Test Your Play

1. Matchpoints

Dlr:
South
Vul:
None
North
♠ A K 4 2
Q 6 5
A K J 5
♣ K 3
South
♠ Q 10 8 6
A 4
Q 10 8 7 4
♣ A 2
WEst North East South
1
2 Dbl Pass 2♠
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
Pass 4NT Pass 5♠
Pass 6♠ All Pass

West leads the ♣Q. After a keycard sequence, you wind up in what looks like a comfortable 6♠ contract, but looks can be deceiving. You win the ♣A and play the ♠A and ♠K, but low and behold, East discards a club on the second spade. Plan the play.

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

Keep the faith, you are still okay. Cash the ♠Q, the ♣K, and start (and keep) playing diamonds. If West refuses to ruff (if he does, he has to lead a heart from the king or give you a ruff and a sluff), this will be the forced four-card ending:

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

When you lead the 10, it’s all over but the claiming. If West ruffs and leads the J, the queen wins. If West ruffs and leads a club, ruff in dummy and discard your losing heart. If West refuses to ruff and discards a club, exit a spade to West’s jack and take the last two heart tricks.

2. IMPs

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠ J 10
Q J 6 3 2
5
♣ A Q 7 4 3
South
♠ A 4 3
A K 7
A K 8 7 6
♣ K 10

Control rich, you decide to treat the hand as a 2♣ opener and wind up in 7 after you rebid 2NT, partner shows a heart-club two-suiter, you key card, and find out partner has an ace along with the queens of both hearts and clubs in response to the queen-ask. (Get the latest key card book!) West leads the ♠K. Plan the play and be specific.

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

In 7 with the ♠K lead, win the ♠A and play the A and a heart to the queen. If hearts are 3–2, cash the A K, discarding a spade, play the ♣K, ♣A and ruff a club, ruff a spade, draw the last trump and claim. You need clubs to be no worse than 4–2 and nothing grotesque happening in diamonds or spades.

If someone shows out on the second heart, however, lead a club to the 10. Given the critical club holdings, this is the percentage play for five club tricks even if West is the one with the singleton heart. The finesse picks up J–x, J–x–x or J–x–x–x with East, losing only to J–x–x with West. (If West has J–x or J–x–x–x, you’re doomed anyway, because you can’t overtake the ♣K and run the clubs in the entry-poor ending.)

If you go down when clubs were 3–3 the whole time, don’t write.