Bridge Puzzle I

August Boehm
August Boehm

Source: [ilink url=»»]ACBL[/ilink]

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 opening lead.

# 1. You and partner bid as follows:

You  Partner
1   1
1    3
4    Pass

Your combined club holding is J 4 2 in hand facing Q 8 6 in dummy. The opening lead is a non club.

What is the likeliest location of the missing club honors?

#2 Sitting East, you witness the following auction:

South North
INT    2
2     3NT
4     Pass

West. partner, leads the 2, fourth-best and below is the club position:
Norlh (Dummy)
                East (You)
                K 9 7 4

Declarer calls for dummy’s 5.

Three questions:

a. What is South’. distribution?
b. Where are the missing club picture cards?
c. What do you play to trick one?

#3. You are defending against the following auction:

South North
1   1
1   1NT

A relevant question is what N-S tend to open holding 3-3 in the minors – they answer 1.
How many diamonds is South likely to hold?

Solution to #1:
Most likely, West holds the A and East the K. Clubs is the one unbid suit, so a club lead is expected. If West had both top honors, or neither, a club lead is natural, absent a compelling lead in another side suit, such as a singleton. If West holds the K, it is still quite normal to lead the suit: don´t lead away from a king» is a discredited notion. Only the unsupported A should dissuade West from attacking clubs. Once we deduce that the ace is probably with West, it follows that East must hold the king.

Solution to #2:
a) South is 4-4-3-2. South showed 4-4 in the majors responding to Stayman, and partner’s 2 lead means declarer started with three clubs, hence two diamonds.
b). South holds the A J x: West wouldn’t underlead an ace against a suit contract, which place the ace with South. If South started with A x x, he would try the Q from dummy at trick one as the only legitimate way to score the queen if the leader holds the king. Therefore, South holds the J as well as the ace.
c) Finesse your 9. Playing the king is futile and hands declarer three club tricks. By wilthholding the king at trick one (and covering the queen if led), the defenders save a club trick when opening leader is considerate enough to supply the 10.

Solution to #3:
Four or five diamonds. South has shown four spades and at most three hearts. With at least seven minor suit cards, the opening was 1, not 1. With 4-3-3-3 distribution, systemically opener would have started with 1. If South had six diamonds, he would presumably have rebid 2 over 1NT. Openers possible distribution are: 4=3=4=2, 4=2=4=3,4=1=4=4, 4=2=5=2, 4=1=5=3, 4=3=5=1. (Note that the = symbol means suits are in the order specified. For example, 4-3-3-3 means the four cards suit can be any, but 4=3= 3= 3 means four spades and three of each other suits.)