Q 4 3 2
D J 4 3
C 4 3
Lead: D KTable
H A K 7 6 5
D A 2
C K 10 9 6


The obvious danger is when East has the S K (the finesse loses) and West has the C A. You would then lose four tricks as soon as East gains the lead. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening. Win the D A, draw trumps ending in your hand, and lead a diamond. West is marked for the queen, so assume he wins it. If he returns a spade, win the ace; pitch your last spade on the D J and lead the S 10 for a ruffing finesse (pitch a club if East plays low). If it loses to West, you are safe with any return.

West held:

S 4-3-2 H 8 D K-Q-10-9-8-7 C A-J-7 2. 4 H South

S A 10 3
H Q 4 3 2
D 5 4 3
C K 4 3
Lead: H JTable
S K 4 2
H A K 7 6 5
D Q 6
C A 8 2


Chances are grim. You have nine easy tricks but no obvious way to make another. Barring a miracle in spades (e.g., Q-J doubleton) the only realistic hope is an elimination play hoping to force an opponent to give you a ruff and discard. Draw trumps ending in dummy, and lead a diamond. Assume a club is returned (nothing matters); win the ace and lose another diamond; next win the C K and ruff the last diamond. Finally, cash the S K-A and exit with a spade. Guess what? It’s your lucky day!

West held:

S Q-J-8-5 H J-10-9 D K-8-7-2 C J-6 3. 4 H South

S A 10 7 2
H Q 4 3 2
D 8 5 4 3
Lead: C A-JTable
S K 9 8
H A K 7 6 5
D 6 2
C K 3 2


Once again, prospects are bleak. If you lead spades, you will almost surely have to lose a spade; then you’ll be set immediately. The best chance is to develop a squeeze. Pitch a spade from dummy as you win the C K and lead a diamond. Your plan is to ruff one diamond, ruff your last club, and lead all your trumps to reach this ending: S A-7 D 8 opposite S K-9-8. If only one person can protect spades and diamonds, you will win the rest.

Bridge is an easy game. Just lead diamonds on every hand (hehe).

West held:

S J-4 H J-9-8 D A-J-7 C A-J-10-9-8 TopMain

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek