Test Your Play

1. Matchpoints

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

(1) Transfer.
(2) I had to get you to 6♠ somehow.

West leads the ♣4. You win the opening lead with the jack and play the ♠Q which holds. When you continue with the ♠J, West follows, you play low, and East discards a heart. How do you continue?


Clearly you need to try to arrange a trump coup, which means ruffing twice in dummy and ending in your hand at trick 11 with dummy holding the ♠A 10. Equally clear is that East has the A given the lead and West’s spade holding.

Cash the A, ruff a diamond and lead a heart. If East ducks, he loses the A as you can discard a heart on the K and wind up losing a spade trick. Period.

Say that East goes up with the A and returns a heart (as good as a diamond or a club). Win the K, ruff a diamond, and get back to your hand with a club. (To make this, you must find West with at least two clubs.)

Dummy remains with the ♠A 10 and the ♣K Q. You remain with the Q, the ♦K and the ♣A 6. Play your red-suit winners, discarding clubs, and wind up with the last two tricks. If West ruffs a red winner, overruff, cash the ♠A and take the last two tricks with clubs.

Thanks to Mircea Giurgeu of Petersburg ON and Dave Longstaff of Waterloo ON for this one.


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

(1) RKCB, 1430.
(2) 0 or 3 key cards.

Opening lead: ♠4.

Partner has given you an “aces and spaces” dummy. Now what are you going to do with it?


TStart by going up with the ♠A. The ♠K may drop from East, and even if doesn’t, you will remain with a low trump in dummy to ruff a club. If you duck, East may win and return a spade, and you’ll be in trouble.

The idea is to set up a long trick in one of the red suits for a club discard while ruffing your other club. The play should go like this assuming you arbitrarily decide to set up dummy’s fifth heart:♠A (assume East follows low), A, heart ruff, A, heart ruff, ♣A, heart ruff. If West overruffs, having led low from K–x (the actual lead when this deal was played) and three hearts, you can still get rid of both clubs via a club ruff and the fifth heart.

If the third heart ruff lives, ruff a club and discard your last club on the fifth heart, losing just one trick to the ♠K.

Notice that if you duck the spade at trick one, you cannot make the contract if West led from K–x–x, even if West has four hearts and a friendly 3=4=3=3 pattern because West will ruff the established heart low and still have the trump king. You need West to have an even friendlier 3=4=4=2 pattern with the ♣K x! Sure.

Thanks to Jon Shuster, Gainesville FL.