Test Your Play

1. IMPs. N-S vulnerable. West Deals.
♠ Q J 6 3
Q 6 4
3 2
♣ J 8 4 3
♠ A K 10 9 7 4

A K Q 5
♣ A 9 7

West North East South
1 Pass 4 4♠
Pass Pass 5 Dbl
Pass 5♠ Pass 6♠
All Pass

West leads the K. You ruff and plunk down the ♠A, East discarding a heart. Plan the play.

In order to have something resembling an opening hand, West needs the ♣K and the ♣Q. Unless they’re doubleton, you must plan an endplay.
Cross to dummy with a trump at trick three, ruff a heart, remove West’s last trump and cash the A K Q. If West follows to three diamonds, he’s marked with a doubleton club, so the ♣K Q should come down when you play the ♣A and another club.
If West discards a heart on the second or third diamond, however, this should be the position when you lead your last diamond:

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

West must discard a heart. You ruff in dummy, ruff a heart — stripping West of hearts — and lead a low club toward the jack. East wins, but has to lead a club, allowing you to take the last two tricks.
Thanks to Tim Bourke of Australia for this one.

2. IMPs. N-S vulnerable. North deals.
♠ K 3 2
K 7 3
♣ K 9 8
♠ A Q 10 5 4
A 6
A 7
♣ K J 6 5
After North opens 1♣, you (South) wind up in 6♠ against silent opponents. West leads the 2 (fourth‑best leads). You win and play the ♠A K.

  • a. How do you play if both follow?
  • b. How do you play if West shows out on the second spade?
a. Draw the last trump, cross to the K and run the Q. If the finesse loses, ruff the likely heart return, cash the A, cross to the ♣A, discard a club on the J and, unless you know something, take the club finesse.
If the diamond finesse wins, ruff a heart and play the ♣K. If both follow, with East playing the 9 or 10, lead a club. If West follows low, insert the ♣8, a safety play ensuring three club tricks. If East
follows to the ♣K low, cash the A and lead a club to the ace and a club toward the jack ensuring three club tricks unless West has Q–10–9–x.
If East shows out on the ♣K, cash the A and duck a club. If West started with a 3–3–2–5 pattern, he will have to lead from the ♣Q, limiting your club losses to one
trick. Don’t hold your breath.

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

Lead a spade to the 10, discard a heart on the ♠Q, cross to the K and run the Q. If the Q holds, cross to the A, cash the ♣K and make the same safety play (a club to the 8) if the 9 or 10 appears from East.
If neither appears, cross to the ♣A and lead a club. Again, you lose only when West started with ♣Q 10 9 x.
If the diamond finesses loses, you’re back to the club finesse.