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Problem 246 for July 2010

How should West play Six Diamonds after the bidding shown below where North has opened a weak two in hearts? North leads 10

K 5  
A 9 8 5 3  
A K J 10 9 3  
A J 10 8 7


Q 2

A 9 8 7 6

West     North                East                  South

            2                   Pass                  Pass

5       Pass                  6                   All Pass

Answer to Prize problem 246

Hopefully North, who has six hearts, has at most two clubs. You play low from dummy at trick one, and ruff low in hand. You play one high trump from hand to see if they are 5-0. If both follow you play ace of hearts and ruff a heart high then a second low club ruffing in hand. Then you run all the trumps throwing clubs from the dummy. You finish by playing K and finessing j. This loses to South but provided he is out of red cards he must concede the rest to dummy.

If the trumps are 5-0 (suppose North has 5) you assume he has led a singleton club and return to hand with a spade to the king continuing as before.

Non-prize problem for July 2010

West is in Four Hearts at Pairs on the lead of 2 after the bidding shown below. The opponents, playing Standard American, lead 3rd and fifth. What is South’s shape and how do you play for maximum tricks?

            South                West                 North                East

            1                  1                   3                   4

            Pass                  4                   All Pass

3 was pre-emptive and 4 a splinter

        5 4  
        A K 5 2  
        A 2  
        K J 10 8 4  
         A K 10

         J 9 8 6 4 3

         Q 9 8 5


Answer to non-prize problem

This deal is from the 1999 Life Masters Pairs at the ACBL Fall Nationals. Eddie Wold, partnering George Rosenkranz, worked out South’s shape must be 4-3-3-3. Reasoning: North has shown five clubs so South has three, the spades must be 4-4 because neither opponent has bid the suit, and West cannot have more than three diamonds or he would have opened that rather than 1. Therefore he has three hearts.

So Wold discarded a diamond from dummy on the opening lead and later crossed to the top spades to lead the J for a finesse. Result: 12 tricks and 68/77 matchpoints.

South held: Q J 7 2  Q 10 7  K 6 3  A 5 3

This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.