Christmas Bridge Problem 263 for December 2011

At Teams how should West play:

(a)    Six Spades? (b) Six Diamonds? (c) Six Notrumps?

In each case, North leads Q. The diamonds are 4-1.

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

An answer to Bridge problem 263

(a)    You need the spades 3-2 but don’t need to take any finesses. Draw two rounds of trumps, cash diamonds throwing a club and heart from dummy and cross-ruff. The defense makes only their top trump when they please.

(b)    You need one of two finesses. Win the lead in hand, draw trumps throwing a small black card from dummy, and take the ruffing finesse in hearts, throwing spades from hand. If South covers, ruff with your last trump and lead a low club from hand to set up the twelfth trick. If the heart loses to North you will need the club finesse later after cashing dummy’s remaining winners.

(c)    Win the lead in hand and cross to a diamond for a club finesse. If that wins you can simply concede a heart. If the club finesse loses you must rely on North having the K and the long spades.  Suppose North switches to a heart. The finesse wins, you cash the ace throwing a spade and run minor suit winners to squeeze North. Had North continued spades you win and cash the minor suit winners at once to squeeze North.

A non-prize problem for December 2011


How should West play Three Notrumps? North leads a diamond to South’s jack and West’s queen.

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

An answer to a non-prize problem

From the 1991 European Women’s Pairs in Killarney.  One idea is to cross to dummy to lead a low spade hoping to sneak past the queen with South. That does not work. If you start on either major South wins and clears the diamonds to beat the game. South held:

 A Q 3    J 10 9 6 2    J 7 5 3   4

Sandra Penfold made her contract by cashing all four clubs immediately. South threw a heart and spade early but was then forced to release a diamond. Now Penfold played on spades and ducked South’s diamond switch. The defensive communications were cut so declarer was able to set up the spades.

This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.