# Bridge Puzzles

Augie Boehm

Bridge is primarily a game of language and logic. Of course, judgment and empathy play large roles, as does luck, at least in the short term. These puzzles feature language and logic. The idea is to deduce a significant amount of information from the bidding and/or opening lead.

Follow the logic trail in these bridge puzzles.

10. Defending notrump, partner has raised your 1♠ opening to 2♠, and you lead a fourth-best spade in the diagram:

North (Dummy)
♠ Q 8
West
♠ J 7 5 4 2

Partner plays the 10, declarer the queen. Where are the missing spades?

SOLUTION

Declarer has ♠Q 9, partner A–10–8. Partner denied the 9 — third hand follows with lowest of touching cards. Since partner showed three spades by raising, declarer’s doubleton becomes clear. If you regain the lead and decide to play a spade, play the jack to save a spade trick by smothering declarer’s 9.

11. You are West holding:
♠ 7   A K   Q 8 7 4 2   ♣10 9 6 3 2.

The auction:

 West North East South 1♠ Pass 2♦ Pass 4♦ Pass 4♠ Pass Pass ?

a. Would you act?

SOLUTION

a. Double. The opponents surely have an eight-card diamond fit, probably 4–4 since opener would hardly jump with three-card support. The defense is poised to take diamond ruffs, using the A K for re-entries.

b. Lead the 8. Start the ruffing plan immediately. Lead a high spot card, suit preference, to request a shift to hearts, the higher ranking side
suit. If both your hearts cash, the contract is down at least two (two heart tricks and three diamond ruffs). If an opponent holds a singleton heart, at least your lead beats the contract. If
an opponent has a heart void, then good reasoning, but bad luck.

12. You are South in the following auction:

 West North East South 1♦ Pass 2♦(1) 2♠ All Pass P

(1) 6-9 points

North (Dummy)
10 7 5
South (You)
J 9 3

The opening lead is the 2. Inquiring about the opponents’ methods, you learn that they lead fourth-best and tend to open 1♣ with 3–3 in the minors. At trick one, East rises with the ace. Two questions:

a. Where are the missing diamond honors?

b. What is West’s distribution?

SOLUTION

a. East holds the A Q, West the K. If East held A–K, the proper play is to follow with the king, lower
of touching honors. Consequently, we place West with the king, locating the queen with East because West would lead the king from a king-queen sequence.

b. West’s distribution is 4–4–3–2. East normally wouldn’t raise without at least four diamonds. When West is known to hold a three-card suit, the only distribution that conforms to their system is 4–4–3–2.