Test Your Play

1. IMPs

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

3NT was forcing asking for outside strength. 4♣ showed a club card and 4♠ denied outside strength. 4NT was Roman Key Card Blackwood 1430, looking for the ♠K. 5 denied the ♠K, so here you are in everyone’s favorite contract, 5♠.

West leads the J. Plan the play. Spades are not 4–0.

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

Cash both diamonds (important), cross to the ♣K and run the ♠J. If East has the ♠K, you are wondering why you aren’t in six. If West wins the ♠K, you are hoping you can make five.

Assume the finesse loses. If you have lost to a stiff king, West must exit in either hearts (sure death) or with a club. If West started with Q–J–x–x in clubs, West must be clever enough to exit with a low club. If West started with the ♣9 7 doubleton (and you didn’t squander your ♣6 when you crossed to dummy’s king), it won’t matter how clever West is because you can set up clubs for three tricks by simply covering with the 10, winning the trick, and after drawing trumps, driving out the other club honor using your 6. Dummy’s 8 is now high.

If West exits with a low club, play the ♣K hoping to drop an honor from East. Whether that happens or not, draw trumps, cash the A and
lead a club. If clubs are 3–3 or if West started with ♣J 9 x x or ♣Q 9 x x, West will take the trick and no heart finesse is needed with the ♣10 high in dummy. A worstcase
scenario finds East with a club holding of Q–J–x–x, Q–9–x–x or J–9–x–x. In that situation, you will need the heart finesse.

If West exits a trump after winning the ♠K, draw trumps, cash the ♣K, return to the A and lead a club. If there is good news in the club department, you won’t need the heart finesse. Otherwise you will.

2. IMPs

Dlr:
South
Vul:
None
North
♠ A J 3 2
4 3 2
A J 9
♣ A 8 2
South
♠ K Q 10 9 8
A K J 5
Q 6 2
♣ 4
WEst North East South
1♠
Pass 2NT(1) Pass 3♣(2)
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4♣ Dbl 6♠
All Pass

(1) Jacoby; game-forcing raise.
(2) Singleton.

When East doubled 4♣, you liked your hand because partner’s strength figured to be outside of clubs. At least, that’s what you’re planning to tell partner if things go awry.

West leads the ♣J. Plan the play. (Both follow to the first spade.)

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
Dlr:
South
Vul:
None
North
♠ A J 3 2
4 3 2
A J 9
♣ A 8 2
West
♠ 7
Q 10 8 7
K 10 4 3
♣ J 10 6 3
East
♠ 6 5 4
9 6
8 7 5
♣ K Q 9 7 5
South
♠ K Q 10 9 8
A K J 5
Q 6 2
♣ 4

Start by ruffing a club at trick two and leading the ♠K and a spade to the ace. If both follow, ruff a club and lead a low diamond to the jack. If it loses and a heart comes back, win the ace, cross to dummy with a spade and take the heart finesse. If the diamond finesse wins, however, cash the A and exit a diamond. Assuming
West has the king, West has no safe exit and you make your slam.

If spades turn out to be 3–1 either way, do not ruff a second club. Enter your hand with the A and lead the Q. If it loses, take the heart finesse. If the queen is covered, win the ace, cross to the K and if the Q hasn’t appeared, enter dummy with a trump and lead a heart. If hearts are 3–3 or if East has the queen, you are home. If West has four hearts to the queen, finessing the 9 successfully will still bring you fame and glory.