Bookworm Bridge Conundrums - #2

This conundrum was written by Barbara Seagram and David Bird and was originally published in Declarer Play at Bridge, A Quizbook - you can find out all about the book further down the page.

Problem 5 from ‘Declarer Play at Bridge - A Quizbook’

West led with ♠️J


You would have bid much better than that. Yes, we believe you! Anyway, how would you tackle the diamond slam when West leads the ♠️J?

The fact that you are in a slam makes no difference to the way in which you plan the contract. The first step is to count the potential losers. You have one in spades, since dummy’s ♠️A covers one of your two losers. You have one loser in hearts, because the defenders will score the ❤️A. There are no further losers in either diamonds or clubs. This is your loser situation:

Losers: ♠️ 1 ❤️ 1 ♦️ 0 ♣️ 0 Total: 2

You can hardly expect to avoid the heart loser, so you must look for a way to avoid the possible loser in spades. There are three basic ways to avoid a loser: ruffing, discarding and finessing. Can you ruff a spade in dummy? No. Can you take a finesse in spades? No. There is only one way of avoiding a loser left — you must discard it.

Do you see how this can be done?

About the Book

This book gives near-beginners a chance to practice the principles on which sound declarer play is based: count your winners, count your losers, make a plan. This is not just a series of problem hands, however.  Each section contains a brief introduction of its topic, and the ideas are reinforced with carefully explained solutions and helpful tips throughout. Bridge teachers and students will find this book invaluable.

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