Problem Corner by Patrick Jourdain
How should West play Four Spades? North leads a club.
Answer to Prize problem 244
This is a matter of sound technique and is symmetrical. You plan to make three outside aces and seven trump tricks and the best way of ensuring this is a cross-ruff where the first ruff of each red suit is with a small trump but the subsequent ruffs are all with big trumps. That guards against the danger that a defender with a red doubleton and the ten of trumps sitting behind the ruff is able to over-ruff and play a trump, reducing declarer to nine tricks. When you make the seventh ruff you don’t mind being over-ruffed as the middle trump in the other hand becomes a winner.
You get a small extra credit if you began with a diamond to the ace and a heart to the ace. On the rare occasion when the defender in front of the ace is void there are still layouts where you might succeed. (It is odd the defenders did not bid but if West opened One Heart and North had seven of them he would have to Pass.)
Non-prize problem for May 2010
West is in Three Notrumps. North leads a low spade won by dummy’s ten, a diamond to the king wins, the club nine is run to South’s ten, a spade through loses to North who clears the spades. How would you continue?
Answer to non-prize problem
In the 1991 Sunday Times Pairs the declarer, Andrew Robson played a club and when North followed small, surprised spectators by putting on the ACE, dropping the bare king offside. The alternatives were taking a deep finesse, playing for North to have four (unlikely on the spade lead), or finessing the queen, playing for South to hold J 10 doubleton (unlikely on restricted choice as he might have played either on the first round, or even have risen with the diamond ace).
This reasoning suggests North should have played the JACK of clubs on the second round, as a man with K J x would be forced to do.
This article has been published with permission from Bridge Magazine