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Bridge Problem 256 for May 2011

How should West play Three Notrumps on an unopposed auction? North leads a heart.

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

Answer to Bridge problem 256

You have to win the first lead in dummy and need to set up the clubs. If you play a low club to the ten and that wins there are insufficient entries to dummy to set up clubs even when they are 3-2. If you play the queen or jack of clubs from dummy you will fail when the clubs are 4-1. You can improve your chances by entering hand with the ace of spades at trick two and playing a club from hand. Should North prove to hold singleton ace or king you will be able to play low from dummy and use the two diamond entries to establish clubs. If North plays low you have to overtake and hope the clubs break.

Should South win the first club and play another spade you cover his lead and the nine protects you from losing three spade tricks.

Non-prize problem for May 2011

After two Passes East opens a weak Two in Diamonds and South overcalls Four Hearts to end the auction. West leads a diamond. East makes two diamond tricks and then switches to a club. How do you play? Trumps break 2-2.

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

Answer to non-prize problem

Morten Andersen was declarer on this deal from the 1997 Politiken World Pairs in Denmark. The club switch was likely to be a singleton and the spade honours to be divided. Could West be squeezed? Andersen won the ace of clubs, drew trumps in two rounds, and exited with the spade jack.

West held A 10 9 4. If he played low he would certainly be squeezed later so he went up with the ace. However, he was now endplayed in an unusual way. He was forced to exit with a middle spade. Declarer covered in dummy and ruffed out East’s king. This transferred the spade menace to West so when the trumps were cashed West was squeezed in the black suits.

West held: A 10 9 4  J 6  8 7 3  J 9 8 4

This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.