Test Your Play

1. IMPs. None vulnerable. West Deals.
♠ 8 5 3
A K Q 9 2
9 7
♣ A 5 4

♠ A K Q 10 2
J 8
A 6 5
♣ Q J 3

 

West North East South
3 3 Pass 3♠
Pass 4♠ Pass 5
Pass 6♠ All Pass

Opening lead: K. You win the A, East playing the 2, and plunk down the ♠A, West discarding a diamond. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
♠ 8 5 3
A K Q 9 2
9 7
♣ A 5 4
♠ — ♠ J 9 7 6 4
6 4 3 10 7 5
K Q J 10 8 4 3 2
♣ 9 7 6 ♣ K 10 8 2
♠ A K Q 10 2
J 8
A 6 5
♣ Q J 3

The idea is to make the contract even if East has the ♣K. Start by playing three rounds of hearts.

If East ruffs the third heart (unlikely), you’re a goner no matter who has the ♣K. If you overruff and throw East in with a spade forcing a club return, you’ll have only 11 tricks: four spades, four hearts, two clubs and one diamond. Discarding a diamond is no better as East can exit a spade if he has the ♣K or exit a club, driving out dummy’s ♣A, if he doesn’t.

If East has exactly three hearts, stop playing hearts. Lead a spade to the 10, cash two more spades and throw East in with a spade. The forced club return (assuming West started with
seven diamonds for his three-level preempt) gives you 12 tricks: four spades, five hearts, two clubs and one diamond.

If East has four hearts, cash four hearts before throwing him in with a spade. The idea is to strip East of hearts before throwing him in with a spade. You cannot allow East to ruff a
winning heart. Period.

East has a chance to make a clever defensive play. If East plays the 10 convincingly enough on the first or second round of hearts and cons you into believing that he has a doubleton heart, and you stop playing hearts to take the spade finesse followed by a spade throw-in, you will not be a happy camper when East exits a heart, rather than the hoped-for club.

Thanks to Tim Bourke of Australia for this one.

2. IMPs. None vulnerable. South deals.
♠ A K 6 3 2
K
3
♣ J 10 7 4 3 2

♠ Q J
A J 10 6
K J 10 9
♣ A K Q

West North East South
2NT
Pass 3 Pass 3♠
Pass 4♣ Pass 4NT
Pass 6NT All Pass

Opening lead: 2. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
♠ A K 6 3 2
K
3
♣ J 10 7 4 3 2
♠ 9 4 ♠ 10 8 7 5
Q 4 3 2 9 8 7 5
A 6 5 4 2 Q 8 7
♣ 9 6 ♣ 8 5
♠ Q J
A J 10 6
K J 10 9
♣ A K Q

After winning the K, cash three clubs and three spades, overtaking your second spade, and cash three more clubs, reducing all hands to three cards. Dummy has two spades and a diamond, and you must reduce to the blank A and the K J. If the spades have divided 3–3, take dummy’s two winning spades and concede a diamond. If spades were 4–2, lead a diamond. If East has the long spade, you need to find West with the A to make the contract, so stick in the jack. If West has the long spade, you need to find East with the A, so rise with the K.