Test Your Play

1. Rubber

Dlr:
East
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ K J 9 4 3
K 9
A 9 8 7
♣ A Q 3
South
♠ A Q 10 5 2
A Q 6
6
♣ KJ 7 5 4

After East passes, you open 1♠, partner bids 2NT (Jacoby), you show your singleton diamond, partner checks for aces, and hoping you have the Q or the ♣K, catapults you into 7♠! (Well, you have one of those cards.)

West leads the J. East plays the 4. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION

When a hand looks too easy, beware. Win the K and play the A (key play), ruff a diamond high and cross to dummy with a spade. If both follow, draw a second trump and claim. Dummy’s club goes off on the Q and you can ruff dummy’s two remaining diamonds.

Say, however, that someone shows out on the spade. Ruff another diamond high, cross to the ♣A, ruff dummy’s last diamond high, return to dummy with a trump and draw the two remaining trumps. Dummy’s club goes off on the Q.

What have you safeguarded against by not playing a trump at trick two? The actual layout for one thing:

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

Say you win the K and play a high spade from your hand and someone shows out. Now if you revert to diamonds, it could be too late. Say you cash the A and ruff a diamond low. (You can’t afford to ruff high if West has three trumps as you need to ruff the other two diamonds high). Cross to a spade, ruff a diamond high, cross to the ♣A and ruff dummy’s last diamond with your last trump, an honor. Now you have to hope both hearts cash. Sorry.

Also, it is better to cross to the ♣A before ruffing dummy’s last diamond. If one opponent started with a 3=6=3=1 pattern, he will discard his club on the fourth diamond and now you can’t get to dummy to draw trumps.

2. Rubber

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

Okay, a little explanation: You had a 60 partial before this deal, so North’s 3 is a slam try.

West leads the ♣J. Plan the play.

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

Win the ♣A, cash the A and ruff a heart low. Assuming both follow, lead a low diamond. If the 10 holds, return to the A. If both follow, cross to the ♣K, ruff a heart, and the most you can lose is the K.

If someone shows out when you return to the A, play your last diamond to drive out the king. Now you are reduced to being able to get to dummy with the ♣K to draw the last trump not to mention hearts being 3–3.

Say when you lead a diamond to the 10, East wins and returns a spade. Win the ace (you can’t afford the free finesse lest West has the ♠K and diamonds are 4–1), and lead a low
diamond to the jack. If both follow, ruff a heart with the A and ruff a spade to get to dummy, draw the last trump and run the hearts.

If diamonds are 4–1, return to the A, cross to the ♣K, draw the last trump and hope hearts are 3–3.