Test Your Play


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1. Matchpoints

Dlr:
West
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ K Q 5
9
Q J 9 6 2
♣ A Q 6 5
South
♠ A J 4 3
8 7 6 2
♣ K J 4 3 2
West North East South
1 Dbl 2 4♠!
All Pass

West leads the K, and switches to the ♣9 at trick two. Plan the play.

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Dlr:
West
Vul:
E-W
North
♠ K Q 5
9
Q J 9 6 2
♣ A Q 6 5
South
♠ A J 4 3
8 7 6 2
♣ K J 4 3 2

In 4♠, your best shot for 10 tricks is to win the club shift in your hand, ruff a heart, cash the ♠K Q and try to return to your hand with a club. If clubs are 2–2 or if East has a 4=3=3=3 pattern, you will be able to get back to your hand to draw two more rounds of spades, discarding the ♣A Q from dummy, liberating the three tiny clubs in your hand, now all tricks. You wind up taking five clubs, four top spades and a heart ruff, surviving a 4–2 spade division.

The alternative line of is to win the club exit in your hand, ruff a heart, then playing the ♠K Q, overtaking the queen and cashing the jack. This line requires 3–3 spades. The suggested line needs 2–2 clubs, more likely than 3–3 spades, and therefore the percentage line.

This deal comes from a time when I used to play hands rather than write about them: the 1962 National Men’s Pairs in Washington DC.

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2. IMPs

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

(1) Transfer.
(2) RKCB 3014.
(3) One key card.
(4) Queen-ask.
(5) ♠Q and K.

West leads a low spade, East follows. Plan the play.

[su_spoiler title=”CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTION” style=”modern-light” class=”icon-right”]

Dlr:
South
Vul:
Both
North
♠K J 9 7 3 2
K 10 3
A
♣ A 5 4
South
♠ A Q 8
Q 5 4 2
K Q J
♣ Q 10 9

In 6♠ on a trump lead, win the ♠8, cross to the A and lead a low heart. If East rises with the ace, you have 12 tricks. If East plays low and the queen loses to the ace, your best bet for 12 tricks is the heart finesse. If the queen holds, play the K Q, discarding dummy’s remaining hearts, and ruff a heart with the ♠9. It is unlikely either opponent has a singleton heart. West didn’t lead one, and East didn’t double either of the artificial heart responses with a likely five hearts headed by the A–J.

Assuming both follow to the second heart, return to your hand with the ♠A. If spades are 2–2 or West has three spades, run the ♣10 (or ♣Q) into East. If East has fewer than four hearts, he is endplayed. If he has four and exits with a heart, you can still take a second club finesse.

If East has three spades, ruff a second heart high. If hearts are 3–3, you have a spade entry to your hand to discard a club on the fourth heart. If hearts are not 3–3, lead a low club from dummy, and if East plays low, use your magnificent table presence to make the winning club play. If table presence doesn’t work, you still have an entry to take a second club finesse.

Thanks to Herb Ehrmann, Los Angeles CA, for this one.
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