Bridge Problem 262 for November 2011

Playing a strong notrump West opens One Club, North overcalls 1, East bids 2 West rebids 2NT and East raises to 3NT. How should West play on the lead of 4?

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


Answer to Bridge problem 262

The main danger is losing the diamond finesse and four hearts. The heart overcall is much more likely to be a 5-card suit than four. The pips are such that when declarer plays low from dummy and South puts in the nine or ten West must let this hold. If the lead is from A K 10 4 x it is necessary to play low from both hands.  And if North does hold A K 10 4 only then one must rely on the diamond finesse to win.

If South switches to a spade at trick two West should win and play Q to ensure four diamond tricks even when North has all five. This will cost a trick if North has the bare king but the contract is still safe.

Non-prize problem for November 2011

West opens 1, East raises to 2, South overcalls 3 and West bids 4. How should West play when the defence begin with three rounds of clubs, North starting with 8 4.

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


Answer to non-prize problem

This is a 1995 deal where Bob Richman of Australia was declarer. He decided to play North for the trump queen and so ruffed the third club high. Curiously North, who held:

 K 9 8 3   Q 8 3   Q 9 4 3   8 4

was squeezed in three suits, one of which was trumps!

If he discards a diamond or a trump declarer can pick up trumps with the finesse and has enough trumps to take care of the diamonds. North therefore discarded a spade. Richman ran the heart jack and then played on spades. Later he was able to enter dummy with another heart finesse, draw the last trump, ruff the spades good, and return to dummy with a trump to enjoy the last spade.

This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.