Test Your Play

1. IMPs. Both vulnerable. South Deals.
♠ A 8 6 2
J 4 3
Q J 10 5 4
♣ 3

♠ K Q 7 5
A 10 2
8 2
♣ A Q 10 4

 

West North East South
Pass 1NT
Pass 2♣ Pass 2♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass

West leads the A (ace from ace-king). East plays the 3, standard count, and you falsecard with the 8. Apparently this little subterfuge works as West cashes the K, East playing the 9. Attrick three West shifts to the 5 to East’s king and your ace. At trick four you lead the ♠K. How do you play if West plays the 3 and East the 9 and vice-versa?

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There is no problem if spades are 3–2, but what if they are 4–1? If you think West has four spades (East playing the 9 at least suggests that), you are in great shape. Continue with the ♠Q, a spade to the ace and the Q, discarding a heart. Assuming West has four spades and follows, play a fourth diamond and discard your last heart. If West ruffs and has the Q, he is endplayed. He can’t lead a heart lest he set up dummy’s jack, while a club goes smack into the ace-queen giving you the balance.

Say West refuses to ruff a winning diamond as you discard two hearts and a club arriving at a four-card end position. West has a winning spade, the Q with unknown length
in hearts and clubs. You have the ♣A Q 10 and a spade. Play a club to the ace. If West ruffs, he has to lead a heart. Whether he leads low or the queen, you have the rest.

If West follows to the ♣A, try the ♣10. If West follows again, ruff in dummy and ruff a heart for your 10th trick. If West ruffs the second club, crossruff the last two tricks. In other words, when West has four spades and the Q, you are a lock. (Yes, West would have been better advised to exit with the Q rather than a low heart at trick three. Had the play developed similarly, West has a safe heart exit after ruffing the fourth diamond. My suggestion is not to play against any West who exits with the Q from Q–x–x–(x) in this position.)

What if West plays the ♠9 and East the ♠3 suggesting a possible four spades with East? This time cross to the ♠A at trick five without cashing the ♠Q. If West shows out on the second spade,
lead a club to the queen, ruff a low club and play the Q.

If East ruffs, overruff, and now you must hope that East started with the ♣K J x. If so, you can pitch two hearts from dummy before East can ruff in. If East doesn’t ruff, ruff a heart and play winning diamonds. You will just lose one more trump trick.

Say that East follows to the third diamond and ruffs the fourth. You overruff and ruff the ♣10 in dummy. Assuming this lives, you must come to two of the last three tricks.

Note that after winning the ♣Q at trick six it is better to ruff a low club than it is to play the ♣A and ruff a club. The reason is this: If East has three clubs he can overruff the fourth club and lead a heart to partner’s queen, the setting trick.

2. IMPs. E-W vulnerable. South deals.
♠ 8 7 6 2
9 7 6 2
K Q
♣ K 9 8

♠ 5
A K J
A J 3
♣ A J 10 7 6 5

West North East South
1♣
Pass 1(1) Pass 2
Pass 3♣ Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 5♣ All Pass

(1) Bidding the stronger major first.
West leads the ♠K and continues with a low spade to East’s ace, which you ruff. Now what?

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

Cross to the K, cash the Q, ruff a spade and discard dummy’s last spade on the A. Assuming
everything has lived, lead the ♣J to the king and run the ♣9 if East follows.

Either the finesse will have worked and you have 11 tricks or West, upon winning the doubleton queen, will be endplayed.

Any return from West gives you the rest of the tricks. If East shows out on the second club, cover the 9 with the 10 to drive out the queen. This allows you to get to dummy with a trump to take the heart finesse assuming West exits with a trump.

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