Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeIllustrative Hands/Sample Questions

Illustrative Hands/Sample Questions for Master Teacher Candidates

These 9 problems are representative of the bridge questions that are asked in a Master Teacher Interview. Questions presented at the interview must be answered based on the bridge knowledge of the candidate without consulting any resources.

Example #1

* strong, artificial
** 2nd negative no control

Assume IMPS or rubber bridge:

(a) What is you play to the first trick?

(b) What is you plan for defending?


Your 10 could be the key to defeating this slam. The bidding and partner’s opening lead indicate that declarer might need to ruff a heart to make the contract. Forget third hand high at trick one. Save your 10 so you can overruff!

Declarer’s hand:

Example #2

Partner leads the A K followed by the 2, which you trump with the 6. What do you lead at trick four and why?

ANSWER: Partner’s 2 should be a suit preference signal asking for a heart return. Lead the 10. When switching to a new suit later in the hand, the lead of a low card expresses interest in having that suit returned. Lead high when you would prefer a different lead. You need a spade through dummy’s K to set 3D two.

Declarer’s hand:

Example #3

After West’s fourth best 6 lead, you play the 7 from dummy and East plays the J. Assume Rubber Bridge or IMPS where you want to make the safest play for your contract. Discuss your options and plan as declarer, giving reasons for your plays.

After West’s fourth best 6 lead, you play the 7 from dummy and East plays the J. Assume Rubber Bridge or IMPS where you want to make the safest play for your contract. Discuss your options and plan as declarer, giving reasons for your plays.

The Rule of Eleven tells South that East has played his only card higher than the 6 at trick one. You know West holds the A K 9. The diamond suit is a concern if West has a fifth diamond. You have a second diamond stopper as long as West leads diamonds. You do not have a second stopper if East leads through the 10 4 3 left in your hand after winning the Q at trick one. This makes East the dangerous opponent and West the safe opponent. You want to take the finesse that will avoid letting the dangerous opponent in. This means playing the dangerous opponent for the missing high card (remember, you don’t care if this finesse wins or loses as long as East doesn’t gain the lead). Finesse East for the J and you will make your contract.

The defenders’ cards are:

Example #4

You win the opening lead with the ªA. Explain your plan for making 4H. (Assume normal distributions.)

ANSWER: You have one diamond loser and possibly three club losers. You must play to avoid a club loser. Don’t touch clubs yourself. Draw trump in two rounds, ending in dummy. Ruff a spade. Play the K and A, ruff a spade. Then give up a diamond. Whichever opponent gains the lead is endplayed and must lead clubs or give you a ruff/sluff. If West gets in and leads a club, let the lead ride around to the king. If East gets in instead, let the lead ride around to the jack (unless East leads the Q, which you must cover). In clubs the opponents can take at most the club A and Q as long as they break the suit.

The defenders’ hands are:

Example #5

* A 3S limit raise is also possible

Trick 1: You cover the Q. East plays the A.

Trick 2: East shifts to the 10, which you win with the A. West follows with the 7.

Trick 3: You draw trump with the A. West follows and East discards the 2.

Trick 4: You lead the 5. LHO plays the 4 and East wins the 9.

Trick 5: East leads the 5. What will you play to this trick and why? Assume you are playing against competent opponents.

ANSWER: The key is West’s play to the second club trick. West is marked with a high club but wanted East on lead – probably to lead a heart to West’s king. If West did not hold the K, he should have won trick 5 with a high club and led a heart through dummy’s ace. Declarer should play the 10 and hope that West does not also have the J.

The defenders’ hands are:

Example #6

How do you plan to make 1C?

ANSWER: The spade lead gives you a third spade trick with the jack. You have four more tricks in the red suits. Your best bet is to play on clubs at every opportunity, giving the defenders the tricks they have coming and preventing them from gaining extra tricks by ruffing.

The defenders’ hands:

On a diamond switch, East can get one diamond ruff but he will ruff your diamond loser, not a winner. By the time West can lead a second diamond, East is out of trump. If declarer plays even one high diamond before drawing trumps, 1C goes down.

Example #7

An old-fashioned auction gets you to 4H. LHO leads the K, won by Dummy’s A. You cash 2 high trumps revealing a trump loser with your LHO. How will you proceed to make 4H? Assume IMPS or Rubber Bridge.

ANSWER: Finesse for a contract only as a last resort. If you cash the A and finesse Dummy’s J, losing to RHO’s Q, the defense cashes the Q and switches to spades. Dummy wins the ªA, but when you play the K, intending to subsequently discard your losing 6, LHO ruffs and leads a spade for one down. You lose one trick in each suit.

To take a winning frame of mind, you should NOT finesse the J. If successful, it means merely an overtrick. First, assume a normal 3-2 club split. (That’s more likely than a successful club finesse.) DO think to establish clubs for a Spade discard, but be willing to accept the loss of a club trick in that process.

After the 2 high trumps, cash your K and A and surrender a club. LHO then gets the Q and shifts to the K, but too late. Win it in Dummy and play the good J, enabling you to discard your losing 6 while LHO ruffs with his high trump. A loser-on-loser play! Correct timing in play of the club suit saves the day!

The defenders’ hands are:

Example #8

A) What is the safest play for TWO tricks with this holding?

North A J 5 4
South 10 6 3 2

B) What is the safest play for THREE tricks with this holding?
North A J 3 2
South K 9 5 4


A) Win the ace. Then either lead low to the 10, or come to South to lead low toward the jack. That play caters to K Q x x in either opponent’s hand as well as a singleton honor.

B) Lead the 4 to the ace and then lead the 2, inserting the 9 if second hand follows. This is the safety play for THREE tricks, catering to Q 10 x x in either hand. (If the suit divides 3-2, you always have 3 tricks.)

Example #9

Describe South’s hand as completely as possible and discuss any call that North might make next.

1D Double Pass 1S
Pass 1NT Pass 2S

ANSWER: North doubled and corrected. Typically, this shows a hand too good to have overcalled 1NT immediately. North’s hand is similar to a 1NT overcall but slightly stronger (about 19-21 points).

Since North has already described his hand, South is the captain. South’s 2S bid is intended as signoff. With a good hand and a good spade fit, North might raise to 3S but North will generally pass 2S.