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 Subj:   20 Bridge Challenges   From the book Winning Declarer Play               by Dorothy Truscott               Published in 1969 by               Harper and Row These excellent bridge hands illustrate the fundamental principles of how to play bridge hands and get the best odds of success.  See if you can find optimum line of play for each hand. The King of Cards comes from DotPattern.com
 Topics Joker comes from DotPattern.com From here forward are problem hands.  Your objective is to make the contract.  Do not concern yourself with overtricks.  Unless otherwise stated, all the bidding is standard.  All these hands are hard.  Don't be discouraged if you miss all of them.
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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #1 (S505c)
From Chapter 3 - "Let Me Play the No-Trumps, Dear", page 30

 North S - A Q 8 7 6 5  H - J 2 D - 6 4 2 C - 6 5 South S - 4 H - A K Q 10 9 D - A J 10 C - A K Q J The contract is 6 No-Trump in the south and the opening lead is the ten of Clubs. You can count eleven tricks off the top - five hearts, four clubs, and the other two aces.  There are two prospects of a twelfth trick.  You can finesse the queen of spades, or you can take two finesses in diamonds.  Which line of play gives you the best chance of making this contract? Click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #2 (S506c)
From Chapter 4 - "How To Handle A Suit Contract", page 52

 West S - J 3 H - 6 5 3 D - Q J 10 9 C - Q 10 3 2 North S - A K 7 6 2 H - 10 D - A 6 4 2 C - J 5 4 South S - 8 5 H - A K Q J 9 8 7 D - K 8 7 C - A East S - Q 10 9 4 H - 4 2 D - 5 3 C - K 9 8 7 6

The contract is 7 Hearts in the south and the opening lead is the queen of diamonds.

You have twelve tricks and have to find a thirteenth trick.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #3 (S507c)
From Chapter 4 - "How To Handle A Suit Contract", page 54

 West S - 6 4 2 H - 10 4 D - K 9 6 5 C - Q J 10 9 North S - 8 7 H - K 5 D - Q 10 7 3 2 C - K 7 6 3 South S - A K Q J 9 H - A Q 8 3 2 D - 8 4 C - 2 East S - 10 5 3 H - J 9 7 6 D - A J C - A 8 5 4

The contract is 4 Spades in the south and the opening lead is the queen of clubs.

You have eight tricks and have to find a ninth trick.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #4 (S508c)
From Chapter 4 - "How To Handle A Suit Contract", page 57

 West S - 8 H - K Q J 9 D - 7 5 2 C - K 7 4 3 2 North S - A 9 5 4 H - 10 6 D - A Q J 10 9 C - J 8 South S - K Q 10 6 3 2 H - A 4 D - 3 C - A Q 10 9 East S - J 7 H - 8 7 5 3 2 D - K 8 6 4 C - 6 5

The contract is 6 Spades in the south and the opening lead is the king of hearts.

You have nine tricks and have to find three more tricks.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #5 (S510b)
From Chapter 6 - "Reading the Cards", page 88

 West S - Q J 9 6 4 3 2 H - 5 4 D - J 9 7 C - 4 North S - K 8 H - Q 10 8 7 D - A 10 5 C - A 6 3 2 South S - A 7 5 H - A K J 9 6 D - 8 C - K Q 9 7 East S - 10 H - 3 2 D - K Q 6 4 3 2 C - J 10 8 5

The contract is 7 Hearts in the south and the opening lead is the five of hearts.

You have eleven tricks off the top and have to find two more tricks.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #6 (S511b)
From Chapter 7 - "Hocus-Pocus with the Trump Suit", page 104

 West S - 7 6 2 H - 9 8 7 5 D - K Q 10 8 5 C - 3 North S - J 9 8 H - Q 4 3 D - A J 7 6 C - Q 8 5 South S - A K Q 10 5 H - A 6 D - 9 C - A K J 10 2 East S - 4 3 H - K J 10 2 D - 4 3 2 C - 9 7 6 4

The contract is 7 Spades in the south and the opening lead is the
king of diamonds.

You have twelve tricks off the top and have to find one more trick.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #7 (S512c)
From Chapter 7 - "Hocus-Pocus with the Trump Suit", page 110

 West S - Q J 4 H - 5 D - J 10 9 8 C - J 10 9 3 2 North S - A K 8 6 5 2 H - K 8 D - A 7 6 C - A K South S - 7 3 H - A Q 10 7 6 4 D - K Q 2 C - 5 4 East S - 10 9 H - J 9 3 2 D - 5 4 3 C - Q 8 7 6

The contract is 7 Hearts in the south and the opening lead is the
jack of diamonds.

Declarer wins the opening lead and cashes the king and ace of trumps, revealing the bad news.  East apparently has a sure trump trick because there are no more hearts in the dummy with which to finesse.  An inexperienced player might give up at this point and settle for down one.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #8 (S513c)
From Chapter 8 - "Squeeze Play", page 122

 West S - K Q 10 9 H - 7 6 D - 8 6 5 C - J 9 7 6 North S - A J 6 H - A K Q J D - A K Q J C - 3 2 South S - 4 3 2 H - 4 3 2 D - 4 3 2 C - A K Q 4 East S - 8 7 5 H - 10 9 8 5 D - 10 9 7 C - 10 8 5

The squeeze is often considered the hallmark of the expert.  As a result, the average player assumes the whole subject must be exceedingly difficult.  It isn't.  In fact the majority of squeezes are fun to execute and require no serious thought.

Some squeezes are so easy a beginner "falls into" the correct play without having any idea what he is doing.

Let's assume that East-West are good players and North-South are just beginners.  In some manner, South stumbles into a contract of seven no-trump and West leads the king of spades.

Declarer wins the ace of spades and counts his tricks.  One spade, four hearts, four diamonds, and three clubs bring the total to twelve.  South knows his little club is not a trick, because one defender must have at least four cards in the suit.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #9 (S514c)
From Chapter 8 - "Squeeze Play", page 134

 West S - J 9 5 4 H - K Q 4 3 D - 9 8 5 4 3 C - North S - A K 8 6 H - 10 9 8 2 D - A C - Q 7 6 3 South S - 7 H - A J D - K Q J 10 7 6 C - A K 8 2 East S - Q 10 3 2 H - 7 6 5 D - 2 C - J 10 9 5 4

Most squeezes will not operate unless declarer first gives up all tricks he can afford to lose.  In a grand slam, declarer cannot afford to give up any tricks, so this is not a problem in this or the previous hand.

The final contract is 7 NT and the opening lead is the king of hearts.  The grand slam is a lay-down with a normal 3-2 club break.  The opening lead is won by the ace, and a diamond is led to dummy's ace.  A club is returned to the ace, and when West discards a heart it looks as though only twelve tricks are available.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #10 (S515c)
From Chapter 9 - "The Gentle Art of Deception", page 156

Deception is basically a matter of pretending to hold a hand that is different from the one you actually hold.  Look at the following situation.

 West S - J 7 4 H - 9 8 7 6 5 D - J 9 8 6 C - K North S - Q 8 H - J 3 D - A K 5 C - J 7 6 5 4 3 South S - K 10 9 6 5 3 H - A 2 D - Q 10 2 C - A 2 East S - A 2 H - K Q 10 4 D - 7 4 3 C - Q 10 9 8

The contract is four spades in the south and West leads the heart nine.  Declarer cannot avoid losing a heart, a club, and the ace of trumps.  This means that to make the contract he must guess the location of the spade jack.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #11 (S516c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 196

 North S - K H - 6 5 3 D - J 9 2 C - 8 7 6 4 3 2 South S - A 8 4 3 H - A K 9 D - A Q 10 4 C - A J

South dealer.  Both Vulnerable

The bidding:     SOUTH     WEST     NORTH     EAST
2 NT      Pass     3 NT      Pass
Pass      Pass

West leads the spade queen, and the king wins the first trick.  Which card should you lead from dummy at trick two, and why?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #12 (S517c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 198

 North S - 8 6 4 2 H - A 4 3 D - K Q J C - 4 3 2 South S - A K 5 H - K Q J D - A 10 9 8 C - A K J

South dealer.  Both Vulnerable

The bidding:     SOUTH     WEST     NORTH     EAST
3 NT      Pass     6 NT      Pass
Pass      Pass

Your opening bid promises about 25 points, and partner places the contract at six no-trumps.  The heart ten is led.  How do you play?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #13 (S518c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 206

 North S - 8 7 5 H - Q J 4 2 D - A J 2 C - 6 3 2 South S - 9 2 H - A K 10 9 8 D - K 10 3 C - A K J

South dealer.  East-West Vulnerable

The bidding:     SOUTH     WEST     NORTH     EAST
1 Heart   Pass     2 Hearts  Pass
4 Hearts  Pass     Pass      Pass

West leads the king and ace of spades and continues with a third spade to East's queen, which you ruff.  You now cash two rounds of trumps and both opponents follow.  What is your plan for the rest of the hand?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #14 (S519c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 220

 North S - J 10 H - 9 8 3 D - A K 8 6 2 C - J 3 2 South S - Q H - A 10 2 D - 7 4 C - A K Q 10 9 5 4

South dealer.  Both Vulnerable

The bidding:     SOUTH     WEST     NORTH     EAST
1 Club    Pass     1 Diamond Pass
3 Clubs   Pass     4 Clubs   Pass
5 Blubs   Pass     Pass      Pass

How do you play this one?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #15 (S520c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 222

 North S - A Q J H - K 8 6 4 D - K 8 6 C - K 6 2 South S - K 10 5 H - A J 10 9 2 D - A 9 5 C - A 10

North dealer.  East-West Vulnerable

The bidding:     NORTH     EAST     SOUTH     WEST
1 NT      Pass     3 Hearts  Pass
4 Hearts  Pass     6 Hearts  Pass
Pass      Pass     Pass

West leads the diamond queen against six hearts, and there appears to be an obvious diamond loser and a possible trump loser.  You win the first trick with the diamond ace and hopefully cash the king and ace of hearts.  To your annoyance West discards a diamond on the second heart.  Is there still a chance and how do you capitalize on it?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #16 (S521c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 236

 North S - 3 H - 8 6 4 D - A J 7 5 C - K Q 10 3 2 South S - A 5 H - A Q D - K 3 2 C - A J 9 8 7 6

South dealer.  Both Vulnerable

The bidding:     NORTH     EAST     SOUTH     WEST
1 Club    Pass     3 Clubs   Pass
6 Clubs   Pass     Pass      Pass

You open one club, partner raises to three clubs, and without further ado you bid six clubs.  West leads the spade king, which you win with the ace.  You draw the opponents trump in one round and then ruff your losing spade in dummy.  How do you proceed?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #17 (S522c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 248

 North S - K Q 5 H - J 9 6 5 2 D - A 8 3 C - Q J South S - A 10 6 4 3 2 H - K 3 D -  C - A K 7 5 3

East dealer.  Both Vulnerable

The bidding:     EAST      SOUTH     WEST      NORTH
Pass

East opens the bidding with one heart, and you make a conservative overcall of one spade.  When partner jumps to three spades, you become bullish and try six.  This ends the auction, and West leads the four of hearts.  What are your plans for the hand?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #18 (S523c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 255

 North S - Q 6 H - 6 5 4 2 D - A K Q 5 2 C - 8 3 South S - A J 10 9 H - A 3 D - 9 8 7 6 C - A K 7

South dealer.  Both Vulnerable

The bidding:     SOUTH     WEST      NORTH     EAST
1 NT      Pass      3 NT      Pass
Pass      Pass

West leads the heart queen against your contract of three no-trump.  East plays the king, and you let him hold the first trick.  East returns the heart eight to your ace as West follows with the seven.  You now cash the ace and king of diamonds.  Both opponents follow the first round, but West discards a spade on the second round, revealing that East started with J 10 3 of diamonds.

All right.  Your problem is to be sure of taking nine tricks regardless of how the rest of the cards are divided or how the opponents defend.

Warning!  This is not a misprint.  If you don't see the problem, look again.  On this hand most players don't see the problem until it is too late.

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #19 (S524c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 267

 North S - 9 H - A J 9 6 5 4 D - A K C - J 8 3 2 South S - A Q 3 H - 2 D - Q J 10 9 8 7 C - Q 7 5

North dealer.  East-West Vulnerable

The bidding:     NORTH     EAST      SOUTH      WEST
1 Heart   Pass      2 Diamonds Pass
2 Heart   Pass      2 NT       Pass
3 Clubs   Pass      3 NT       Pass
Pass      Pass

West leads the spade five against three no-trump, and East plays the king on dummy's nine.  What's the most practical way to make this contract?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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Subj:     Bridge Challenge #20 (S525c)
From Part III - "Problem Hands", page 269

 North S - Q 6 4 2 H - Q J 10 D - K Q 5 C - A Q 2 South S - 5 H - A K 9 5 3 D - A J 10 3 2 C - J 4

North dealer.  Neither Vulnerable

The bidding:     NORTH     EAST      SOUTH     WEST
1 NT      Pass      3 Hearts  Pass
4 Heart   Pass      6 Hearts  Pass
Pass      Pass

Against six hearts West leads the spade jack, and when this holds the trick, he continues with the ten, which you ruff.  (East contributes the seven, then the three.)  What is your plan for the hand?

Figure out a strategy and then click 'HERE' for Dorothy's solution.

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I've only shown a few examples from Dorthy Truscott's book "Winning Declarer Play."  Buy the book, read it, and rereat it a dozen times.  I guarantee it will improve your bridge game.

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