Test Your Play

1. IMPs

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

(1) Jacoby 2NT.
(2) Roman Key Card Blackwood 1430.
(3) 0 or 3 key cards.
(4) Specific kings.
(5) None.

West leads the ♣3. Spades are not 4–0. Plan the play.

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

Win the ♣A and play the ♠K and a spade to the ace. If spades are 2–2, ruff a club and then try a diamond to the jack. If the finesse loses, you will have to take the heart finesse after cashing the ace first. If the jack holds, ruff a club and exit with the A and a diamond to West. There is no exit West can make to prevent you from scooping up the rest of the tricks.

If spades are 3–1, cross to the A and then back to dummy with a spade to take the heart finesse. If it wins, you are playing for an overtrick. If it loses, ruff the club return and play the K. If hearts are 3–3, you can pitch a diamond from dummy on the fourth heart and need a simple diamond

finesse to bring home the slam. If hearts are 4–2, you either have to (1) play West for both the K and 10 and take two diamond finesses starting with the queen, or (2) play West for K x and lead a low diamond to the jack. Of course, the double finesse is the percentage play, but the distribution of the other three suits may tell you otherwise. Keep in mind that you will have a count on hearts and spades so if you can get the count in clubs, you will know how to play diamonds. For example, West might have had a 3=4=2=4 pattern, making a low diamond to the jack the winning play.

2.IMPs

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

West leads the 5 (fourth-best). East wins the A and returns the 8 to your king and West’s queen. Plan the play.

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

It looks like hearts are 5–3 so you can’t let them in until you score at least nine tricks! If the diamonds come in, you’re playing for overtricks, but what if they don’t? What if you play the K and A and someone shows out? It’s something you should be thinking about even when not taking
a quiz.

If diamonds are 4–1, you’re going to need four club tricks. With the lead in dummy, the best play for four club tricks is low to the 10 catering to Q–x with East and still picking up the suit if it is 3–3. However, you should cash the ♣A before playing a second diamond. It can’t hurt and it might save the day if West has a stiff queen. You can still pick up Q–x with East, so you have the best of both worlds.

The gist here is to avoid two careless plays: (1) not cashing a high club before leading a second diamond to dummy; (2) not leading the ♣J once you are in dummy having discovered diamonds are not 3–2. Did you pass the test?