# Bridge Puzzles

Trick one is the best time to take stock, declaring or defending. Because trick one is crucial, think before you play.

20. Matchpoints, you are East, defending 4.

North (Dummy)
♠ K 4
A 9 7 6 3
K Q J 2
7 3
East (You)
♠ A J 9 7
J 5 2
A 9 3
♣ J 10 4
 North South 1NT(1) 2♦(2) 2NT(3) 3♦(4) 3♥ 4♥ Pass

(1) 15–17 high-card points.
(2) Transfer.
(3) Maximum with three hearts.
(4) Retransfer.

Partner leads the ♠2, fourth-best. Declarer calls for the ♠4. Plan your defense.

SOLUTION

Take your aces before you lose them. Rise with the ♠A and cash the A. You can see 24 HCP between your hand and the dummy, which leaves partner without a face card. The most partner can have is a jack, and you are looking at all four of them.

If you finesse the ♠J at trick one, you will lose your ♠A when this is the layout:

North (Dummy)
♠ K 4
A 9 7 6 3
K Q J 2
7 3
♠ 10 6 5 2
10 4
7 6 4
♣ 9 8 6 5
East (You)
♠ A J 9 7
J 5 2
A 9 3
♣ J 10 4
♠ Q 8 3
K Q 8
10 8 5
♣ A K Q 2

Declarer will win the ♠Q, draw trumps and discard dummy’s ♠K on the club suit and you will get only your A.

Once you’ve taken the ♠A at trick one, cash the A as well. The following could be the entire deal:

North (Dummy)
♠ K 4
A 9 7 6 3
K Q J 2
7 3
♠ 10 6 5 2
10 4
9 8 7 5
♣ 8 5 2
East (You)
♠ A J 9 7
J 5 2
A 6 3
♣ J 10 4
♠ Q 8 3
K Q 8
10 4
♣ A K Q 9 6

If you don’t cash the A, declarer will discard all four diamonds from dummy, using the long clubs and the ♠Q.

Once you know that partner is busted, the goal is to hold declarer to 11 tricks.

21. You are South, declaring 4♠.

North
♠ 2
K 8 6 5 3
A 8 7 4 2
♣ 9 4
South
♠ K Q J 10 8 7 3
A 4
♣ Q J 10 2
 West North East South 1♥ Dbl Pass 2♦ Pass 3♠ Pass 3NT Pass 4♠ All Pass

West leads the 7. Plan the play.

SOLUTION

Win the singleton heart lead with dummy’s K and cash the A, discarding your A! Draw trumps and concede one spade and two clubs to make your contract. The key is to realize that your A is a liability. If you draw trumps immediately, East, the opening bidder, is likely to produce the ♠A and return a heart, ruffed by West, down one. To prevent this, get rid of the A on the A before tackling trumps. After doing this, lead spades from the dummy. Remember to trump high if East takes the ♠A and leads a heart.

The A is a loser. It’s the oldest story in the book; get rid of losers.