Test Your Play

1. IMPs

Dlr:
South
Vul:
None
North
♠ A 10 7
Q 7 6
K J 10 3 2
♣ J 4
South
♠ Q J 5
A K 3
A Q 5
♣ A Q 9 3
West North East South
2♣
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 6NT All Pass

West leads the 10. Plan the play assuming best defense. Try to be specific.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION

Win the K and lead a low club. If West goes up with the king, you have 12 tricks. If West plays low and the jack wins, you have 11 top tricks, so cross to a diamond and take the spade finesse making an overtrick if it wins, 12 tricks if it doesn’t.

If the jack loses to the king and East returns a club (best), win the ace, cash eight red-suit winners ending in your hand, leaving this three-card end position:

Dlr:
South
Vul:
None
North
♠ A 10 7
South
♠ 5
♣ Q 9

Cash the ♣Q, and if the 10 doesn’t fall, take the spade finesse. However, if there has been an unusual amount of suffering from East on the discards, and if you know for sure that East is an honest sufferer, you might be inclined to go up with the ♠A and play that East’s last three cards were the ♣10 x and the blank ♠K.

In any case, you have given yourself the best percentage chance to land your slam along with a bit of table feel thrown in.

2. IMPs

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

(1) Minor-suit Stayman.

West leads a trump, East follows, and you win and play a second trump, both following, ending in your hand. At trick three you lead the Q. (Assume above average defenders.)

  1. How do you play if the queen loses and the ♣J comes back?
  2. How do you play the if queen holds?
  3. How do you play if the queen is covered?
CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION

2. a. You don’t have much choice. You need to find clubs 3–3 or run a black-suit squeeze hoping the player with the ♠K has four or more clubs. After winning the club, cash all your red-suit winners, discarding the ♠10 from dummy on the fifth diamond. Dummy has the ♣K 7 6 and the blank ♠A, and you have ♠Q 3 and the ♣Q 2. Play the ♠A: If the king falls, you have the rest. If it doesn’t, try the ♣Q and a club to dummy’s king hoping the fourth club in dummy is high.

You can also cash the ♠A earlier and then run your red-suit winners to exact the same squeeze. The first technique seems a bit more eloquent.

b. If the Q is not covered, assume the king and 10 are split as it is normal to cover with the K–10–(x)–(x). Test the clubs and if they do not break 3–3, ruff dummy’s fourth club, stripping that suit, and get out with the ♠A and a spade. If West wins the trick and returns a heart, you will win the jack and no more problem. If East wins and returns a heart, stick in the 9. It should drive out the king and once again the slam is made.

c. If the queen is covered, chances are West has the 10 as well. As before, test the clubs and if they don’t break 3–3, ruff a club and get out with the ♠A and a spade, hoping West wins the trick and has to lead a heart into your J–9.

If East wins the ♠K and returns a heart, stick in the 9 and pray.

Submitted by Rick Rowland, Wilmington DE.