Test Your Play

1. IMPs

Dlr:
East
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ K Q 4
Q J 8 4 3
7 2
♣ K Q 4
South
♠ A 10 8 6 3
A K 6 3
♣ A 9 5 2
West North East South
Pass 1♠
Pass 2 Pass 2♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass

West leads the J. You win the ace and lead a low spade to dummy’s queen, West shedding a club. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION

If you can ruff one diamond low in dummy and can cash one club trick, you have an easy crossruff to 10 tricks.

The first move is to lead a low club from dummy at trick three, the key play. Assuming East follows (he was void in real life; see the diagram), win the ace, cash a second diamond, ruff a diamond low, ruff a heart low, ruff a diamond with the ♠K, ruff a heart low back to your hand, exit a club and wait for tricks nine and 10 with the ♠A 10.

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

Say East ruffs the low club at trick three and returns a heart. Ruff, draw all of East’s remaining spades, cash the ♣K Q, return to your hand with a diamond and take the ♣A. Ten tricks: five spades, two diamonds and three clubs. Say East ruffs and returns a diamond. Win the king, take four spades via a finesse, cash the ♣K Q, ruff a heart back to your hand and cash the ♣A for the same 10 tricks.

Thanks to Mircea Giurgeu of Kitchener ON for this one.

2. IMPs

Dlr:
North
Vul:
Both
North
♠ A 10 9
J
A K Q 3 2
♣ Q J 8 7
South
♠ K Q J 7 6
A K 10 2
10
♣ A 3 2
West North East South
1 Pass 1♠
Pass 2♣ Pass 2
Pass 3♠ Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 5NT
Pass 7♠ All Pass

West leads the ♠2, you play the ♠9 from dummy, and East contributes the ♠3. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION

Start by leading the J from dummy. If it’s covered, win the ace, and claim. You have 13 tricks. If the J is not covered, win the K, cash the A, discarding a club, and ruff a low heart with the ♠A. If the queen has appeared, draws trumps and claim.

If her majesty still hasn’t made an appearance and both have followed to three rounds of hearts, play the A K Q, discarding two clubs.

With both opponents following to three hearts, a 4–3 diamond break becomes more like 65%. If everyone follows to three diamonds, cross to the ♣A, ruff the 10, ruff a club, low, and assuming it is not overruffed with the 8, draw trumps. Once again, 13 tricks.

If East ruffs the third diamond, overruff, ruff the 10 and take the club finesse. If West ruffs the third diamond, ask partner why he bid so much.

If West turns up with six hearts headed by the queen, your best bet is to draw trumps, eventually discarding a club and a heart on the A K Q and then take the club finesse. Given the heart distribution, the club finesse is about an 11–7 favorite. This line is safer than trying to cash three rounds of diamonds after ruffing the heart as West might ruff the second or third diamond.

If East turns up with six hearts headed by the queen, and East has the presumed diamond length, you are home free without needing the club finesse or worrying about cashing three rounds of diamonds. Why not play for a double squeeze? Here’s the ending as the last trump is about to be cashed:

North
♠ —
A K Q 3
♣ Q J
West
♠ —
????
♣ ??
East
♠ —
Q
??
♣ ???
South
♠ J
10
10
♣ A 3 2

Play your last trump. If West started with four (or more) diamonds, West will be down to four diamonds and two clubs and must pitch a club.

You discard a club from dummy as East discards a club (or a diamond).

Next, cash the A K Q. On the second diamond discard a club, and on the third (assuming East keeps the Q), discard the 10. You now have a club and a diamond in dummy and the ♣A 2 in your hand.

East has one club and the Q, and West has one club and one diamond: Cross to the ♣A and take the last trick with the ♣2. You did save that ♣2 for artistic purposes, didn’t you?

As long as West started with four or more diamonds and East the Q, any length, you are home free no matter who started with the ♣K.