Quiz - Decision at Trick 1

Learn and Practice

This quiz was written by Oren Lidor to accompany the article 'Decision at Trick 1'

In the following quiz you’ll need to make the right decision at trick 1 to determine whether you make or go down.

Decision on Trick 1

Decision on Trick 1

1) You play 3NT and West leads the 4 (4th best). What do you do?

Correct Answer: A

The lead suggests that West doesn't have KQJ (otherwise they'll lead the K). Play the Ace and if Hearts are 5-2, you'll block hearts for your opponents:

After winning with the A: If West plays a low Heart, East won't have a small heart to play back after winning the Q. And if West plays the K – East's Q will fall on it and you'll be able to later win 10.

If you play low at trick one, West will win with the Q, return a heart, and the defense will get 4 hearts and the A. If Hearts are 4-3, you'll always lose 3 Hearts and the A, so make 9 tricks.

2) You play 3NT and West leads the ♠5. East follows with the ♠J. What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♠6

You need to hold up against a possible 5-2 split in Spades. If you win and play Clubs - East will take the ♣K and continue Spades, and you won't be able to avoid losing 3 Spades and 2 Clubs. But if you hold up and win the 2nd Spade - East will have no more Spades to play and you'll have the tempo to develop and make your Clubs before opponents manage to make their Spades.

3) Sitting South, you play 3NT. West leads the ♠2 (4th best). What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♠A

You must win the trick and try the Diamond finesse. The lead means Spades are 4-4 (the ♠2 lead, 4th best, means there are 3 cards higher than the 2 and 4 cards in that suit). You can afford to lose 3 Spades and 1 Diamond. If you hold up - you won't survive a Heart switch: East will win the Spade, switch to the K and you'll go down (if you duck Hearts twice - opponents will continue Spades).

4) You're playing 7♠ and West leads a club. What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♣A

STOP! Count your tricks. If Spades aren't 5-0, you already have 13 tricks. So if you automatically take the free finesse for the 14th trick – you'll go down as you have no quick entry to hand to finish pulling out the trumps after taking ♠AQ. If you try to overtake or ruff a Diamond to come back to hand - you'll promote a trump trick for West.

So, win the ♣A, cash ♠AQ, return to hand with the ♣K, pull the rest of the trumps and claim 13 tricks (discard your Club and Heart losers on the Diamonds).

5) You're playing 6♠ and West leads a Club. What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♠A

Ruff with the ♠A(!) at trick 1 and play spades. Doing so means you can pull out trumps without losing control. You make 4 Spades, 1 Club ruffed, 5 Diamonds, 1 Club and 1 Heart = 12 tricks.

If you ruff low, cash the ♠A and then A and a heart ruff to return to hand to play another Spade – East will get the ♠K and play another heart. You would need to ruff again and thereby lose control over the hand, as west would now have more trumps than you.

If you win trick 1 with the ♣A (= discard ) then if you try the Spade finesse you'll lose control as before (same if you ruff Club and play ♠A) and if you take ♣A and play ♠A and Spade – You'll lose the ♠K and another Club.

6) You're playing 3NT. West leads the ♠6 and East follows with the ♠Q. What do you play?

Correct Answer: ♠3

If you win it with the ♠K and the Diamond finesse fails, East will return a Spade and you'll lose another 4 Spade tricks.

You must therefore let the ♠Q win at trick 1 and then play low at trick 2! If you cover the ♠J at trick 2, West will let you win (!) to preserve a 3rd Spade in East's hand. Then, when East gets the hand with the K, they'll play back their 3rd Spade and the defense will get 3 more Spade tricks.

When you hold up twice, keeping ♠KJ, you manage to cut communication in case East gets the lead. By doing so the defense win just 3 Spades and the K.

It would be different if the A is in your hand and dummy holds the QJ10xx. The finesse would be to West's direction. If it's the case, then it would be safe to take ♠K at trick one as the ♠J would protect you from a Spade continuation if the finesse loses and West wins the trick:

7) You're playing 3NT and West leads the ♣5. What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♣K

If you automatically take the free finesse, East will cover with the ♣Q. When you take the ♣A, West can hold up their 1st Diamond and you are down as your hand is dead. In addition, holding up your ♣A won't save you, as opponents can duck a Spade now and you'll lose the K and 3 spade tricks later. So, Wake Up! Count your tricks! 4 diamond tricks will do the job. Win the ♣K at trick 1 and run the J. West can win the K on the 2nd round but you still have the ♣A to enter your hand and enjoy your Diamonds.

Note that the ♣5 lead could be 4th best, promising an honor (the ♣Q) OR, as here 2nd best, DENYING an honor.

8) South plays 3NT. Partner leads the ♠9 to your bidden Spade suit. Declarer plays low from dummy. What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♠7

Play low too (best to encourage with the ♠7), as South surely has ♠Qxx (♠QJx from the ♠9 lead), promising a spade stopper for their 3NT bid. If you win with the ♠K and play another spade, you won't have enough entries to develop the Spade suit. If you play low, South will win the ♠J and play on Diamonds. West will take the K and play another spade, helping you to develop your Spades, and now you have the A as entry to the good Spades. Whereas if you take the ♠K at trick 1 and play another Spade, partner will have no more Spades after winning the K.

9) South plays 3NT after the auction shown below. Partner leads the ♠5 (4th best) and declarer plays low from dummy. What do you do?

Correct Answer: ♠A

From the lead, it's very likely that partner has 5 cards in Spades. Therefore, win the ♠A (!) and continue with the ♠J. Partner should overtake with the ♠K and play the ♠8. This way the defense gets 4 Spades tricks + the A. If you play the ♠J at trick one you'll win it cheap, but you'll block the suit and the defense will get only 3 Spade tricks.

10) South plays 3NT and partner leads the J. What do you do?

Correct Answer: A

As South opened 1NT, it's obvious that the J is partner's only point. So, the only way to beat the contract is to kill the dummy. Win the A and play the ♠J. Dummy will win with the ♠Q (otherwise you'd continue Spades) but when they try Diamonds, you hold up twice (partner can help with giving count, showing doubleton). Declarer now only has 1 Spade, 2 Hearts, 3 Clubs, and 2 Diamonds. They can make if declarer guesses the situation right - you'll get end played with their 4th Club, see below (click NEXT) to see how it might go:

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.

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9 comments on “Quiz - Decision at Trick 1”

    1. si sud a AK de coeur, il a 9 levées (2 C, 4 K, 3T). Donc jouer A P et J de P est hypothese de nécessite: seule espoir de battre

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