Hands of Interest

I hope to make this a page of interesting and challenging hands. Problems in play and bidding. If you have any hands that you find  interesting and would like some advice on play or bidding then send it to me (buch99@xtra.co.nz).  Say ” Tuesday night hand 23.”

 I should be able to pick up the hand from the net.

Delay - from Alister Buchanan






T87                                                                    64

QJ83                                                                  752

64                                                                      JT9875

7432                                                                  QT






This hand was a test of patience.  The longer you can delay the play of a crucial suit the better chance you have of getting a count of the hand.

You are in 7S on the lead of the JD.

Now you only have 12 top tricks - 5 in spades if they break, 2 in hearts, 3 in Diamonds and 2 in Clubs .

Potential 13th tricks:

1.     Playing KH AH and trumping a H you may find that there is Q J X and this will promote the Ten as the 13th

2.     Or the JC may be finessed

3.     or the QC dropped in 2 rounds.

It helps to get a count of the hand.

Take the D and play AS KS and then KH, cross to dummy with the AH and ruff a H.  No success here. Cash a top C to cater for a singleton QC.  Back to dummy with the JS and ruff the last H.  Now you have counted East with 2 Spades and 3H and at least 1C.  Now when you cash the Diamonds discarding a C it shows East with 6D and West has 2.  So now you know that East has only 2 C.  

This is now the situation 





-                                                                        -

-                                                                        -

-                                                                        10x

xxx                                                                     x





Now when you lead the AD West must throw a C.  After the AD you still don’t know what East’s single C is.  

Did you notice that East dropped the Ten of C under the A.  Now if they are a good player then I would not be any the wiser as to the location of the Q.  If it was a junior or intermediate I would play for the drop.

However there is another clue called Restricted choice which says that when a player drops an honour then they had no choice.  Which again points to playing for the drop.



Thought Processes from Alister Buchanan


At a recent tournament in the teams I was dealt the following hand as opener:

S          ____

H          ____

D          AQT9

C          KQJT98643

Now how do you bid this?

You have, on the worst scenario, only 3 losing tricks - AC and K & J D.

3 losers in any hand qualifies as a game force opener.

But, you say, I only have 12 points.  Points aren’t everything.  Consider that partner may have something, and as you only have those 12 points there is a strong likelihood that they could have.

Fortunately, in our system we have our strong bids in our 2D opening, which can also be weak.

So 2D, 4S by the next hand, Double (penalties) by partner.  Now these 2 at this stage are now assuming that I have a weak 6 card heart suit.  Pass by the 3rd hand and back to me.  If partner can double thinking that, then they have some useful cards.  Time to disillusion them.  6C. Second hand looks suspiciously at me sitting there with 2 Aces.  But as he rightly assumes from the bidding that I will be void in S but holding the AH and KD has hopes of taking this light.  So leads AH and sits back to get his KD when the finesse fails.

Partners hand goes down:

S          KTxxx

H          KQxx    

D          J

C          A75

Couldn’t be more perfect. The only C missing is the 2.

So it rolls in for 7. 

The only way to hold it to 6 is by leading the 2C and he didn’t have that.

However, if I leave the double in it goes for 1100 and we only got 940, however teammates only went 3S doubled and gave away 800. We got 140. 

"Choose your Poison" from Alister Buchanan


This one intrigued me. 12 top tricks but Deep finesse says you can make all of them .

 Choose your method of death

Shooting, hanging or poison

The only difference is how long it takes you to die you are still dead at the end.






J                                  AK85

AQT9652                        K84

942                               AT8

K8                                 A96





9 of diamonds, 9 of clubs or 8 of spades?

Which of these unlikely cards do you think will take the 13th trick The answer is that any one of them is possible After an auction that showed D in the South hand  a 7H contract is reached and the 3D is led

 After trumps drawn a S to the AK dropping a small D from East and a spade ruffed

Now the D threat is isolated to the South hand and the S to the North

Now on run of the H suit North and South must find discards

With 4 cards remaining in each hand this is now the situation





----                             8

5                                --

9                               - -

A8                           K96





Now when the last H is led North can’t discard a S as the 8 would take the trick so must discard a C  Similarly South must hold a D so discard another C

Then the small club in East takes the 13th trick.

 The same result is always on whatever the lead only when if a C is led  it must be taken by the A not the K and you come to the same ending less 1 C in each hand

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"Striptease" The latest hand from Alister






AQJ943                                     T876

A94                                             K862

6                                                   A72

AJ9                                              KQ





Once again you have reached an entirely reasonable slam contract.

Looks on the surface to need the Spade finesse to work. So you only lose 1 Heart trick

 But Deep finesse says that you can even when it doesn’t which is the case here.

So how can it work?

Simple isn’t it? Don’t take the finesse.

Strip the hand.  A of Diamonds, ruff 1 Diamond and cash the Clubs throwing the last Diamond.

 Now A of Hearts, K of Hearts A of Spades and a small Spade and hey presto! you have the North hand having to give you a ruff and sluff

Ruff in dummy and throw the last Heart from the East hand.

This is called a “strip and throw in”. However if you made this contract you might by accused of having a peek at Norths hand unless they had shown some sort of minor holding



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