Test Your Play

1. Matchpoints. Both vulnerable. East Deals.
♠ K 10 4 2
Q 5 3
J 7 5 2
♣ J 5

♠ A 6
10 8
A 4 3
♣ A Q 7 6 3 2

 

West North East South
1 2♣
All Pass

The opening lead is the Q. You play low from dummy and East plays the 10. Plan the play.

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♠ K 10 4 2
Q 5 3
J 7 5 2
♣ J 5
♠ Q 8 7 5 3 ♠ J 9
J 7 6 2 A K 9 4
Q 6 K 10 9 8
♣ 9 4 ♣ K 10 8
♠ A 6
10 8
A 4 3
♣ A Q 7 6 3 2

You seem to be in a normal contract, so if you can figure out a way to make an overtrick without risking your contract, go for it.

West, with likely major-suit length, wasn’t strong enough to make a negative double. And East, if balanced, wasn’t strong enough to open 1NT. Conclusion: East probably has 14 HCP, which probably include the ♣K. Your best bet is to win the A, cross to the ♠K and lead a low club to the queen. Assuming this wins, cash the ♣A, the ♠A, and exit a club. If East wins the third club and has the A K with no spade to lead, East is endplayed and must give you
an extra red-suit trick with either the J or the Q.

2. IMPS. Both vulnerable. South deals.
♠ A 8 7
9 4 3
Q 10
♣ A K Q 10 9

♠ K 9
A K Q 2
A 9 3
♣ J 8 7 4

West North East South
1NT
Pass 4NT Pass 6NT
All Pass

West leads the ♠Q. East plays the ♠2, standard attitude. Clubs are 2–2. Plan the play.

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

You start with 11 tricks and have 12 if hearts break 3–3 (or the J 10 is doubleton) or you can bring diamonds in for two tricks regardless of the heart position.

Say you win the ♠K, cash the ♣A K to see how the lands lies and play the Q. If it is covered you have the spots to win and establish your 12th trick in diamonds. Say the queen loses to West’s king and West exits with a spade honor (it is likely from East’s play at trick one that West has led from the Q–J–10) to dummy’s ace. Next, test the hearts to see if the J–10 comes down or the hearts are 3–3. Let’s say neither happens and East has the heart length. You are now cold if West started with the expected ♠Q J 10 regardless of who has the J. Simply play all of your clubs. When you play your last club this is the forced position:

♠ 8
10
♣ 10
♠ 10 ♠ —
J
?? ??
♣ — ♣ —
♠ —
2
A 9 
♣ —

On the ♣10, East must discard a diamond, you discard your now worthless 2 and West must discard a diamond, as well, to keep the ♠10. With both defenders reduced to one diamond, the A 10 are sure to take the last two tricks. What if West has the heart length? Then your best bet is to take a second diamond finesse before running the clubs, as you need a club entry to your hand in case the finesse works and the 10 is not covered. Of course, if West started with:
♠ Q J 10 x x   J x x x   K J   ♣ x x,
you are down only five!