Ann Brown arrived on the Vineyard this summer following an off-season of bridge lessons from Claire J. Tornay of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Ms. Tornay is no ordinary instructor. On July 27, she sent her students a summer quiz with challenges like defining 10 different terms from limit bid to intra finesse, and multiple-choice questions like:
When I am declarer, before I play a card from dummy to the first trick
[a] I review the bidding
[b] I count the high-card points in my hand and the dummy
[c] I count my tricks and make a plan.
[d] all the above
I’d have checked [d]. And how about bidding decisions in the South position like:
No one Vul ♠3 2 ♥7 3 ♦A Q 9 6 3 2 ♣J 7 5
North East South West
1♠ Pass ? Pass
2♠ Pass ?
My bids would be 1NT and Pass. There’s not much more I can offer partner.
EW Vul ♠K 9 2 ♥A K J 9 2 ♦A Q 2 ♣4 2
North East South West
1♣ Pass ? Pass
2NT Pass ?
I’d bid 1 ♥ , followed by 3 ♦, an artificial new-minor-forcing call asking if partner has three-card heart support. With it, we might be headed to 7 ♥. Without three-card support, we’ll probably land at 6NT.
Ms. Tornay presented a play-of-the-hand problem, with East dealing and no one vulnerable:
♠ J 4 2
♥ 10 9 8
♦ K J 10 7
♣ 9 8 2
♠ K 8
♥ K Q J 7 6 4
♦ A Q 2
♣ J 4
The bidding proceeded as follows:
East South West North
1♠ 2 ♥ 2 ♠ 3 ♥!
Opening lead: club king
Claire asked the following questions:
1. “How many high-card points are missing?” Easy: 19.
2. “Where is the club queen?” There’s no way to answer this unless you know what the club king lead means. I asked Ann Brown and she said it guarantees the queen. That means East has the ace.
3. “Who has the heart ace?” East couldn’t have opened without it.
4. “Who has the spade ace?” East. Same reason.
5. “Who has the spade queen?” West in order to bid 2♠.
6. “Why didn’t West start by leading the spade ace?” Because West doesn’t have it and leading the protected club king looked safer.
Ms. Tornay challenged her students to present trick-by-trick play. I assume West will lead the club king, queen and another club, ruffed by South. When declarer leads trump, East will win the ace and return a trump. You can see that neither side wants to break spades.
Once trumps are drawn, South can cash four diamonds, discarding a spade on the fourth one, lead a spade and claim.
There’s still more to the quiz, which I can safely say was delivered by a top bridge teacher. Look her up the next time you’re in Palm Beach Gardens.