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Clever Plays


Each of the following contracts requires a clever or tricky play to succeed. An expert would find them at the table. Can you? (Assume you are playing IMPs)

1. 4 H by South

S K Q J 2
H Q J 9 2
D 3 2
C A 8 4
Lead: S 10Table
S 3
H A K 10 8 6 4
D K 4
C Q J 10 9


Answer

You could predict the play here: East will win the first trick and lead a diamond. If the D A is wrong, you will lose the first three tricks and you’ll still need the club finesse. Need I tell you that it loses?

The solution is to duck the first trick to keep the dangerous hand off lead. If West holds the lead, he cannot hurt you, and your contract is assured on the bridge certainty that East holds the S A. If East overtakes to lead a diamond, this sets up three discards and you won’t need the club finesse.

2. 3 NT by South

S Q 4 3
H 10 9
D Q J 6 2
C K Q 10 9
Lead: H 5TableEast plays H J
S 5 2
H A Q 7
D A 10 9 7 4
C A J 5


Answer

If the diamond finesse loses, your contract rates to fail if West shifts to a spade. He will surely do this when he realizes you have at least two heart stoppers. Your goal is to persuade him otherwise.

The key play is to capture East’s H J with your ace! Cross to dummy with a club and lead the D Q. If it loses, West would have to be clairvoyant not to think his partner held the H Q — remember, the jack forced your ace. He will surely lead another heart and… Get that smirk off your face!

3. 6 S by South

S Q 8 7
H 5 2
D A K 2
C Q 7 5 4 3
Lead: C JTable
S K J 10 9 6 5
H A K J 3
D
C A K 2


Answer

You have plenty of winners, but West’s lead is ominous — it might be a singleton, or East might have a singleton club. It would be no great surprise to suffer a club ruff when you force out the S A.

But there’s a way around: Win the C Q in dummy, then cash the D A-K to throw away your C A-K — isn’t that poetic? Now, do not lead trumps. Cash the H A-K and play the rest as a crossruff. Since your trumps are all equals (down to the five-spot), the only trick the opponents can win is the S A.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek