Games: Bridge

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The Independent Online
This deal first appeared many years ago as a problem for East: how should he defend to defeat Three No-trumps? Much later it reappeared, but this time the question was: how should South make Three No-trumps.

It is easy enough to construct sensible bidding: South opens Two No-trumps, North tries a Stayman Three Clubs without success and goes back to Three No-trumps against which West leads #J.

First the "official" solution: After winning the diamond lead, declarer plays 4K, which wins, and 4Q which also holds. With no sure entry to dummy, he tries the hearts, but again the king and queen are allowed to win. In desperation, South tries 2Q, but East ducks for the fifth time and the defenders now come to five tricks.

Then came the counter-attack when it was pointed out that South could have got home by ducking the opening lead! He wins the diamond continuation and is allowed to make 4K,Q and !K,Q as before, but now he cashes his three diamond winners and exits with either major suit, leaving East to open up the clubs after taking his other two aces.

The purist problemist will complain about this, however. There is an alternative solution: for South does not have to give up the first diamond trick; he can do this at any time while he still has a top diamond left.

Love all; dealer South


4J 10 6 4

!J 10 8 2


2K 10 6 2

West East

47 5 2 4A 8 3

!9 6 4 !A 5 3

#J 10 9 4 #8 7 5 2

27 5 3 2A J 9


4K Q 9

!K Q 7

#A K Q 3

2Q 8 4