ABTA: Home of the American Bridge Teachers' Association

“To help those who teach bridge to do it better, more effectively, more knowledgeably, more professionally.”



Bridge Problem 258 for July 2011

How should West play 3NT? North leads a spade.

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

Answer to Bridge problem 258

Safest is to win in dummy and play a low club to the ten. If this wins a second club should set up the suit. If the first club loses to the jack West can win a red suit switch in hand (ducking a low heart switch from South) and play on clubs losing at most two hearts and two clubs.

Playing a high club from dummy fails when South has A J x and holds up. Coming to hand with a diamond at trick two to run the ten of clubs risks South winning the jack and knocking out dummy’s entry before the clubs are established.

Non-prize problem for July 2011

West
East

West reached Four Spades at Pairs when 3NT would have been better. North led the 10. Declarer won in dummy and led the trump 9, covered by South’s jack, North following suit. A diamond was won by the defence who cashed two top clubs and exited with a diamond. How did declarer continue?

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

Answer to non-prize problem

The full deal, from the 1986 Marbella Pairs was:

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

The declarer, West, in Four Spades was the 81-year old Joel Tarlo. After 10 lead and the 9 covered by South Tarlo was convinced South held the remaining trumps. After the defence had cashed a diamond and two clubs and exited to declarer’s jack of diamonds, Tarlo finessed the heart ten to gain an extra entry to dummy, ruffed a winning club to reduce his trumps to the same length as South, and returned to dummy with a heart to the king.

Declarer was down to two hearts and two trumps and dummy held a winner in each minor. Declarer tried the diamond first, throwing a heart when South followed suit. Then came the winning club. If South ruffed either winner West could over-ruff and draw the last trump. When South followed suit again Tarlo ditched his last heart and was in dummy to pick up South’s trumps with a trump coup.

As the cards lie Tarlo could have overtaken the second diamond to ruff a diamond, and then follow with ace and king of hearts to play clubs. This avoids the heart finesse but fails when South is 4-2-2-5 as he ditches a heart on the third diamond.                

This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine.