Best of British browsings by Barry Rigal

As a non-participator in the teams, I popped into the playing room to see how the British teams were doing. I was given the following two problems -- see what you think.

1.           S 9 4 2
             H Q 10 8 2
             D A 10 8 7 4
             C Q

WEST         NORTH      EAST        SOUTH
                        Pass        Pass
Pass         1S         Pass        1NT (semi-forcing)
Pass         2C         Pass        2NT
Pass         3NT        All Pass

What is your opening lead?

2.           S A 5                   S 9 2
             H J 7 3 2               H A Q 5 4
             D K Q 9 7 2             D 10 8
             C J 5                   C A K Q 10 2

WEST         NORTH      EAST        SOUTH
1D           1S         2D          2S
Pass         Pass       Dbl         3S
Pass         Pass       Dbl         Pass
4H           All Pass

On the lead of the SK, you take the ace and decide to play a heart. (The auction implies something is going to split badly -- if you play on clubs and they are 5-1 you are doomed.) North produces the H10. Play on. (Solutions below)

Solutions to British problems

1. Phil King (who is about to play with me in the Pairs, and whose opinion I must therefore respect) reasoned that dummy would be 5-2-2-4 and declarer might have five diamonds and would surely have at least four. He would not have five hearts -- with values he would have bid 2H at his first turn. His partner would therefore have three or more hearts and his side
would have the DA as an entry. The bad news was that dummy had only one diamond, but a heart was still right.

             S AKQJ5
             H 93
             D 9
WEST         C A10872     EAST
S 942                   S 1073
H Q1082                 H K654
D A10874                D Q53
C Q                     C K93
             S 86
             H AJ7
             D KJ62
             C J654

On a diamond lead declarer's D6 comes into its own. Opn a heart lead the defense gets five tricks by force (13 IMPs in as 3NT  made five in the other room).

2. Although the H10 is not a significant card, there are some restricted choice overtones too suggest that North may be short in hearts. Steve Lodge took the view to play theHA and return a heart toward the jack. On the full hand below South was caught in an impossible position.

             S KQ1083
             H 10
             D J543
WEST         C 74       EAST
S AJ                    S 92
H J732                  H AQ54
D KQ972                 D 108
C J5                    C AKQ102
             S J76
             H K986
             D A6
             C 983