56 English Bridge February 2020 www.ebu.co.uk
A lot of points are resting on this opening lead, but
it is a far from clear what the 'right' opening lead is.
There are a number of possible layouts where
different opening leads will beat it. Which is the
most likely amongst them? I think it is very close
and so the marking reflects this.
(a) ´A: 8 marks. In general, I am a big fan of
leading aces against suit slams. My experience is
that it almost never lets the contract through and
frequently it does cost not to lead it. But here, it
really does look like declarer is not worried about
the spades? Maybe leading it will set up a discard.
I am unconvinced about the ace this time.
(b) ´2: 10 marks. The idea is clear - put partner in
with the ´K and she will give you a club ruff. It is
useful that we have the two, as that cannot be
fourth highest, so partner will have no difficulty
working out what is going on. This is all eggs in
Answers to December's Problems click
one basket for sure, since it is likely to be
disastrous if partner does not have the king, but
again this slam was bid very confidently. It doesn't
'sound' like declarer thinks they are going down.
(c) a heart: 4 marks. Unless you are sure that
declarer is needing to ruff a lot of things it is
almost always wrong to lead a trump against a
slam. It is just too passive and allows declarer to
get on with the task of drawing trumps and
setting up winners.
(d) t6: 9 marks. Assuming you only have one spade
trick, then this is far and away the most likely suit
to set up a trick in - needing only for partner to
have the queen. As against that, declarer is very
likely to have the ace, and if they have the queen
as well - very bad news . . . Still, on this hand you
have to take a position and decide what is going
All this shows again what I know, since this time
declarer had Kxx of spades opposite xx and was
gambling on either a singleton spade in dummy
(quite likely on the auction) or a spade lead. A spade
lets it through, any of your other eight cards beat it.
Pairs Bonus: ´2: 5 marks. You won't get many
matchpoints for 6™ making, so I will stick with
my original lead - but again it is close.
by Alan Mould
his issue, problem one was sent to me by
reader Henryk Klocet and comes from a
silver plate match; problem two was sent to
me by friend, erstwhile partner, and Scottish
international John Matheson and comes from the
2019 Teltscher Trophy (the senior Camrose); and
problem three was sent to me by reader Dave
Simmons and comes from this year's Corwen
Choose from: (a) ´A; (b) ´2; (c) a heart; (d) t6
´ A Q J 8 2
™ 10 4 2
t K 9 7 6 5
South West North East
1™ 1´1 2´2 3´
6™ All Pass
1 Might have bid 2™, Michaels.
2 Good raise to 3™ or higher.
Choose from: (a) ´Q; (b) ™A/K; (c) tK; (d) ®Q
´ Q J 6
™ A K 10 4 2
t K Q 7
® Q 8
South West North East
1™ Pass 1´ Pass
1NT Pass 3™ Pass
4™ Dble All Pass