Prize Play
by Julian Pottage

Please look at the play question below and give your answer. Assume teams (IMPs) or rubber scoring.

There are three categories in our competition: up to and including Master; for those up to and including Regional Master; and for those with higher ranking.

HK 8 5 4
CA J 9 6 5 4 3
SA J 9
HA J 3
DK Q J 8 4 2
All Pass

West leads the three of spades to dummy's king.

How do you play at trick two?

Entries to this email please. Entries need to arrive by 15 January 2011. In the email header, please state the category you wish to enter and your postal address. Julian Pottage will judge the entries and the first drawn answer in each category that he judges as correct will win a prize.

Prizes on offer for this edition are below:

Master: Winning Bridge at Home, by Tony Forrester.

Regional Master: Bridge is Fun, by Ron Klinger.

Higher Ranking: Moments of Truth, by R. Jayaram.

All above books are available at the EBU Bridge Shop -- have a look here.

Good luck!

Answer to Tournament Focus V Play Quiz

Question master Julian Pottage gives his view of the best line of play from our last Tournament Focus competition.

SA J 8
HK J 7 4
DA K 8
CQ 10 5
S10 9 5
DQ 9 6 5
CJ 9 6 4 2
HandSK 7 6 4 3 2
HA 6
DJ 10 3
C7 3
HQ 10 8 5 3 2
D7 4 2
CA K 8

You play in 6H after East has opened a weak 2S and West has raised spades.

West leads the ten of spades.

What can you do about your diamond loser? On the bidding (and lead), East surely hold the king of spades, so the finesse is wrong. Maybe East has a singleton ace of hearts and a doubleton diamond. In that case, you might be able to cash your top cards in the minors and force East to give you a ruff and discard. Since that depends upon a precise layout, it is a long shot. Indeed, ducking the first spade seems better — East might think the lead is from Q-10-9-x and duck too — stranger things have happened! You might try this if you have missed the best play: a squeeze on both defenders.

Look again at the spades. From the bidding and lead, surely West has 10-9-x and East K-x-x-x-x-x. After the ace wins the first trick, neither defender can lead the suit without giving you a trick. What is more, neither defender can discard down to a singleton spade without giving you a trick. If West does, you lead the jack to pin the nine and take a ruffing finesse. If East does, you lead low to ruff out the king.

Go up with the ace of spades and play a trump. East wins and does best to switch to a diamond. Win in dummy, cash all but one of your trumps (dummy throws a low diamond) and play three rounds of clubs. Everyone now has three cards left. As discussed, West needs to keep 9-x of spades, so has only one diamond. Likewise East needs to keep K-x of spades, so has only one diamond. You cash dummy’s second top diamond and ruff a spade before claiming the last trick with the seven of diamonds!

The winners are:
Regional Master: John Haslegrave, Cambridge has won The Wei to Good Bridge by Kathie Wei-Sender and Martin Hoffman
Higher Ranking: Nathan Piper, London has won Great Hands I wish I had played by Sally & Raymond Brock
We had no winners for Master