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Bridge Problem 254 for March 2011

West opens a 15-17 1NT and East gambles a raise to 3NT. How should West play Three Notrumps playing Teams against competent opposition? North leads the king of hearts, and continues with the queen when West holds up, South showing an odd number of hearts.

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

Answer to Bridge problem 254

The only genuine chance is that South has the bare ace of clubs, preventing the hold-up. Declarer should win the second heart to prevent a diamond switch, and then play a low club from both hands! If South has to win declarer can later finesse the ten of clubs.

Note that where South does have the bare ace of clubs with a doubleton heart and declarer ducked the second heart South could jettison his ace of clubs on the third heart to create an entry for North holding J 9 8 7!

Non-prize problem for March 2011

How should West play Four Hearts on unopposed bidding 1-2-3-4? North leads two top spades, South wins the first trump and exits with a trump, both defenders following.

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

Answer to non-prize problem

This deal is from the 1995 Cavendish Invitation Pairs. Robb Gordon made Four Hearts by using dummy’s trump entry to ruff the third spade and then playing a club to the king and a club to the ten.

North held: A K 5 4  9 6  Q 10 9 4 2  Q 2

and was endplayed with his doubleton club honour.

This line was a successful extra chance and still heavy odds-on. If North could exit with a club either they would be 3-3, or if North held four clubs, then the diamond finesse was favourite to win.

This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.