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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

An elderly man goes for his annual checkup. The doctor is impressed that he is in even better health than the year before and asks him what he does for mental stimulation. The man answers that he plays duplicate bridge. The doctor, a bridge player, says that’s great, and asks what he does for physical exercise. “I sit East-West” is the reply.

Here is a bridge puzzle which should help your mental stimulation (with acknowledgments to Peter Harris). You are sitting South. How do you make 7NT after the lead of the jack of spades? Decide on your plan before reading on below the diagram.

  S: AKQ  
  H: QJ10  
  D: J109876  
  C: 2  
S: J109653   S: 842
H: 987   H: 65432
D: 542   D: 3
C: 6   C: K543
  S: 7  
  H: AK  
  D: AKQ  
  C: AQJ10987  

The North-South hands certainly have plenty of high cards between the two hands. In fact, with the club finesse working, you have 14 tricks (three top spades, three high hearts, six high diamonds and two clubs). The big problem is communication between the two hands. The opening lead has removed your only entry to dummy.

If you come to hand too soon you will eventually lose a trick to the king of clubs and go down. So, to make the contract, you must stay in the North hand. You win the spade on board and play the other two top spades, throwing away the ace and king of hearts from hand. Now, you play the three hearts from board, throwing away the ace, king and queen of diamonds from hand. Then, you take the six good diamonds on board. Finally, at the thirteenth trick, you lead the two of clubs to the ace and make the contract. Note that the South hand, with 23 high card points, only took one trick!

Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at [email protected]

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Bridge in Paradise