Test Your Play

1. Matchpoints

Dlr:
South
Vul:
None
North
♠ 6 5 3
A Q 10 5 2
A 7 2
♣ K 6
South
♠ A Q
K J 6 4 3
K 10 4
♣ A 7 5
WEst North East South
1
2♠(1) 3♠ Pass 4♣
Pass 4 Pass 4♠
Pass 5♣ Pass 6
All Pass

(1) Weak

West leads the ♣10. Hearts are 2–1, with West having the singleton. Plan the play.

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

You can survive if West has at least one diamond honor with no more than three clubs. Win the ♣K, draw trumps, strip the clubs, and play two more rounds of trumps to arrive at this hoped for six-card ending:

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

When you play your last trump, West must discard a diamond lest you set up a long spade in dummy. After a diamond discard, cross to the A and lead a low diamond to the 10. West wins, but must lead a spade into “jaws,” and the slam is yours.

Thanks to Tim Bourke of Australia for this one.

2. IMPs

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

The opening lead is the ♣10 (standard). You decide to duck the trick, East playing the ♣8. West continues with the ♣9 to the 7 and ace. You play the A and a heart to the king, both following. You ruff a club in the closed hand, West discarding a diamond, and exit a diamond to West’s ace. He leads the ♠5. Now what?.

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

You duck the ♣10 lead (East playing the ♣8), and win the ace when West continues with the ♣9 (East playing the 7). The A and a heart to the king, reveals 2–2 trumps. In dummy, you play a club, ruffing, as West discards a diamond. When you exit a diamond to West’s ace, he leads the ♠5.

To avoid later problems, win the ♠A (you can’t make the contract if East has ♠K J x), ruff a club, cash the K, stripping both minors, and lead a spade. If West plays low, play the 10 or queen. If you lose to the next higher honor, it won’t matter if that honor is doubleton. East will be forced to give you a ruff and a sluff, and off goes your losing spade.

The reason the ♠A is right at trick seven is because it guards against the doubleton king–jack of spades in the East hand, the one holding that makes you guess the spade position had you finessed either honor earlier.

Thanks to Al Blinder of Torrance CA for this one.