Test Your Play

1. IMPs

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

West leads the ♠4. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION

Are you familiar with the expression “being in deep doo-doo”? In any case, it is an apt way of describing what you are in here.

Your first move should be to win the ♠A. Aside from not subjecting yourself to a possible spade ruff, the bigger problem is that East may win and the defense will cash two club tricks forcing you to find both red queens to make your contract.

A better play is to rise with the ♠A and play two top hearts. If the queen drops, draw the last trump, give up your black suit losers and eventually play on diamonds after (hopefully) getting a count on the hand. If your count tells you that East started with the greater diamond length, cash the A and run the J through East. If you think West has the diamond length, or can’t tell for sure, take the diamond finesse through West.

If the Q doesn’t drop, you are reduced to hoping that not only does the diamond finesse work, but that the player with the Q also has three diamonds allowing you to discard a club before that player can ruff in.

Cash the K and lead low to the jack. If the Q falls under the king, lead low to the 9 paying off to East having the Q–10 doubleton. Not many East’s would play the queen from the Q–10 doubleton. Wait a minute! Is Zia in the house?

2. Matchpoints

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

(1) 15–17 HCP.
(2) Takeout.

West leads the 7. East wins the ace and returns the 3 to your king and West’s 10. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
Dlr:
East
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ Q J 8 4 3
K
9 6 4 2
♣ A 6 2
West
♠ 10 7 5
Q 9 8
Q 10 7
♣ 19 7 5 3
East
♠ A K 9 6
A 7
A J 8 3
♣ J 8 4
South
♠ 2
J 10 6 5 4 3 2
K 5
♣ K Q 10

Ostensibly you have four losers as hearts must be 3–2, East surely having A–x. The problem is to avoid a trump promotion on a fourth diamond: West, with Q–x–x in trumps, will not overruff when you ruff high.

The answer is to lead a heart to the king and ace, ruff the diamond return, cross to the ♣A and lead the fourth diamond yourself discarding a spade. There goes the trump promotion
and you make your doubled contract for what should no worse than a tie for top.

Thanks to Barry Rigal, New York City, for this one.