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N-S game; dealer West



!10 9 8 3 2

#9 5

29 6 5 3 2

West East

4J 8 6 4 43 2

!A Q !K J 7 6 5 4

#K 10 8 7 #J 4

2Q J 10 28 7 4


4A K Q 10 7 5


#A Q 6 3 2

2A K

This was a rather good problem from the excellent magazine English Bridge, distributed free to all members of the English Bridge Union. Originally, of course, you were not given the East-West hands but, even seeing the full deal, the winning play (although logical) is not obvious.

West opened 1NT (12-14 points), East bid 2! and South closed the auction with a firm 44. West led the 2Q and you were invited to plan the play.

The danger lies in losing a trump trick and three diamonds. The opening lead, however, is significant for West has chosen not to lead his partner's suit. This, almost certainly, places East with a top heart (probably the king). In that case it is West who is strong favourite to hold the missing #K.

After winning the lead. therefore, you have all the necessary clues. The winning line is to lead #Q at trick two! Clearly West takes his king but cannot lead trumps without losing his trick in the suit.

Suppose West tries a second club. Declarer wins, cashes #A, and ruffs a diamond with dummy's solitary trump. Now, after coming to hand with a heart ruff, South cashes his top trumps and simply concedes a diamond to collect his 10 tricks. You can see the point: it was vital to keep East out of the lead, for then a trump return would have put an end to declarer's chances.