Puzzle This


Dlr: East
Vul: N-S
♠ 10 8 7 6
A K 10
♣ K Q J
♠ Q 9 5 4 3 2
6 5 3
♣ 5 4 3

West North East South
1NT(1) Pass
Pass Dbl Pass 2♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass

(1) 12-14HCP

East opens a weak 1NT. Despite holding a terrible hand, you soon find yourself as declarer in 4♠.

West leads the ♠J to East’s king. The ♠A is next, and East exits with the Q. What’s your plan?

View Solution
Your top losers are the ♠A K and the ♣A, too, so you have to find some way to avoid a heart loser. Dummy’s diamonds can provide a parking place for the heart loser, but how do you decide whether to finesse against West or take a ruffing finesse against East, i.e., play the A and run the Q?

The answer is in the bidding. You know East has 12 to 14 points, so first find out who has the ♣A. If you play a club honor from dummy and East covers, you know everything about his values: the ♠A K, the Q J (from his play at trick three) and the ♣A. That’s 14 points, meaning that West has the K. You can eventually cross to your hand with a trump to take the diamond finesse. If West wins the ♣A, however, you’ll know that East must have started with the ♦;K to open. Therefore, you’ll play the ♦;A and the ♦;Q, pitching a heart if East doesn’t cover. If he does cover, you’ll ruff, return to dummy and pitch a heart on the ♦;J.