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Puzzle Page
New Quiz
Your are in 7  on the following hand which came up at a local weekly duplicate session.
How do you make it on a  lead

1 Showed 5 's and 11-15 points 2NT was Jacoby Game forcing 3 Splinter in 's 4NT Roman Key Card Blackwood 5H showed two Key cards 5NT asked for Kings and 6 show 1 or 4 Kings (Obviously K

The key to making the contract is ensuring you have an entry outside trumps to cash your club winners.  If you let the initial lead run round to hand you have effectively blocked the suit.  You must win with the A and set about on a dummy reversal by ruffing 3   losers with your trumps in hand and finally crossing to dummy to draw the last trump.

This was spotted by John Boughey well done   
Bidding Conundrum
The following came up in a Welsh Western Area teams event.  You are South and you pick up this hand and your partner opens 1 NT and right hand opponent doubles what do you bid:-

Answers to
A lot depends on your defence to 1 NT X.  If you are playing Natural you can bid 2's and West is likely to compete with 2's you can then introduce your suit and could well be pushed into 4's which can not be beaten  with a loser in the three suits outside trumps.  If you play some form of wriggle you can still show your 's and a similar auction is likely to ensue.  If you have a way of showing a two suiter after 2's will West compete if not North will almost certainly bid 2 safe in the knowledge that he can stand South bidding either major.

Most defences to 1 NT  X cater for two four card suits or single suited hands I would welcome anybodies views on defences to 1 NT X and whether your methods would include six five hands albeit very rare.

It is perhaps a good example of a famous bridge writers say six five come alive and South should ensure that it is North South who plays the contract.      
Bidding problem
You pick up the following hand which came up in a teams match on BBO. How do you intend to bid it
At the table North opened 1 which was passed round to West who overcalled 1 North made the conservative bid of 2 and East competed with 2 this was passed round to North who doubled and South who had remained silent supported 's and North played in 3.

At the other table after a similar start North re-bid 3and the opposition competed with 3 South competed with 4 and North raised to game.

Both made 10 tricks.  Both 5 and 4 are makeable.  Email with your answer as to the best bidding sequence and how you make the contract. 
Vote for your choice of bid
This hand came up at Milton Keynes (duplimated hand).  I was sitting North and opened a precision 1 and partner made a positive response of 2.  I bid 2 a game force having been established and partner bid 3 I bid 4 NT Roman Key Card Blackwood as hearts was the last suit bid partner responded 5 showing Two  key cards and King Queen of hearts. A similar position can be achieved if playing Acol and you make a game forcing opening bid which hand justifies

What would you bid email answer to  The full hand will be revealed when there has been sufficient time for hopefully a significant number to give me there answer.  
It is possible to make 7 's on four three split, unfortunately 7 's fails with South being void It is also possible to make 6NT bid by South.  If North bids it it can be defeated on a  lead. Clearly   6 is the correct contract.  When played only one bid 6 two bidding the no hope 7, one managing to bid 6NT which made with East not leading a diamond.  The remainder played in the rather timid 4's

Well done to Alan Cooke who was spot on with his analysis 
In a recent teams match the following hand arose.  4 had been made at one table and gone off at other.  The players were the contract had been made were of the opinion that it should be made. The player who had gone off felt it couldn't be made.  One the face of it you appear to have a loser in trumps the A a heart loser  the A and K if it is offside.   Plan draw trumps and set up 's.
Who was right? 
The 1 opening bid showed 11 - 15 points no 5 card Major.  If South passes West is going to bid some number of  's.  On a  lead the contract can't be made as East gets in with A and leads another  forcing North to ruff.  North is forced on another  lead and if he draws trumps loses control when he tries to set up 's If he tries to set up 's first East can put his partner in with A to lead another 
English Bridge Magazine Problem
In the latest issue of English Bridge in Mike Swanson's article there was a hand which he had stated could be made but did not give the solution.  On the face of it you have a losing trick in each suit how do you make the contract.  Answer to  I will put a solution up later. 

As West holds all the points for his sidea part from the K  the  he can be end played.  On a lead of a diamond you can win and set about hearts.  West must eventually win and exit in either hearts or diamonds you lose a diamond trick and win any return you then strip your hand and dummy of hearts and diamonds and cash Ace of trumps when you give West his eventual trump he is end played and has to give you a ruff and discard or lead a club.  You lose a diamond a heart and a trump. 

Perhaps the lesson in this deal is donít take a finesse unless absolutely necessary especially if you can get the opponents to do it for you. 


You are in 6and West leads 4♠ you win with your A♠ and East plays the 7♠. How do you make 6, you expect West to hold four hearts.

You assume that West has led from a four card suit headed by an honour and anticipate that the honours are split (East has failed to unblock) and is left with a singleton honour.  You need to eliminate side suits and then end play East by leading a heart.  Even if West goes up with his King he sets up your Jack.  If East plays his spade honour on first trick you can't make the contract 
Safety Plays

A hand from the Oxford Congress on Saturday Sept 27th .

Your contract is 6H and opponents start with the Ace and King of clubs.
Obviously you need to avoid losing a spade, but what is your best option
and/or can you combine your options safely?

   email me at and your reply will be published here next week.

Play problem

This double dummy problem was supplied by Alan Cooke and comes from Hand 18 of Guernsey Swiss Teams.

How do you firstly  bid to optimum contract of 5 and then how do you make it.

Answers to

Assuming Q♣ lead provided you duck the initial  lead, even if West overtakes and gives his partner a ruff if you take the spade finesse  return to hand with a ruff and draw trumps and cash all but last trump and then cross to dummy with A.  You have two ♣'s and a trump in hand and A♣ and two 's in dummy.  West has to discard from AK J♣10♣ you squeeze West in hearts and clubs.  If West discards a club you cash A♣ and then ruff a and you have a master ♣ and if West discards a you lead a heart and ruff and then return to dummy with A♣ to cash master   
Play Quiz

You are in 4's as South West lead of with A  and switches to a .  You win in hand with 10.  With a  and a   to lose how do you play trumps to ensure only one loser.

Answer to

Clearly if trumps break two two you have no problems, you have to cater for the possibily of a three on or four nil break.  If West holds K unless it is singleton he is always going to make it.  If West also holds K J in a three card holding you will only lose one trick.  You have therefore to consider East holding K J in a three or four card holding and West holding all four.  The best line is to lead towards dummy when West shows out ( as in the hand) you can still restrict East to one trick.  If West follows then you have to guess whether East is void or has a singleton honour.    
Play Problem

You are on lead against 3 NT by South and you make your normal fourth highest lead of 4 the Jand partner wins the trick with the A and returns the 5.  Declarer wins with the K♥.  Plan the defence

Answer to

East has returned the 5 as East will return his original fourth highest or top card of a remaining doubleton.  East has two possible hands A52  or A8652.  In the bidding South bid 1♠  if he had four hearts you would expect South to have bid 1 rather than 1 ♠.  East is therefore marked with 5's  and you must unblock one of your honours.  When you get in with K♠ you can cash your remaining heart honourand then East can overtake your 7 wih his 8 to cash the setting trick