Vil’s Corner X-Clubs 35

Our X-Clubs readers may be interested in this issue of “Vil’s Corner” from the Hutt Club’s regular newsletter “Finesse”. Entries with answers to the final poser are welcome from members of other clubs and there will be a special prize for the perfect answer. Last month’s posers proved a bit of a challenge. Thanks to “Peter and Dale” who gave two very good, though not perfect, answers.. Well done, and thank you for your contribution. Here are my suggested answers to the questions:

1. Dealer West All Vul


Playing basic NZ Bridge Acol, how should the bidding go to arrive at the optimum contract?

This one should be easy. Surely West should open 2C and East respond with 2S. This is a positive response and guarantees at least five spades, and also at least ‘an ace and a king’. West can now ask for aces and then kings, say with ordinary Blackwood or even the old fashioned Gerber 4C. Three aces and one king in the East hand, so now count your certain tricks: Three spades, three hearts, four diamonds and two clubs. More tricks if East has the jack of spades (or even five small and they break no worse than 3-2) and one more almost certain in each red suit. Just count your tricks, that’s all that is necessary. If you can count to thirteen top tricks then bid 7NT. No, not 7S just in case that suit proves to be the only one breaking badly. This time the spade suit is infrangible with six certain tricks, and as it happened at the time, there were in fact SEVENTEEN tricks in No Trumps.

2. Dealer West EW Vul
West East


You are West and have arrived in 4H. You wish you and partner had bid this hand better (to 4S) but at least you can see that 4H is a better contract than 3NT. Against your 4H, North leads the jack of diamonds.

The instinctive answer from most of us would be: Play AKQ of diamonds and discard a club from dummy, then play AK of clubs and ruff a club. This is reasonable and would work whenever clubs break 3-3.Then if hearts also behave, the contract will be made. However the chances of two suits breaking 3-3 are slim, since the more likely break of six cards is 4-2. Ruffing a club seems to be necessary, but why not play off the top clubs before playing on diamonds. If the queen of clubs falls in two rounds, dummy’s jack is good if you haven’t dropped it under your own AK. Then, there may be other ways to make the contract, ones which I won’t go into. Always think about what could happen if....

Now for this month’s poser, which comes from recent Wednesday play. One East ended up in a very ambitious and quite frankly ridiculous 6NT but got lucky and received a spade lead from South but still failed to make the slam. There were twelve certain tricks to be made, in fact declarer could have made all thirteen give the generous spade lead from South.

These were the EW hands.
West East


How do you play to make all thirteen tricks in No Trumps when South leads the ten of spades and North follows with a low spade?

Give this one a go. It should be easy for anyone who has encountered a similar theme before, or even read a few articles or books on declarer play. Hint: South has the queen of hearts but you do have to make all thirteen tricks.

Answers can be sent to the club or

And a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year to all readers. Wishing you better bridge and better results in 2023.