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.

Problem 1

4 H South
E-W Vul
S A 10 9 8
H Q 4 3 2
D J 4 3
C 4 3
West

2 D
All Pass
North

2 H
East

Pass
South
1 H
4 H
Lead: D KTableEast plays D 6
S Q J
H A K 7 6 5
D A 2
C K 10 9 6

After winning D A, how do you play?
(West has one trump)

A. Win H Q-K-A; run S Q
B. Win H Q-K-A; lead D 2
C. Run the S Q
D. Lead the D 2


Solution

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

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Problem 2

4 H South
Both Vul
S A 10 3
H Q 4 3 2
D 5 4 3
C K 4 3
West

Pass
Pass
North
Pass
2 H
4 H
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 H
2 NT
Lead: H JTableEast plays H 8
S K 4 2
H A K 7 6 5
D Q 6
C A 8 2

A. Win H A-K-Q; lead S 3
B. Win H A-K-Q; lead D 3
C. Win H A-K-Q; lead C 3
D. Win H A; lead D Q


Solution

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

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Problem 3

4 H South
None Vul
S A 10 7 2
H Q 4 3 2
D 8 5 4 3
C Q
West

Pass
All Pass
North

3 H
East

Pass
South
1 H
4 H
Lead: C A
then C J
TableEast plays C 4
then C 5
S K 9 8
H A K 7 6 5
D 6 2
C K 3 2

Yes, 4 H is a gross overbid, but
you need the challenge!

A. Pitch S, win C K; H A-K-Q
B. Pitch S, win C K; lead D 6
C. Pitch D, win C K; H A-K-Q
D. Pitch D, win C K; lead S 9


Solution

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

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© 2004 Richard Pavlicek