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Subj:.....Other Bridge Challenge #3 (S547c)
          From Levels 1M and 1A Hands

          From: Bridge Master 2000 
          in Audrey Grant's Better Bride Edition
          From the CD by Bridge Base Inc
          at bbi@bridg3base.com

..
1. Hand M-110
 
. A K Q J
8 7 6 5
K 5
6 5 4
 
4 3 2
A K J 10 9
A 2
K 3 2

West leads the Jack of Diamonds and the contract is 4 Hearts.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

You can to affort three loses.  You have no Spade or Diamonds losers, but the Queen of Hearts is missing and there are three possible Club losers.  With nine cards in Hearts, the normal play is to take the Ace and King of Hearts and hope that the Queen drops.  However, there is more to this hand, and the correct play is to take the Heart finesse.

To understand why, you must take a closer look at the entire hand, and especially at the possibilities of eliminating some Club losers.  You can lead a Club from the dummy and hope East has the Ace of Clubs.  Or you could discard a losing Club on dummy's extra Spade winner.  The first method requires the Ace of Clubs to be favorably located.  The second method is a sure thing, provided the opponents trumps are drawn first.

Since discarding a Club is a sure way to make the contract, it seem you should just plan to draw trump and discard a loser.  There is a danger.  If East starts with three hearts including the Queen, he will be able to lead a Club when he wins the Queen of Hearts - East is a dangerous opponent.  East can lead a Club, and if West has the Ace of Clubs, your King is trapped.  You lost three Club tricks, in addition to the trump trick.

On the other hand, if you lose a trump trick to West, there is no danger.  West can take the Ace of Clubs, but your King of Clubs will be able to win the next trick.  After drawing the remaining trump, you can safely discard your other club loser on the extra Spade winner.

The safest play is to win the Ace of Diamonds, and take a trick in Hearts in case one of the opponents has the singleton Queen of Hearts.  If the Queen of Hearts does not appear, use one of your dummy entries to go to the board, and lead a heart toward your hand.  If East plays small, you play the Jack of Hearts.

If West wins the Queen of Hearts, he can do no dammage.  You will be able to discard a Club loser, and make your contract.
 


 

2. Hand A-8
 
. A 5 4 3 2
A K Q
A 3 2
J 2
 
K Q 9 8
J 3 2
K Q J
A K Q
.
Bidding: West

Pass

North

7 NT

East

All Pass

South
2 NT
.
West leads the ten of Hearts and the contract is 7 No Trump.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

Three tricks are available from each of Hearts, Diamond, and Clubs.  Four tricks are required in Spades.  If the Spades break 2-2 or 3-1, the Jack and the ten will fall to the Ace, King, and Queen making the nine of Spades high.

If the Spades break 4-0 in the West hand, the contract is doomed, but if the Spades break 4-0 in the East hand, the contract can still be made.  Win West's opening lead in dummy.  When East has all four Spades, it is necessary to cash dummy's Ace of Spades first.  If West shows out, you can still finesse East.

A Spade is now let through East.  East may play his Jack or ten, but he is still helpless.  South can cross back to dummy (It is important to not have cashed all the Hearts and Clubs.) and a finesse position remains over East's Hearts.

Therefore the correct play is to lead the Ace of Spades first, guarding against East having all four Spades.
 


 

3. Hand A-16
 
. J 5 4
4 3 2
A K 4
A 4 3 2
 
A K 3 2
A K
Q 3 2
K Q J 10
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass

North

2 Diamonds
6 NT

East

Pass
All Pass

South
2 Clubs
2 NT
.

West leads the Jack of Hearts and the contract is 6 No Trump.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?

Answer.
 

After winning the first South sees that he has 11 tricks (2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 3 Diamonds, and 4 Clubs).  Only the Spade suit offers hope for the 12 trick.  South should cash the Ace, or King of Spades and lead a low Spade toward North's Jack of Spades.  If West follows low, play the Jack.  The Jack of Spades will be worth a trick when ever the Queen is in West's hand.  If the Jack loses to East's Queen, the contract will still make if the suit breaks 3-3.
 


 

4. Hand A-19
 
. 4 3 2
A K J
A K 10
J 4 3 2
 
K Q J
Q 3 2
4 3 2
A K Q 5
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass

North

4 NT
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 NT
6 NT
.
West leads the ten of Spades and the contract is 5 No Trump.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

East Takes the first trick with the Ace of Spades and returns a Spade.  South has 11 top tricks (2 Spades, 3 Hearts, 2 Diamonds, and 4 Clubs).  The onlu suit that offers a chance for the twelfth trick is Diamonds.  Dummy's ten must take a trick.  The contract can be made by a double finesse of West for both the Queen and Jack of Diamonds.

South should lead a Diamond toward the dummy.  If West plays small, play the ten of Diamonds.  If West plays the Jack or Queen, North wins the trick.  Then return to South's hand and lead another Diamond.  Again play the ten if West plays a small Diamond.

South should not cash too many tricks before leading Diamonds.  Diamonds will have to be lead twice from South's hand.
 


 

5. Hand A-22
 
. 9 8 7
3 2
K 6 5 4
5 4 3 2
 
A K Q J 10
6 5 4
A 3 2
A K
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass
Pass

North

2 Diamonds
3 Spades
Pass

East

Pass
Pass
Pass

South
2 Clubs
2 Spades
4 Spades
.
West leads the Queen of Clubs and the contract is 4 Spades.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

South has 9 top tricks (5 Spades, 2 Diamonds, and 2 Clubs).  South could potentially win a third trick in Diamonds if they break 3-3.  If the defender's diamonds break 4-2, this approach fails.

South has a nearly certain of getting a tenth trick by trumping a Heart in the dummy.  South must lose two heart tricks before drawing trump.

After winning the first trick, South leads a Heart.  After seeing what South is doing, defense will lead trump at every opportunity, but South is one step ahead.  By the time he has made North void in Hearts, North will still have a trump remaining to take care of South's third losing Heart.  A diamond trick must be surrender at the end, but the contract is secure.

Note that a trump lead would have put the defenders ahead in the race to exhaust North's trump.
 


 

6. Hand A-25
 
. 4 3 2
3 2
K Q J 10 9 8
K 2
 
Q J 10 9
A K
A 3 2
10 9 8 7
.
Bidding: West

Pass

North
2 Diamonds
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
South
3 Nt
.
West leads the Queen of Hearts and the contract is 3 NT.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

South has 8 top tricks (2 Hearts, and 6 Diamonds).  South does not have time to setup his ninth trick in Spades.  By the time a Spade trick is setup, the defense will be in a position to cash at least 3 heart tricks.  3 Heart tricks and the Ace and King of Spades will defeat the contract.

South must therefore look to Clubs for his ninth trick.  If South leads a Club at trick two toward North's, a Club trick can be taken anytime West has the Ace.  This is another form of the simple finesse.

It would be a mistake to take all of dummies Diamonds before leading the Club.  The lead would end up in the wrong hand to take the Club finesse.  South's only remaining entry would be in Hearts.  Once South's second Heart stopper was gone, West would simply take his Ace of Clubs when the suit was lead and cash his Hearts and Spades.
 
 

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These are six examples from the CD, "Bridge Master 2000".
Buy Audrey's CD, it will improve your bridge game.

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