Test Your Bridge Skills #33

This quiz was written by Oren Lidor.

Test Your Bridge Skills #33

Test Your Bridge Skills #33

Hand 1

What will you bid as South?

Best Answer: 3NT

You showed Diamond and Spade suits and 3 cards in Hearts, but there's something you didn't reveal: a Club stopper.

What does your partner have? Only 4 cards in Hearts (otherwise they would've bid 4) and probably only 3 cards in Spades (or they would've supported earlier on).

Partner's cue bid (3♣) is game forcing, so you can't pass.

3NT will complete your hand description.

And what does West have that makes them bid after passing earlier on? Most likely a good Club suit, but without the necessary values for a direct 2♣ overcall.

A possible hand could be:

You can see that 3NT makes here: On a Club lead you make 2 Clubs, 3 Hearts, and 4 Spades. On any other lead you'd need to try to develop a Diamond trick as your 9th trick.


  1. Partner's 3♠ bid could also be an invitation to slam with a good Spade fit. If that is the case, they'll bid on after you bid 3NT.
  2. A direct 3♠ bid would show 10-11 points, 4 cards in Spades and be an invitation to game. A cue bid followed by 3♠ is game forcing, showing either 3 cards in Spades (probably asking for a Club stopper to find the best game), or looking for a slam try in Spade.

Hand 2

What will you bid as South?

Best Answer: 3♣

Partner's 2 after bidding Double is showing a good hand with 5+ cards in Hearts (a big double), so game could be on.

Bidding 3♣ will describe your hand well and help partner make the right decision what to bid. If they have 17+ points and a Diamond stopper, they can bid 3NT. With a longer Heart suit they might rebid Hearts. With Club support (and no Diamond stopper) they might support Clubs. With none of the above and 3 good Spades they could bid 3♠.

Another possible bid is a 3, cue bid, which would be a game forcing, asking for a Diamond stopper for 3NT.

The hand could be:

3NT is the right contract here (both, 3♣ or 3 bids will help you to get there with the hand above).


  1. A normal big double hand (after a normal take out double and then a rebid of a new suit) shows 17+ points and an overcall shape (as an overcall is limited to no more than 16 points). But here, North is on the balancing seat and their double could be lighter than 12 points. It shows (8)9+ points. So a big double in this position should be 15+ (but needs agreement between partners) and after your 3♣ bid, partner can still stop in part score if they have a minimum hand (you can't be very strong when you respond 1♠).
  2. Unlike 2nd hand bids, bidding on the balancing seat (after 2 passes) has a different range: Double shows (8)9+ points, 1NT 11-14 points, any suit bid could represent a bad 5 card or a good 4 card suit (unlike an overcall on the 2nd seat). The idea is to reopen the bidding and protect partner, who's likely got some points (as the opponent's responder has fewer than 6 points). Also a jump in a suit on the balancing seat shows a good 6 card suit intermediate hand (no weak 2 or preemptive bids on the balancing seat). 2NT could (with agreement) be 18-19 balanced, and not Michaels Cue Bid.

Hand 3

You're sitting East.
Against 4 your partner leads the ♠Q and declarer plays the ♠3 from dummy.
What will you play?

Best Answer: ♠K and ♣

You're sitting East.
Against 4 your partner leads the ♠Q and declarer plays the ♠3 from dummy.
What will you play?

Partner's Double shows an opening (12+ points), likely shortness in Hearts, and at least 3 cards in all other suits (tolerance). Therefore, partner must have 3-4 cards in Spades. From declarer's play you can see that declarer has ♠xx otherwise they'd surely have won trick 1 with the ♠A; so partner must have ♠QJX.

Which means now is your only chance to win a trick and open a new suit (if you think it's necessary). If you allow partner to win here, and declarer wins any return, they'll pull out AK and the A followed by a 2nd Diamond. Partner will be able to take it with the K, but the defense can't win more than a single Club trick (and 3 in total with the Diamond and Spade tricks) as the declarer can discard a Club loser on the Q (entering dummy with a trump). Therefore, to prevent this from happening, you should overtake with the ♠K at trick 1 and play Clubs. Doing this results in the defense taking 2 Clubs, a Diamond and a Spade. The same happens if declarer has 3 cards in Diamond: they can still play A then another Diamond which will promote the 4th Diamond for a Club discard.


  1. A Heart return could work if declarer's hand is ♠xx KJ1098x A ♣AKxx - it would still prevent Club ruffs in dummy as partner can take AQ and play the 3rd Heart.
  2. However, the Club return seem most practical, as partner probably holds a Diamond honor, ♠QJ and good Clubs rather than Hearts.
  3. Some players agree that Double on 1 must have 4 cards in Spades. It’s a matter on style and agreement.

Hand 4

You're playing 4 and West leads the ♠2. East follows with the ♠K. How do you plan the play?

Best Answer: 6. If opponents play A, followed by Heart then I play K, A, and to the J.

You're playing 4 and West leads the ♠2. East follows with the ♠K. How do you plan the play?

You have 9 tricks on top. The 10th trick can come from one of the following three possibilities; a Spade ruff in dummy, a successful Diamond finesse (or dropping QX), or from a 3-3 split in Diamonds (resulting in the 4th Diamond will be the 10th trick).

You need to find the best way to test (if needed) all the options in order to maximize your chances of winning the 10th trick.

The best way to do this is to hold up trick 1. If opponents continue with Club, Diamond, or another Spade, you'll manage to ruff the 3rd Spade in dummy to guarantee the 10th trick.

If opponents continue with A and another Heart (which makes sense, as East knows you have the ♠A, planning a ruff in dummy), then you're no longer able to ruff your Spade loser in dummy. Now you need to find the 10th trick from the Diamond suit and your best chance here is to pull out opponents' 3rd trump, play Club to the ♣A and try the finesse to the J which if it works will be 10th trick, and if it fails, you'll then need to hope that Diamonds are 3-3, which will allow you to discard your Spade loser on the 4th Diamond.

If you play Diamond to the A and then try the Diamond finesse, West will take the Q, play Clubs and knock out your ♣A entry to dummy for the 4th promoted Diamond, as the Diamonds are blocked now. Doing this means you'll go down even if Diamonds are 3-3. So, you need to keep the A as your entry and use the ♣A for the Diamond finesse. West will take the Q and then probably play another Spade but you can take it with the ♠A and play K, diamond to the A and discard your Spade loser on the 4th Diamond.


  1. You've more chance of winning a Diamond finesse than dropping QX.
  2. A 3 bid shows 15-17 points. Given you've 14 points and the solid Heart suit you can justify upgrading the hand and jumping to 3.
  3. If you play ♠A followed by a Spade, opponents will win the trick and play A and Heart. Now when you try the Diamond finesse and fail, West can cash the ♠Q before you manage to discard it on the 4th Diamond. That's why it was important to play a low Spade at trick 1.

About the Author

Oren Lidor is considered one of the best bridge teachers in Israel, is the author of 5 bridge books, and teaches bridge to people from all over the world on BBO.

20 comments on “Test Your Bridge Skills #33”
  1. Board 4, playing A and K diamonds first wins against the proposed solution if W has Q or Qx, which occurs in 5 cases, and loses only when East has Qxxx (4 cases) Qxxxx with East being revealed after A play. So I would expect AK played first to be the best solution

  2. Board 1.
    To bid 3nt, you must be sure that your partner has 10xx in clubs. Otherwise, your contract will be set after club lead. From the other hand, 4h almost for sure will give you the third club ruff, that, in turn, give you the 10th trick (assuming 1 looser in majors, you should take 7 major tricks, A club and diamond - 9 tricks before club ruff)

  3. Walter, Ken
    January 25, 2023 at 9:14 pm

    On #4, draw remaining heart trumps pitching club(s) before club A and diamond to J.

    Do you not go down if Dia. Queen is offside?

  4. Thx, ur analysis of the hands are based on assumptions. Ie hand 1 It is better u playing in NT then ur partner at the same time call of 2 NTs SK shows less then 10 HCP not withstanding the above comments it’s commendable exercise u shared ur analysis & views. Keep up the good work

  5. Thx, ur analysis r based on assumptions which could be faulty. I,e hand 1 by over taking the Q spd and leading a club u could allow 3 tricks to opponents in Spades and partner may not have clubs

  6. De Nederlandse vertaling is echt heel slecht, bijna niet verstaanbaar !
    Diamant is Ruiten
    Finesse is snit

    1. Hi Shushana,
      Yes, you did really well, but on question 4 you didn't choose the best answer. Try again, to get a perfect score. 🙂

  7. Hand #3 is a variation of a hand Helen Sobel played as East some 70 years ago. Her play was much more dramatic, she did ruff her partner’s A of heart (after he led the K first) to return a club to set the contract.

  8. Excellent exercise. I learned a lot and will definitely look for more opportunities to do this challenge again.

  9. Surely on the last one, after cashing KH you would pull the other trump as well before crossing to dummy. There seems to be no advantage in leaving the enemy in possession of a trump once they have removed dummy's trumps.