Test Your Play

1. IMPs

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

(1) Conventional. Bad hand.

West leads the♣K. Plan the play.

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

Ruff the opening lead high, play the A K and ruff a heart low if West follows. If East follows, return to your hand with a trump and ruff your last heart with the ♠J. If both players follow to the spade, ruff a club high, draw trumps and concede a diamond if necessary.

If East overruffs dummy on the third round of hearts, however, and returns (say) a club, ruff it, ruff your last heart with the ♠J, and take the diamond finesse.

If West ruffs the third heart forcing out dummy’s jack, return to your hand with a trump, and lead your last heart. If West started with two trumps you are home free as you will be able to ruff your last heart, ruff a club high, draw trumps and concede a diamond if necessary. If West started with three spades (more likely), West will ruff the fourth heart and exit a club. Ruff the club high, cash a high diamond, enter dummy with a trump (you haven’t been saving that ♠2 for nothing, you know) and run the J.

If West started with four spades, West will ruff the fourth heart and exit a club. Now you have to find the Q singleton or doubleton as you have no dummy entry to take the finesse.

Finally, if West ruffs the second heart and leads a club, ruff, play a high spade and lead a third heart. If West started with three spades, West cannot prevent you from ruffing both hearts and taking the diamond finesse.

If East ruffs the second heart, it is dangerous to try to ruff two hearts in dummy after playing a high spade. If East has two spades, you can do it, but if East has three, you can’t. If
you judge that East has three spades, give up on a second heart ruff, draw trumps, and play diamonds from the top hoping to drop a singleton or doubleton queen, thus providing a resting place for your remaining heart.

2. Matchpoints

Dlr:
West
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ A Q 9 8
A K Q 8 6 2
K 5
♣ 3
South
♠ J 10 7 4 2
10 3
Q J 7 2
♣ Q 4
WEst North East South
Pass 1 Pass 1♠
2♣ 4♣ 5♣ Dbl
Pass 5♠ All Pass

West leads the ♣J. East wins the ♣A and returns the ♣7 to your queen and West’s king, which you ruff low in dummy. Plan the play from here and try to be specific.

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

You need to find West with the ♠K and it looks for all the world that West owns that card along with the A. But how to get to your hand to take the spade finesse? It must be right to lead the K at trick three, but what if it holds, as it surely will?

Your countermeasure is to cash the A K before playing a second diamond. Assuming both hearts have lived, what can West lead to keep you out of your hand upon winning the A? Certainly not a diamond, and if a club or heart is led you can ruff in your hand, run the ♠J and take the rest of the tricks. The key is to remove at least two hearts from the West hand before playing a second diamond. If you don’t, West can lead a heart upon winning the second diamond and now you are a dead man walking if West started with a low doubleton heart.

Notice that if West started with a singleton heart and three spades to the king, you can never make this contract. Say you cash one heart before playing a second diamond. West wins and plays a club, which you must ruff in your hand. At this point, you, West and dummy each have three spades and you can’t set up the hearts by ruffing the third round of the suit without allowing West to ruff the second round.