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Hayling Island Bridge Club
Play Problem 002
Play Problem 002 - contributed by Graham Broadbent

Board 12 at the club last night was a classic example of how part score deals have so much more scope for errors.  The full deal (Hands rotated).


First the auction:

Most Easts would open 1 heart and South’s pass is routine, if West now passes North can assume partner has some values and just stretch to a 1NT overcall, but what does North do if West rates his values enough to show his spades? Pass probably works best, hoping that West rebids his hearts.


At my table the auction went as illustrated.  I knew partners 2 hearts showed values, but had no idea whether it showed the unbid suits or a strong stop in hearts so my 2 NT was just to keep the auction open. I wasn’t looking for 3 NT! In fact 2 spades by West, 2 hearts or 1NT by North are all reasonable contracts, but stopping there is the problem.

The play, double dummy*:

West can come to nine tricks in a spade contract, 4 trumps, a club ruff in dummy, the diamond King and the heart Ace and 2 long clubs, but to achieve this declarer must duck the first round of trumps to retain control.


In a heart contract, whoever is declaring, North comes to seven tricks (4 minors, spade ruff and 2 trumps); East gets six (diamond King, club ruff, 2 spades and two trumps).

No Trumps depends on the play of the major suits. If either side gets too busy in hearts they are likely to give tricks away, in spades E/W should take 4 tricks and N/S one, but both sides must duck at the right moment. Ultimately N/S should come to seven tricks via 6 in the minors and a spade, while E/W get their six from 4 spades, diamond King and heart Ace, but if E/W block the spades they will get end played into giving up a trick in hearts.  

Did you get it right at the table?

* Click here to see a Glossary of Bridge Terms