Bridge Problem 258 for July 2011
How should West play 3NT? North leads a spade.
An answer to Bridge problem 258
Safest is to win in dummy and play a low club to the ten. If this wins the second club should set up the suit. If the first club loses to the jack West can win a red suit switch in hand (ducking a low heart switch from South) and play on clubs losing at most two hearts and two clubs.
Playing a high club from dummy fails when South has ♣ A J x and holds up. Coming to hand with a diamond at trick two to run the ten of clubs risks South winning the jack and knocking out dummy’s entry before the clubs are established.
A non-prize problem for July 2011
West reached Four Spades at Pairs when 3NT would have been better. North led the ♠10. Declarer won in dummy and led the trump 9, covered by South’s jack, North following suit. A diamond was won by the defense who cashed two top clubs and exited with a diamond. How did declarer continue?
An answer to a non-prize problem
The full deal, from the 1986 Marbella Pairs was:
The declarer, West, in Four Spades, was the 81-year old Joel Tarlo. After ♠10 lead and the ♠9 covered by South Tarlo was convinced South held the remaining trumps. After the defense had cashed a diamond and two clubs and excited to declarer’s jack of diamonds, Tarlo finessed the heart ten to gain an extra entry to dummy, ruffed a winning club to reduce his trumps to the same length as South, and returned to dummy with a heart to the king.
Declarer was down to two hearts and two trumps and dummy held a winner in each minor. Declarer tried the diamond first, throwing a heart when South followed suit. Then came the winning club. If South ruffed either winner West could over-ruff and draw the last trump. When South followed suit again Tarlo ditched his last heart and was in dummy to pick up South’s trumps with a trump coup.
As the cards lie Tarlo could have overtaken the second diamond to ruff a diamond, and then follow with ace and king of hearts to play clubs. This avoids the heart finesse but fails when South is 4-2-2-5 as he ditches a heart on the third diamond.
This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.