Illustrative Hands/Sample Questions for Master Teacher Candidates

These 9 problems are representative of the bridge questions that are asked in a Master Teacher Interview. Questions presented at the interview must be answered based on the bridge knowledge of the candidate without consulting any resources.

 

Sample Hand #1 

Dealer: South                                                       DUMMY

                                                                              9 8 7
Vul: None                                                              9 2
                                                                              J 6 2 
                                                                              8 7 6 4 2

 

                                      PARTNER                                                YOU

                                                                                                        10 6 3
                                     2 led                                                      6 3
                                                                                                        Q 10 7 3
                                                                                                        J 9 5 3

                                                                              Declarer (S)

                                                                              ??

                                                                             

 Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH         EAST             SOUTH

                                                                                                                      2C*

                                                  Pass              2D                  Pass              2S

                                                  Pass              3C**                    Pass               3H

                                                  Pass              3S                  Pass               6S   All Pass

* strong, artificial
** 2nd negative no control
 

Assume IMPS or rubber bridge:

(a) What is you play to the first trick?

(b) What is you plan for defending?

 

 

ANSWER:

Your 10 could be the key to defeating this slam.  The bidding and partner’s opening lead indicate that declarer might need to ruff a heart to make the contract.  Forget third hand high at trick one. Save your 10 so you can overruff! 

Declarer’s hand:                                                   A K Q J 5
                                                                              A K Q 7
                                                                              A K
                                                                              K Q
 


Sample Hand #2
 

Dealer: Sourth                                                      Dummy

                                                                              K 9 4 3
Vul: None                                                              9 8
                                                                              J 8 3 2
                                                                              Q 9 4
 

                                      Partner                                                      YOU

                                                                                                        A Q 8 5
                                                                                                        10 7 6 3
                                                                                                        9 7 6
                                                                                                        J 3

                                                                              Declarer

                                                                              ??                                                                             

Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH          EAST             SOUTH

                                                                                                                      1D
                                                  2C                   2D                  Pass              Pass
                                                  2H                   Pass                   Pass              3D          All Pass

 

Partner leads the A K followed by the 2, which you trump with the 6. What do you lead at trick four and why?

 

 

ANSWER: Partner’s 2 should be a suit preference signal asking for a heart return. Lead the 10. When switching to a new suit later in the hand, the lead of a low card expresses interest in having that suit returned. Lead high when you would prefer a different lead. You need a spade through dummy’s K to set 3D two. 

Declarer’s hand:                                                   J 6
                                                                              K Q J
                                                                              A K Q 10 5
                                                                              8 7 6


Sample Hand #3

Dealer: South                                                       K 4
Vul: None                                                              A J 8 2
                                                                              8 7 
                                                                              Q 10 9 7 5

                                      6 led                                                             

                                                                              YOU (Declarer)

                                                                              A 8 2
                                                                              K 7 3
                                                                              Q 10 4 3
                                                                              A K 2

Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH         EAST             SOUTH

                                                                                                                      1NT
                                                  Pass              2C                  Pass              2D
                                                  Pass              3NT                All Pass                                                 

After West’s fourth best 6 lead, you play the 7 from dummy and East plays the J. Assume Rubber Bridge or IMPS where you want to make the safest play for your contract. Discuss your options and plan as declarer, giving reasons for your plays.

 

 

ANSWER:  You can win the Q at trick one.  Other winners are 2 spades, 2 hearts, and 3 clubs.  You need one more trick.  That trick can come from either a club finesse (or 3-2 break) or a heart finesse.  The club finesse is your best bet because it sets up your ninth trick even when the finesse loses. You have a 2-way finesse in clubs.  Cash one high club and then finesse either by leading toward the Q 10 9 or by going to dummy and leading the 10 and letting it ride.

The Rule of Eleven tells South that East has played his only card higher than the 6 at trick one. You know West holds the A K 9. The diamond suit is a concern if West has a fifth diamond. You have a second diamond stopper as long as West leads diamonds.  You do not have a second stopper if East leads through the 10 4 3 left in your hand after winning the Q at trick one.  This makes East the dangerous opponent and West the safe opponent. You want to take the finesse that will avoid letting the dangerous opponent in. This means playing the dangerous opponent for the missing high card (remember, you don’t care if this finesse wins or loses as long as East doesn’t gain the lead). Finesse East for the J and you will make your contract.  

The defenders’ cards are:

                                       WEST                                                        EAST

                                      J 9 6 5                                                 Q 10 7 3
                                      9 6 5                                                      Q 10 4
                                      A K 9 6 2                                               J 5
                                      6                                                            J 8 4 3

 


 Sample Hand #4

Dealer: South                                                       7 5 2
Vul: None                                                              A Q 7 6
                                                                              A 8 2 
                                                                              J 6 5

  K led

                                                                              YOU (Declarer)

                                                                              A
                                                                              K J 8 4 3 2
                                                                              K 10 7
                                                                              K 8 3

Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH         EAST             SOUTH

                                                                                                                      1H
                                                   Pass              3H                  Pass              4H  All Pass

 

You win the opening lead with the ªA.  Explain your plan for making 4H. (Assume normal distributions.)

 

 

ANSWER:

You have one diamond loser and possibly three club losers. You must play to avoid a club loser. Don’t touch clubs yourself.  Draw trump in two rounds, ending in dummy.  Ruff a spade.  Play the K and A, ruff a spade.  Then give up a diamond.  Whichever opponent gains the lead is endplayed and must lead clubs or give you a ruff/sluff.  If West gets in and leads a club, let the lead ride around to the king.  If East gets in instead, let the lead ride around to the jack (unless East leads the Q, which you must cover). In clubs the opponents can take at most the club A and Q as long as they break the suit. 

The defenders’ hands are:                                     

                                      K Q 10 9                                                J 8 6 4 3
                                      10                                                          9 5
                                      9 6 5 3                                                   Q J 4
                                      A 7 4 2                                                   Q 10 9

 


Sample Hand #5 

Dealer: South                                                       J 7 5 4 2
Vul: None                                                              A 7 4 3
                                                                              K 4 
                                                                              8 3

 

¨Q opening lead                                                  YOU (Declarer)

                                                                              A K Q 10 9 6 3
                                                                              Q 10
                                                                              7 3
                                                                              A 5

 

Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH         EAST             SOUTH

                                                                                                                      1S         
                                                  Pass              2S*                 Pass              4S  All Pass

 

* A 3S limit raise is also possible

Trick 1:  You cover the Q. East plays the A .

Trick 2:  East shifts to the 10, which you win with the A. West follows with the

Trick 3: You draw trump with the A. West follows and East discards the 2.

Trick 4: You lead the 5. LHO plays the 4 and East wins the 9.

Trick 5: East leads the 5.  What will you play to this trick and why?  Assume you are playing against competent opponents.
 


 

ANSWER:  The key is West’s play to the second club trick.  West is marked with a high club but wanted East on lead – probably to lead a heart to West’s king.  If West did not hold the K, he should have won trick 5 with a high club and led a heart through dummy’s ace.  Declarer should play the 10 and hope that West does not also have the J.

The defenders’ hands are:

                                      8                                                              --
                                      K 9 2                                                      J 8 6 5
                                      Q J 9 8 5                                                A 10 6 2
                                      K J 7 4                                                   Q 10 9 6 2


Sample Hand #6 

Dealer: South                                                       K 6 2
Vul: None                                                              8 7 6 3
                                                                              10 6 5 4 2
                                                                              3

 

Opening lead 10

                                                                              A J 7
                                                                              A K 4
                                                                              A K 7
                                                                              7 6 5 2

 

Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH         EAST             SOUTH

                                                                                                                      1C   
                                                  Pass              Pass              Pass

How do you plan to make 1C?

 

 

ANSWER:  The spade lead gives you a third spade trick with the jack. You have four more tricks in the red suits.  Your best bet is to play on clubs at every opportunity, giving the defenders the tricks they have coming and preventing them from gaining extra tricks by ruffing. 

The defenders’ hands:    WEST                                                         EAST

                                      10 9 8                                                    Q 5 4 3
                                      Q 10                                                      J 9 5 2
                                      Q J 8 3                                                  9
                                      A Q J 10                                                K 9 8 4

On a diamond switch, East can get one diamond ruff but he will ruff your diamond loser, not a winner.  By the time West can lead a second diamond, East is out of trump.  If declarer plays even one high diamond before drawing trumps, 1C goes down.


Sample Hand #7

Dealer: North                                                        A 7 5
Vul: None                                                              A 6 3
                                                                              A 4
                                                                              K J 8 6 2

 

Opening lead K                                                  YOU (Declarer)

                                                                              6 3
                                                                              K 10 9 8 7 4
                                                                              J 7
                                                                              A 7 3

Bidding

                                                  WEST            NORTH         EAST             SOUTH

                                                                        1NT                Pass              4H  All Pass

An old-fashioned auction gets you to 4H. LHO leads the K, won by Dummy’s A. You cash 2 high trumps revealing a trump loser with your LHO. How will you proceed to make 4H?  Assume IMPS or Rubber Bridge.

 

 

ANSWER:   Finesse for a contract only as a last resort. If you cash the A and finesse  Dummy’s J, losing to RHO’s  Q, the defense cashes the Q and switches to spades. Dummy wins the ªA, but when you play the K, intending to subsequently discard your losing 6, LHO ruffs and leads a spade for one down. You lose one trick in each suit.

To take a winning frame of mind, you should NOT finesse the J. If successful, it means merely an overtrick. First, assume a normal 3-2 club split. (That’s more likely than a successful club finesse.) DO think to establish clubs for a Spade discard, but be willing to accept the loss of a club trick in that process.

After the 2 high trumps, cash your K and A and surrender a club. LHO then gets the

Q and shifts to the K, but too late. Win it in Dummy and play the good J, enabling you to discard your losing 6 while LHO ruffs with his high trump. A loser-on-loser play! Correct timing in play of the club suit saves the day!

The defenders’ hands are:

WEST                                                                                     EAST

K Q 4                                                                       J 10 9 8 2
          
  Q J 5                                                                        2
           
K Q 10 9 6                                                               8 5 3 2
           
5 4                                                                           Q 10 9


Example # 8

 

A) What is the safest play for TWO tricks with this holding?

            North   A J 5 4

South   10 6 3 2

B) What is the safest play for THREE tricks with this holding?

            North   A J 3 2

South   K 9 5 4

  

ANSWERS:  

A) Win the ace. Then either lead low to the 10, or come to South to lead low toward the jack.  That play caters to K Q x x in either opponent’s hand as well as a singleton honor.

B) Lead the 4 to the ace and then lead the 2, inserting the 9 if second hand follows. This is the safety play for THREE tricks, catering to Q 10 x x in either hand. (If the suit divides 3-2, you always have 3 tricks.)
 


Example #9 

Describe South's hand as completely as possible and discuss any call that North might make next.

 

      WEST             NORTH           EAST               SOUTH

        1D                 Double             Pass                    1S

       Pass                 1NT               Pass                    2S

  

ANSWER:  North doubled and corrected. Typically, this shows a hand too good to have overcalled 1NT immediately. North’s hand is similar to a 1NT overcall but slightly stronger (about 19-21 points).

Since North has already described his hand, South is the captain. South’s 2S bid is intended as signoff. With a good hand and a good spade fit, North might raise to 3S but North will generally pass 2S