Experience Required

Dealer: South
Both sides vulnerable

S K 7 3
H K 10 9 8 3
D 8 4
C 9 5 4
S J 9 6 5 2
H 7 2
D Q 10 9 5
C 6 2
S 10 4
H A J 6 4
D J 7 3
C Q J 10 8
S A Q 8
H Q 5
D A K 6 2
C A K 7 3
2 NTPass3 NTAll Pass
Opening Lead: S 5

Experience is required to make anything — except mistakes. At 3NT, South would have needed either fine card sense or the experience of having seen a similar situation. (Try to find a winning play yourself.)South won the first spade with the ace and led the queen of hearts, winning, and a heart to dummy’s ten. East took the jack and returned a spade.

South won in dummy and knew he couldn’t set up and cash another heart trick. He tried the A-K and a third club, hoping for a 3-3 break, but East took two clubs and the ace of hearts, and South also lost a diamond. Down one.


South should lead a low heart to dummy’s ten at Trick Two. If East ducks, dummy leads another heart, and South is sure of two hearts, three spades, two clubs and two diamonds.

If instead East takes the jack of hearts to return a spade, South wins with the queen and overtakes his queen of hearts with the king to set up three heart tricks: 10 in all. The king of spades is a dummy entry.


You hold:
SA Q 8
HQ 5
DA K 6 2
CA K 7 3
. Neither side vulnerable. The dealer, at your right, opens three hearts. You double, and your partner bids three spades. What do you say?

This problem is agonizing. Though you have 22 high-card points, your queen of hearts may be worthless, and you have a bundle of losers. Your partner may have nothing, and bad breaks are possible. Being a chicken, I would pass. I would not criticize a bid of four spades.

Copyright © 2015, Tribune Media Services

About the Author:

Frank Stewart is one of the world's most prolific bridge journalists. He won many tournament events before devoting himself to writing. Frank has published hundreds of magazine and on-line articles. He has written 24 books, among them "Becoming an Expert," "Play Bridge With Me," "Who Has the Queen?" and most recently "Keys to Winning Bridge." In 2014, Frank Stewart received the International Bridge Press Association's Alan Truscott Award. He has been the senior analyst for ACBL-wide Charity and International Fund events since 1980. Frank and his wife, Charlotte, a pediatric speech pathologist, live in Fayette AL. They have a 17-year-old daughter.

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