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Test Your Play


1. IMPs

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

(1) Drury

West leads the Q. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
North
♠ Q J 4 3
A K 6
6 5 4
♣ 10 5 2
West
♠ K 8 5
J 9 7 3
Q
♣ Q 8 7 6 3
East
♠ 7
Q 10 5 2
10 9 8 7 3 2
♣ A 9
South
♠ A 10 9 6 2
8 4
A K J
♣ K J 4

The danger is finding the opening leader with K–x–x of trumps, a singleton diamond, and East with the ♣A as an entry to for a diamond ruff. Even if all of that happens, the club finesse for the queen might still work, and you can still make the contract.

There is no need to put yourself at the mercy of any club finesse, however. Strip the hearts and then play the ♠A and a spade. Say West has the dreaded K–x–x of spades, wins the king, puts East in with a club, and ruffs the diamond return. But now what? With the hand stripped,
West can do no better than lead a club smack into your K–J, allowing you to make your contract.

2. IMPs

Dlr:
West
Vul:
None
North
♠ A K Q 6 2
J 7 2
A 9
♣ K J 10
South
♠ 10 8 7 4
A 5 4
K Q 4 3
♣ 8 4
WEst North East South
2 Dbl Pass 3♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass

West leads the K. East playing the 3. You win the ace and cross to the ♠A, West discarding a heart. Plan the play.

CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION
Dlr:
East
Vul:
Both
North
♠ A K Q 6 2
J 7 2
A 9
♣ K J 10
West
♠ —
K Q 10 9 8 6
10 8 5
♣ 9 6 5 2
East
♠ J 9 5 3
3
J 7 6 2
♣ A Q 7 3
South
♠ 10 8 7 4
A 5 4
K Q 4 3
♣ 8 4

Herve Mouiel of France found an elegant play in the 2008 European Championships. He continued with the A K Q, discarding a heart from the dummy (both defenders following), and then played a fourth diamond. When West showed out, Mouiel discarded dummy’s last heart. East was now on lead with only black cards. A lead in either black suit costs a trick. East actually led a club to the 10, but Mouiel was able to give up a club and ruff a club to lose one diamond, one spade and one club.

What if West had followed to the fourth diamond? Now declarer has to find West with the ♣Q. One possibility is to ruff the diamond high and play a high trump and a low trump to East’s jack leaving:

Dlr:
East
Vul:
Both
North
♠ 6
J
♣ K J 10
West
♠ —
Q 10
♣ Q 6 5
East
♠ 9
♣ A 9 7 3
South
♠ 10
5 4
♣ 8 4

East does best to exit a spade to South, with West, perforce, discarding a heart. Now a club goes to the 10, which East must duck. The J is led from dummy to West’s queen, but West is forced to lead a club allowing declarer to insert the jack and lose but one club trick. Declarer loses one spade, one heart and one club.