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Subj:.....Watson's Bridge Challenge #1 (S549c)

          From the book 
          "Watson the Play of the Hand at Bridge" 
          Published in 1959 by HarperResource 

1. Chapter IX, Page 79 - Should Dummy play High or Low in the Second Hand?

The contract is in no-trump and West leads a low Spade.  Which card should dummy play with each of the following four Spade suits?  How should South handle these Spade suits to take the most tricks?
. No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
Q 8 Q 8 5 Q 10 5 Q 10 9
A 7 3 A 7 3 A 7 3 A 7 3

Hand No. 1, with Queen-eight in the dummy.  If you play the eight, East will probably play the nine, ten, or Jack, forcing you to win the trick with your Ace, thus permitting the outstanding King to capture dummy's Queen some time later.

Your only chance of making two Spade tricks in the first hand is to play the Queen immediately, hoping that the King lies with West.  If East covers the Queen with the King, you must refuse to win that trick, and also refuse to win the second round of Spades.  In other words, if the Queen does not hold the first trick, you proceed to hold up your Ace.

Hand No. 2, with Queen-eight-five in the dummy.  Now you should not play the Queen.  The better procedure is to play low from Dummy, and, if East plays the nine, ten, or Jack, win the trick with the Ace in your hand.  Thereafter you should try to put East in the lead rather than West, in order to keep West from leading through dummy's guarded Queen.

If West does happen to gain the lead and returns a Spade, you must play your Queen and hope for the best.  If East ever leads a Spade, dummy's guarded Queen becomes a sure trick.

Hand No. 3, with Queen-ten-five in the dummy.  Dummy's holding is a little bit stronger.  Your best play from dummy is the ten, in the hope that it will force the King from East's hand.  You can then win with your Ace, leaving the Queen to control the second round of the suit.  If East covers the ten with the Jack, you are in the same situation as you were in hand No. 2.  You win the Ace, and try to let East lead.

Hand No. 4, with Queen-ten-nine in the dummy.  Here two Spade tricks are practically certain, but there is a chance for you to win three tricks.  In fact, you will probably make three tricks, by playing properly.

You play the nine from dummy and if East plays his King, you win with your Ace.  The Queen-ten in dummy now forms a perfect tenace over West.  All you have to do is lead Spades through West, or let West lead the suit.

The best play, therefore, is the nine from dummy, in the hope that East has the King.  It loses nothing, and stands to gain a trick if East has the King.

2. Chapter IX, Page 81 - Should Dummy play High or Low in the Second Hand?

The contract is in no-trump and West leads a low Diamond.  Which card should dummy play with each of the following three Diamond suits?  How should South handle these Diamond suits to take the most tricks?
. No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
Q 8 5 Q 8 Q 10 5
K 7 3 K 7 3 K 7 3

Hand No. 1, with Queen-eight-five in the dummy.  It should be apparent that to play the Queen will do no good, for if East has the Ace and wins the trick, you are reduced to one stop card in Diamonds.  If West holds the Ace, the Queen will win the trick, but you have seriously endangered your King.  Whenever East obtains the lead, he will return a diamond through your guarded King up to West's Ace, and you will lose several tricks in Diamonds.

The best play is low from Dummy in this situation, on the off-chance that East will play the Ace, giving you two sure tricks in Diamonds.  If East plays some other card, such as the nine, ten, or Jack, you win in your hand with the King.  If West holds the Ace, you are safe.

Hand No. 2, with Queen-eight in the dummy.  To play the eight, won't cause East to play the Ace.  Your only hope of gain is to play dummy's Queen boldly on the first trick.  If East captures the trick with the Ace, you have accomplished nothing, but you have also lost nothing.  What is more important, if East does not have the Ace, the Queen will hold the trick.  From this point, you will find it to your advantage to keep East out of the lead.

Hand No. 3, with Queen-ten-five in the dummy.  This is almost the same hand as as the above No. 3 hand.  On West's low Diamond lead you must play the ten and hope that West has the Jack.  If East covers the Jack, you win with the King, but you can still hope West has the Ace.


3. Chapter IX, Page 76 - When not to Hold-up

West leads the four of Spades against your three no-trump contract.  What do you play from dummy?  If East covers, do you play your Ace?.  What do you do next?
. 9 3
K 7 5
Q J 10 7 3
A J 5
K Q 7 4.
Q 6 4...
A 5.....
Q 10 7 3
J 6 5
10 9 8 3
K 6 2
9 8 4
A 10 8 2
A J 2
9 8 4
K 6 2


Play low from the dummy.  If East plays the Jack, cover with the Ace.  Your nine in the dummy and ten-eight-two in your hand will block the suit.

You have five sure tricks and need to develope another four.  You started with six Spades, six Hearts, eight Diamonds, and six Clubs.  Diamonds are longest suit, try to set them up first.

If you took the first trick in your hand, lead the nine of Diamonds.  When you regain the lead, play the eight of Diamonds, and drive out the defender's last Diamond stopper.


4. Chapter IX, Page 83 - A Hold-up in a Suit with Two Stoppers

When playing a hand in no-trump, South needs to keep some measure of control of the suit West attacks in his opening lead until he has set up enough sure tricks to make his contract.  In the next hand West leads the ten of Hearts, and the contract is three no-trump.  How do you play the hand?
. 8 6 3
A 6 2
J 10 9 8 3
J 10 5 4..
Q 10 9 8 5
A 5.......
7 6.......
Q 9 7
J 7
K 4 2
Q J 10 8 5
A K 2
K 4 3
Q 7 6
9 4 3 2


South has six trick off the top (2 Spades, 2 Hearts, and 2 Clubs), and needs to establish three more tricks.  Clearly Diamonds is the suit that needs to be set up, but it will take two losing Diamond tricks to set it up.  South only has two stoppers in Hearts.  Without careful planning South could lose control of the hand.

On trick one, let East win with the Jack.  Your hope is that East will be unable to return a Heart later when he wins his King of Diamonds.  On trick two, East leads the seven of Hearts, which South wins with the King.  South leads the six of Diamonds which East wins with the King.  East has no more Hearts, and must return a different suit.  Declarer then drives out West's Ace of Diamonds while still having a stopper in Hearts.


Louis H. Watson's "The Play of the Hand at Bridge" is the definitive work on how to play the hands in bridge.  It should be bought and read by all serious bridge players.