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   Sept. 30/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 Take the East seat.  You follow to the
J with the 3. Declarer wins the Q and leads the 5, six from West. Alas, you can't withhold your ace. What will you play next, and why?

Neither side vulnerable South deals

  J 9 6
8 4 3

K Q J 10 9 8

K 8
J 10 9 5 2
7 5

6 4 3 2

A Q 10 2
8 7 6 3
K J 10 9


  7 5 4 3
A Q 6 2

7 5

West North East South
  EM   SK
Pass 3NT End  

 Opening Lead:

 East can see 14 points in his hand and 7 in dummy, for a total of 21. Declarer must have at least 15 for his strong notrump opening. West has already shown the
J. With 37 points accounted for, West can hold at most a king. If it's the K, declarer will hold the Q and will eventually finesse against your king for nine tricks. East should therefore switch to the 2. If West is gracious enough to produce the K, a spade return will defeat the contract.

6 was a considerate play; he was trying to send a suit-preference signal for spades (highest club to show something in the highest side suit.

 If you enjoyed this problem, then you might like to take the opportunity to win a substantial cash prize for solving others. One of our favourite characters in the bridge world, the flamboyant Zia Mahmood, is running a unique contest with Orbis Investment Management, the corporate sponsor of the 1999 World Championships. Anyone can enter but Internet access is required. The web site is

 Zia presents a weekly "what would Zia do next?" problem. Participants may submit one entry each week and each correct answer earns an entry into a random draw for the $50,000 (US) in December. Try to solve all of the problems or only some. "This one is typical; they're not too difficult. I set them myself," says Zia.