Test Your Play

1. Matchpoints

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

(1) Transfer.
(2) Maximum with three‑card heart support.
(3) 1430 Roman Key Card Blackwood.
(4) One key card.
(5) Queen‑ask.
(6) Q, no side king, but at least one third‑round control.
(7) “Is the third‑round control in clubs?”
(8) Yes.

Opening lead: ♠K. Plan the play, catering to both 3–2 and 4–1 trump divisions.

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

Your best shot is to win the ♠A and play the A and Q. If hearts break 3-2, cash the -♣K, the -♣A and ruff a club. Assuming the clubs have divided 3-3 or 4-2, cash your two top diamonds, discarding a spade, ruff a spade, draw the last trump and claim. If clubs turn out to be 5-1 and the second club was not ruffed, play the -♣Q, discarding a spade, and now the A and a diamond ruff, followed by a heart back to the king. You are reduced to finding one hand with the Q J x.

If hearts turn out to be 4-1, you can no longer ruff a club in dummy, so cash the K, play the A and ruff a diamond, draw the last trump, discarding a spade from dummy, and enter dummy to cash the K. If the diamonds aren’t good, hope the clubs break 3-3.

An added extra occurs if West started with a hand like the one in the diagram. If so, this will be the posi­tion when you draw the last trump:

On the last heart, West is squeezed in three suits. You will throw a spade from dummy. If West discards a minor suit, that suit runs for two extra tricks and the grand is made. If West discards the ♠Q, the agony continues. When the ♠J is cashed, West is squeezed again. The discard of either minor gives up yet another trick (actually two tricks!) and guess what? You wind up making an overtrick in your grand slam contract!

2. IMPs

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

(1) Majors, 5–5, 11–15 HCP..

West leads the 8. East wins the A and returns the 7, West following with the 2. Plan the play and be specific.

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

To win the gold medal, you must make three consecutive winning plays:

  1. Unblock the at trick one.
  2. Take the diamond finesse at thrick three
  3. Lead a low club at trick four if East plays a low diamond at trick 3

The unblock is necessary to be in dummy to take the diamond finesse. If not now, when?

The low club play is based on East having the – ♣A, 10 major-suit cards, the K- x of diamonds and the singleton – ♣A.

If East plays low on the diamond and the finesse works, as it must, East has the blank – ♣A. In order to avoid a trump promotion play of a third heart from East, you exit with a low club, preferably the 2. West, with a presumed J-3, will probably play the 3 and when you play the 4 from dummy, East will win the ace . This figures to be a pretty impressive trick. If, however, East plays a smooth king when a diamond is led from dummy, you have a problem. If the king is singleton, East has two clubs and you must exit with a high club. If East has played the K from K- x (doesn’t East know that second hand plays low?), he might nail you.