Poll #24, In 4 Hearts: “100 honors” missing Queen, 01/07/2011

Playing Contract Bridge in 4 Hearts: “100 honors” missing Queen

In today’s poll, the good news is we have all the winners in the minors. On the other hand, figuring out how to play the major suits seems to require a bit of guess work, or not. Hopefully we can come up with a sound strategy that will help us find that magical 10th trick. In fact, after enough Contract Bridge or Duplicate Bridge play, some hand patterns begin to look like old friends of ours. So put on your thinking cap, explore the alternatives in our poll and elect your candidate – good luck getting your winner on top of the heap!

View our online video commentary of bidding and play with card animation.

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♠ Q 3 2
K 10 5 4
Q J 9 7
♣ 3 2

♠ —

♣       4





♠ —

♣ —

♠ J 7 6
A J 7 6
A K 5 4
♣ A K

After 2NT by South, North bids 3 Clubs, Stayman asking opener to bid a 4 card major – up the line.  East doubles 3 Clubs – now what’s that all about? Not deterred, South rebids 3 Hearts and responder signfos off in a 4 Heart game.

On lead, West understands East’s double of North’s artificial 3 Club conventional bid as both showing a real suit and asking partner to lead the artificial suit.  With an otherwise difficult lead decision, West is more than happy to lead a Club.

After the dummy comes down, initially our declarer South is happy to count 20 + 8 High Card Points, more than enough for most game contracts.  But on later reflection, South detects a problem – do you see it, too?

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So it turns out there are two types of people: those who learn from others by identifying patterns and those who intuitively deduce thing on their own.  For most of us, the former is much more effective and a quicker way to success than the later.  But there is another type: those who sadly don’t seem to learn life’s lessons at all.  Fortunately, having completed this lesson and mastering our BridgeHands training, you don’t have to worry about being in that camp!

Congratulations to all of our emerging Bridge Masters,



  1. abe stenberg says:

    I wonder if Michael was a bridge instructor (with a woman) on a Regent cruise in 2009? His voice is very distinguished (mellifluous and gentle) and I believe he and his woman partner were the bridge instructors on the cruise. This is probably a strange request; but I am curious to know if I am correct.

    • BridgeHands says:
      Dear Abe,
      Good for you, Abe. Yes indeed, my Bridge buddy Cassandra and I more recently taught Bridge lessons on the final segment of the Regent world cruise from Capetown, Africa to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The prior year that Regent cruise was in the Caribbean including the Yucatan peninsula. Those were wonderful trips with special memories – many thanks for remembering us.
      Warm Regards,
    • cassandra mani says:

      Dear Abe,

      Yes, I remember you from the Regent 2009 (non-World Cruise). You had such a bright inquisitive mind and was a joy to have in class. Don’t you live somewhere in South America? Columbia or Brazil?
      And you had that wonderful sister of yours playing as well. She was a lovely lady and tell her hello from us.

      All the best to you, Happy New Year, Cassandra Mani

  2. Mama Delia says:

    You’ve really come up with a winner with your animated video. I like that it is visual, slow enough to follow and
    your explanation as to the analysis for the declarer’s play. Congratulations.

  3. W A Wolff says:

    Mr Sheinwold discussed this situation quite a few years ago. With the unbalanced club suit,
    the odds favor winning in hand a finessing West for the missing queen. If I have
    misinterpreted this approach, II am all ears. The Bridge World reprinted Sheinwold’s
    analysis sometime in the last few months.

  4. BridgeHands says:
    Okay pollsters, we’ve tallied up your votes and have a clear winner. Coming in at 57 percent, the leaders went with:
    ……..Win CA, win HA, win HK, win CK, win Diamonds until ruffed. If not play 3rd trump
    With 16 percent of the popular vote, the second place position goes to:
    ……..Win CA, low to HK, immediately finesse East for the HQ
    And with another 27 percent spread very evenly between the remaining 3 seat, we can see that almost half of the overall voters go to the finessers. I encourage you all to bypass the finesse here and consider the strategy by the majority – go with the strip and enplay tactic with mirrored hands like the ones in our illustrative hand.
    Warm Regards, Michael
  5. warrenwolff says:

    Well, I was close on the discussion: The article to which I refer is in the
    October 2009 issue of The Bridge World, page28. Happy reading!

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