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Subj:.....Other Bridge Challenge #4 (S548c)
          From Levels 1A, 2 and 3 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 A-28
 
. K 8 7
A 5 4 3
4 3 2
8 7 6
 
A Q J 10 9
K 2
A K
5 4 3 2
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass

North

2 Spades
Pass

East

Pass
Pass

South
1 Spade
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 Hearts and 2 Clubs).  South needs to generate a tenth trick.  South's only possible losers are in Diamonds.  Unfortunately there are four possible Diamond losers.

After winning the first trick, if South immediately draws trump, the defens may be in position to take four Diamond tricks if they break 4-2.  South should delay playing trumps and lead a Diamond at trick two with the aim of ruffing South's fourth Diamond in dummy.

Defense may try to counter by leading Spades but the contract may still succeed.  If the defender with long Diamonds has only two Spades, he will have no trumps to play after winning the third Diamond lead.

If it turns out the Diamonds were 3-3 all along, South's long Diamond will be good.  There will be no need to ruff it in dummy.
 


 

2. Hand A-32
 
. A K 3 2
A K 3 2
6 5 4
Q
 
6 5
6 5 4
A 3 2
A J 10 9 8
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass

North
1 Spade
2 Hearts
3 NT
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 Nt
2 NT
.
West leads the five of Clubs, dummy plays the Queen and East plays low.  The contract is 3 No Trump.  Which line of play will give you the best chance of making your contract?
 

Answer.
 

South is fortunate to have escaped a Diamond lead.  West's choice of a Club, gives South a second Club trick.  That along with 2 tricks in Spades, 2 in Hearts, and the Ace of Diamonds, brings South's total to seven tricks.

Dummy's Spades may provide a trick or two baring a bad break.  The contract can be ensured, without depending on Spades.  South should turn his attention to Clubs where the King is the only high card out.

On most deals, South would be thrilled to win the first trick with a singleton Queen in the dummy.  On this deal, if South lets dummy's Queen hold, the contract will be in danger.

South requires two hand entries, one to knock out the King of Clubs and another to cash the long Clubs.  Unfortunately, there is only one outside entry, the Ace of Diamonds.

South must overtake the Queen of Clubs at trick one with the Ace.  After the King is dislodged, the Ace of Diamonds is an entry to the long Clubs.
 


 

3. Hand Level 2 - 32
 
. 3 2
A 6 5 4 3
Q J
J 10 9 8
 
A K 10 9 8 7
2
3 2
A K Q 2
.
Bidding: West

Pass

North

4 Spades

East

All Pass

South
1 Spade
.
You lose the first two tricks in Diamonds.  West took
the second trick and returned the Jack of Hearts.  The
contract is 4 Spades.  Which line of play will give
you the best chance of making your contract?

Answer.
 

Dummy wins the third trick with the Ace of Hearts.  South must hold his trump losers to one to make the contract.  If the trumps break 3-2, or either opponent has a singleton honor in trumps,  South can succeed easily by playing trumps from the top.  With careful play, South can guard against East having four trumps including the Queen and Jack.

South should lead a trump from dummy and play the Ace or King.  While finessing on the first round would pick up four Spades to the Queen and Jack in Easts hand, South would not be confortable if the finesse loses.  In this case, South would have to guess if he should finesse Spades again on the next round.

When both defenders follow with small Spades, South should cross to dummy in Clubs before leading a second Spade.  When East follows small, South finesses guarding against East holding all of the remaining Spades.

This line of play is not without danger, West might be able to win the second Spade trick and give East a Club ruff.  So it is possible that the recommended safety play will defeat the contract when the trumps break 3-2.

The chances of East holding a singleton Club along with West holding a doubleton Spade honor are not as good as East holding four Spades to the Queen and Jack.  South should therefore take the safety play in trumps.
 


 

4. Hand Level 3 - 31
 
. A 6 5
Q J 10
5 4 3 2
Q J 10
 
4 3 2
A K
A K 9 8 7 6
A K
.
Bidding: West
2 Spades
Pass
Pass
Pass
North
Pass
2 NT
3 Spades
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
Dbl
3 Diamonds
5 Diamonds
.
West leads the King of Spades and the contract is 6 Diamonds.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

There is nothing to be gained by ducking the first trick, particularly since West is likely to have six Spades for his weak 2 opener.  Dummy's Ace wins the first trick.  Dummy has two extra winners, that can take care of South's two Spade loosers.  Unfortunately, dummy's only entry, the Ace of Spades, was driven out by West's opening lead.

South must enlist the defender's help in reaching dummy's stranded winners.  South should lead a trump to the hand noting that both defenders followed.  There is only one trump out which South can draw with his remaining high Diamond.  If South draws trump, he will have no way of getting rid of his two Spade losers.  South should leave the last outstanding trump and cash his outside winners in Hearts and Clubs.  South now exits with a low Diamond, giving up an unnecessary trump trick.

This strange looking play is rewarded when East turns up with the outstanding trump.  East has no more Spades and is forced to give dummy the lead in Hearts or Clubs.  South uses dummy's two winners to discard his two Spade losers.

If it turns out that West has the second trump (unlikely in view of West's known Spade length), the contract will be down an extra trick.  This is a risk worth taking for the chance of making a slam.

The correct play would have been much easier to see if East had started with all three Diamonds.  On that layout South always has a trump loser making it far easier to surrender a trump trick (after cashing South's winners in hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs).  It is much harder when East has only two Diamonds and South has to intentionally lose an unnecessary trump trick to succeed.
 


 

5. Hand Level 3 - 34
 
. A 3 2
A k 10 9 8
3 2
7 6 5
 
Q J 5 4
3 2
A K
A K 4 3 2
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass
Pass

North

1 Heart
2 Diamonds
Pass

East

Pass
Pass
Pass

South
1 Club
1 Spade
3 NT
.
West leads the Queen of Diamonds and the contract is 3 No Trump.
Which line of play will give you the best chance of making
your contract?
 

Answer.
 

There are 7 top trickis, the Ace of Spades, 2 Hearts, 2 Diamonds and 2 Clubs.  Spades, Hearts, and Clubs all have potential to provide the two additional tricks that South needs.

As the defense is threatening to establish and run the Diamonds, South would ideally like to test the various suits without losing the lead.

After winning West's Diamond opening lead, South should begin by cashing the Ace and King of Clubs.  If both opponents follow, South can surrender a club trick thereby establishing the two extra tricks that are needed.

When Clubs are 4-1, South tries the Hearts next, cashing the Ace and King.  If the Jack or Queen appear, South can give up a Heart trick.  Dummy will have two extra Heart winners and the Ace of Spades as an entry.

When nothing good happens in Hearts, South must turn his attention to Spades.  In order to guard against East holding four or more Spades to the King, South should lead a low Spade toward his hand.  If South wins this trick, he can cross to the Ace of Spades in order to lead Spades down again.

Notice that if South had tested Hearts before Clubs, he would have ended up in the closed hand.  He would then deny himself the entries to lead Spades twice toward his hand.
 


 

6. Hand Level 3 - 36
 
. A Q 5
A K 9 5 4
J 3 2
3 2
 
4 3 2
3 2
A K Q 10
A K Q J
.
Bidding: West

Pass
Pass

North

1 Heart
6 NT

East

Pass
All Pass

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

Answer.
 

South has 11 top tricks, the Ace of Spades, 2 Hearts, 4 Diamonds, and 4 Clubs.  Either a 3-3 Heart break or a successful Spade finesse will see South home.  South should aim to succeed if either major suits lies favorably.

After winning West's Club opening lead, if South tries the Spades first and the finesse loses it will be too late to play the hearts.

South should therefore play on the Hearts first.  Souths plan should be to duck an early heart trick.  After regaining the lead, South tests Hearts and falls back on the Spade finesse if the Hearts do not break.

It is important to try to duck the Heart trick to East.  If West was to gain the lean in Hearts, he would return a Spade, forcing South to decide on whether or not to finesse in Spades before testing hearts.  Proper avoidance technique invikves utilizing dummy's nine of Hearts in the attempt to keep West off the lead.

South begins by leading a small Heart towards the dummy.  If West follows small, the nine of Hearts is played, forcing East to win the trick.  If West produces a Heart higher than the nine, dummy must win the trick.  South then crosses back to his hand (with anything but the ten of Diamonds) for a second Heart play.

If West is able to produce another Heart higher than the nine, South will have to guess how to proceed.  When West follows small, however, the nine is played and East wins.  After regaining the lead, South can cross to the Jack of Diamonds (with the preserved ten), test Hearts, and later take the Spade finesse if the Hearts are 4-2.
 

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

I placed these Bridge Challenges on my web site to help beginning bridge players with the basics on the play of the hands and to show them good books and CDs that would improve their game.  Bridge Master 2000's hands are well beyond the beginning level at this point in the CD.  It's time to find another book to sample.  Thank you Audry for some wonderful bridge problems.

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