Test Your Play

1. IMPs

♠ J 10 4
A Q 3
A J 6 5
♣ A 8 3
♠ A 9 8
K 8 7 4 2
♣ K Q J 9

Playing with an unfamiliar partner, you open 1 and drift into 6 against silent opponents. West leads the K. Plan the play.


Start by assuming trumps are 3–2 as needed and go from there.

Win the A and run the ♠J. Assume it loses (if it’s covered, you have 12 tricks) and a club comes back. Win the ace, ruff a diamond, cross to a high trump and ruff another diamond. If the queen falls, draw trumps and claim, as you have 12 tricks: five hearts, four clubs, two diamonds and a spade, as no second spade finesse is needed.

If the Q doesn’t appear, draw trumps ending in dummy, and take a second spade finesse. This is a deal from my book “Take All Your Chances.”

The point is to try to ruff out the Q before taking a second spade finesse. In any case, not a bad slam for a first-time partnership..


♠ A 9 4
A 5
A 10 4 3
♣ 10 8 7 3
♠ J 7 2
K 9
K Q J 9 7 6
♣ A K
WEst North East South
> 1
2 (1) 2♠(2) Pass 3♣
Pass 3 Pass 4♣
Pass 4 Pass 4NT(3)
Pass 5 (4) Pass 6
All Pass

(1) Majors.
(2) Forcing diamond raise.
(3) RKCB.
(4) Three key cards.

Opening lead: Q. Plan the play. West has one diamond, East, two.


The idea is to strip the hand, trying to avoid two spade losers if the clubs don’t come in for three tricks – West having a doubleton ♣Q J,
♣Q 9 or ♣J 9. The latter two holdings allow for a ruffing finesse, setting up a club in dummy for a spade discard.

Win the K, cash the K Q, the ♣A K, and if nothing desired happens, cross to the ♥A, ruff a club and lead the ♠J.

You are playing East for the ♠10 x, twice as likely as East having the ♠Q 10 or ♠K 10. (It is assumed that had you led a spade to the ace at anytime, East would unblock with K–x or Q–x). After West covers, win the ace, ruff a club, and lead a spade towards dummy’s 9–4. End of story. East, upon winning the ♠10, is forced to concede a ruff and sluff. Had East unblocked the ♠10 under the ace, ruff a club and lead a spade up to the 9, again losing only one spade trick.

Thanks to Tim Bourke of Australia for yet another of his neat slam-hand creations.