Test Your Play

1. IMPs

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ Q 9 3
9
A 8
♣ A K J 10 9 8 5
South
♠ A 7 2
A K 10 4
Q 7 5 2
♣ Q 3
WEst North East South
1NT
Pass 2♠(1) Pass 3♣(2)
Pass 4(3) Pass 5♣(4)
Pass 6♣ All Pass

(1) Transfer to clubs.
(2) Minimum hand for clubs.
(3) Roman Key Card Blackwood.
(4) Two key cards with the Q.
West leads the ♣2. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ Q 9 3
9
A 8
♣ A K J 10 9 8 5
West
♠ J 10 6 4
Q J 8 2
K 10 6 4
♣ 2
East
♠ K 8 5
7 6 5 4
J 9 3
♣ 7 6 4
South
♠ A 7 2
A K 10 4
Q 7 5 2
♣ Q 3

Win the opening lead in dummy, cash the A, cross to the A K discarding a diamond, ruff a diamond high, return to the ♣Q and ruff a second diamond high. If the K has appeared, the Q is your 12th trick. If it hasn’t, there’s always leading up to the ♠Q. There are, however, some added extras. If after ruffing the second diamond, you play all of dummy’s trumps but one before leading the ♠A and a spade to the queen, this should be your four-card ending if West has the hand in the above diagram:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ Q 9 3
♣ —
West
♠ J 10
Q
K
♣ —
East
♠ K 8 5
7
♣ —
South
♠ A 7
10
Q
♣ —

On the spade plays, the ♠9 becomes your 12th trick.

Another winning scenario is when East started with something like this:

♠K J 10 5   Q J 7   K 10 6 4 3   ♣7.

In order to retain guards in both red suits, East must reduce to this:<

♠K J   Q   K   ♣ — .

So when you play the ♠A and a spade to the queen, the ♠9 is again your 12th trick.

2. IMPs

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ A 2
A Q 10
A K Q 4
♣ Q 7 6 3
South
♠ 4 3
K J 9 8 6
8 3
♣ A K 9 2
WEst North East South
1
3♠ 4NT(1) Pass 5(2)
Pass 5NT(3) Pass 6♣(4)
Pass 7 All Pass

(1) Roman Key Card Blackwood.
(2) Two key cards without the Q.
(3) Specific kings?
(4) ♣K.

West leads the ♠K. You win the ♠A, East playing the 9, and play the A Q, West discarding a spade on the second heart. Take it from here.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ A 2
A Q 10
A K Q 4
♣ Q 7 6 3
West
♠ K Q J 10 8 6 5
3
J 9 7 6
♣ 5
East
♠ 9 7
7 5 4 2
10 5 2
♣ J 10 8 4
South
♠ 4 3
K J 9 8 6
8 3
♣ A K 9 2

The only problem arises when East has four clubs to the J–10 and you can’t diagnose it quickly enough. (If West has four clubs, you’re a goner).
The idea is to find out how many diamonds West has before you play clubs.

Do not play any more trumps, but instead cash the A K Q, discarding a spade. If both follow to all three diamonds, ruff a diamond. If West started with a singleton diamond, West has four clubs and you are finished. If West started with two or
three diamonds, clubs are breaking 3–2, so you are home after drawing trumps. If West started with four diamonds, East has four clubs. Now is the time to lead the ♣Q from dummy, and assuming West follows low, lead a low club intending to insert the 9 if East ducks. If East splits, enter dummy with the 10 and lead a club to the 9.

Yes, if East ruffs the third diamond indicating that East also has five clubs, down you go. And yes, had you drawn trumps and then played diamonds discovering that East has a doubleton, you make the contract by shedding a spade on the third diamond and leading a club to the 9.
(The stuff I have to mention to avoid letters!)