Test Your Play

1. Matchpoints

Dlr:
North
Vul:
None
North
♠ Q 7 3
A 9 7 6 4
A K 10 5
♣ 3
South
♠ 10 5 4
Q
7 3
♣ A K 10 8 7 6 4
WEst North East South
1 Pass 2♣(1)
Pass 2 Pass 3♣
All Pass

1. Not a game force

West leads the ♠2. When you play low from dummy, East wins the jack and continues with the ♠A and a spade to West’s king. At trick four West leads the 13th spade and East ruffs with the queen. Plan the play from here.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
Dlr:
North
Vul:
None
North
♠ Q 7 3
A 9 7 6 4
A K 10 5
♣ 3
West
♠ K 9 8 2
K 3 2
Q 9 8
♣ J 9 2
East
♠ A J 6
J 10 8 5
J 6 4 2
♣ Q 5
South
♠ 10 5 4
Q
7 3
♣ A K 10 8 7 6 4

Apparently West has a trump holding headed by the jack that could possibly be promoted with an uppercut. Let’s see if you can do anything about that.

Overruff the queen, lead a heart to the ace and ruff a heart. Cross to a diamond and ruff a second heart, now back to dummy again with a diamond and ruff a diamond. Assuming these three shortening ruffs have all lived, you have reduced your hand to the ♣K 10 8 and need only exit with the ♣10. If West has the presumed jack, he takes the trick, but you get the last two and make your contract.

This deal appeared in my Chalk Talk column in the July 2010 issue of the Bridge Bulletin to illustrate the advantage of the uppercut. I originally wrote that this defense would beat 3♣, but my friend Scott Cardell pointed out there was more to the deal than I first noticed.

2.Matchpoints

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

West leads the ♣2. You win the ace in dummy and play your other black ace, East discarding a club. Plan the play from here.

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

The idea, of course, is to make this contract if both diamond honors are with East without jeopardizing the contract if they aren’t. Start by cashing the A Q, cross to the ♠10, ruff a heart and draw West’s last two trumps, overtaking the ♠Q if necessary. The table is set. Now lead a diamond to the 10 assuming West plays low. After East wins the trick, East is in trouble. Unless East started with four hearts (!) and exits a heart, forcing you to take a second diamond finesse, East is in serious trouble.

A diamond goes straight into “Jaws” (dummy’s ace–jack), and a club is no better. A high club is ruffed and the ♣Q provides a resting place for your third diamond, while a low club will be ducked to the queen as you shed your losing diamond.

And no, a diamond lead doesn’t beat it either: Finesse the 10, win the heart return, play the ♠A, cash a second heart, return to your hand with a trump, ruff a heart high, cash the A (important) and then play all of your trumps and the K, reducing to the 9 and a club. Dummy has the ♣A Q and East has been squeezed on the last major-suit winner. If he holds on to a diamond honor, the ♣K will drop. If he discards a diamond honor, your 9 is high. That 9 turns out to be a big, big card.

Thanks to Tim Bourke, Australia, for this one.