THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
CHRISTMAS COMPETITION ANSWERS COMMENCE
Here are the answers to the first two questions in my Christmas Competition.
1. How should South plan the play in six clubs after West leads a trump and East follows suit?
South should finish drawing trumps, cash the heart ace, play a diamond to dummy’s queen, ruff the heart jack in his hand, and lead another diamond to the dummy.
If the diamonds split 3-2, declarer is playing for an overtrick by taking two spade finesses. So, let’s assume diamonds are 4-1.
If East has four diamonds, South cashes the last high diamond, then gives East the lead in diamonds. Now if East has the spade king, he is endplayed. If he leads away from that king, declarer runs the trick around to dummy’s queen, then plays a spade to his jack. (If East does not have the spade king, the contract has no chance.)
Alternatively, as in the diagram, if West started with four diamonds, South should now lead the spade queen from the board. If the finesse loses, again the contract was unmakable. So let’s have East cover the queen with his king. Declarer wins with his ace and exits with his last diamond to endplay West, who must either lead around into South’s jack-nine of spades or concede a ruff-and-sluff.
2. Suggest an uncontested auction to six clubs.
This is tough. It is much easier to end in six diamonds, which makes with this distribution. I accepted anything reasonable.
The winners will be given in the column of March 22.