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"Ottlik" problem from BBO by Henry Bethe (Page of 2) June 10, 2012

On BBO they reprint this problem from a Hungarian contest celebrating the 100th birthday of Geza Ottlik, the hand source for "Adventures in Card Play." I have reoriented the hand for convenience. If you want more details, please logon to BBO and read them there.

North
A85
AKQ
AK875
Q8
South
K632
9875432
62

East opens 5. The final contract is 6 by South. West leads the Q, 5, 2, K.

How do you plan the play?

North
A85
AKQ
AK875
Q8
South
K632
9875432
62

I could find no better than this:

Trump to Q. If both follow, claim drawing the other trump and conceding a spade.

If East shows out - making him 0-0 in the majors - one possibility is to find West with three or four diamonds. So AK, ruff, finish trumps and if necessary ruff another diamond. The other possibility I see is to hope West has AK or three diamonds. Then three rounds of trumps followed by AK another. When East follows discard a spade. Either East wins the trick and must return a minor or the suit breaks. If the suit does not break, running the rest of the trumps will squeeze West  in the black suits. This actually seems more likely than that East would have ten or eleven clubs.

If West shows out, I think you need diamonds not worse than 4-2, or the same black suit squeeze. So AK and another. If both opponents follow to two rounds you can claim with 7 trumps, three diamonds and two spades. If West shows out on the second , ruff, finish trumps and lead a fourth pitching a . East must return a minor, and again finishing trumps squeezes West.

Have I missed something?

Apologies. I had not noticed - or this was added subsequently - that East opened 5. This makes squeezes against West's hypothetical AK impossible. The contest is live until Wednesday week - June 20. We have a choice: discuss it now, giving Bridgewinners participants an edge in the contest, or defer discussion. Since we have already missed the first puzzle, I see no problem with discussing it now.

Henry Bethe
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Learned to play bridge in 1958 by reading "Point Count Bridge Complete" by Charles Goren. Started playing duplicate in 1960. Conservative: I still believe in "opening bid facing opening bid should offer a good play for game" which restricts my notions of what constitutes an opening bid. Often offer my opinions as a BBO VG commenter.