Frosty, the Notrump, was a jolly, happy soul. Brrr! Each of these 3 NT contracts is ice cold.That is, if you can find the correct play. Are you up to the task?
With eight top tricks, you need only to establish one more in diamonds. The danger is that, if you lose a diamond trick, the opponents might be able to set you by cashing four hearts; but this is impossible if you lose the trick to West.
Win the A, cross to dummy with a club, and lead a low diamond to the eight. This insures your contract against any layout, and nets an overtrick as the cards lie. Note that if West could win the J and return a club to remove dummys side entry, the diamond suit would still run by leading the ace.
West held: 8-7-4 A-J-9-7 7-6 J-9-8-4
Again you have eight top tricks, and any of three finesses will give you nine; plus theres a chance to set up the fourth club or diamond. Which to try? None of the above. The only surefire play is a throw-in against West.
Duck the first heart (optional), then win the K, K (optional) and A. Exit with dummys last heart to let West run his entire suit (you will lose four tricks). Your last six cards will be K-7-4 K-6-4 opposite A-J A-J A-J, and any lead by West gives you a free finesse for your ninth trick.
West held: Q-8-7 Q-J-10-9-8-7 Q-2 Q-5
You have seven top tricks and can establish a heart for eight. If the diamonds run that makes 12. Quit dreaming! Would I really give you a 3-2 diamond break? Theres only one way to ensure nine tricks, and it requires some fancy footwork.
Win the K, then lead the Q and overtake it with the king. Cash the A to pitch your 10, then lead the 10 and pitch your A! Eventually you will reach dummy in hearts. Note that if you didnt jettison your top spades, a spade return by East would set up Wests suit before you could reach dummy.
West held: J-7-6-5-4 A-9-8-7 2 Q-4-2
© 2000 Richard Pavlicek