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Department of Transportation


The Interstate Highway Commission has hired you to play these 3 NT contracts after West leads the S 5. Plan the play, but watch your transportation!

1. 3 NT by South

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


Answer

Your best chance is clearly the heart finesse, which may require three leads from dummy. You can ensure the needed entries (barring an unlikely singleton lead) only by winning the first trick with the ace. Continue with the S Q, and if West follows, overtake with the king to reach dummy for a heart finesse.

If the heart finesse wins, you have two more entries, either by finessing the S 9 (if East showed out) or by leading to the jack to drop the 10 (if both followed twice).

West held:

S 10-8-7-5 H 7-4 D K-10-7-6 C K-10-5

2. 3 NT by South

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


Answer

You can establish nine tricks by giving up the D J if it doesn’t drop, but you can’t reach dummy for the S A. The solution is to concede a diamond trick willfully to force an entry with the D 9.

Win both top spades in hand, then lead the D 10. If either opponent has D J-x-x-x, he must either lose his diamond trick (by ducking) or allow you to reach dummy to enjoy the S A. Note that cashing even one top diamond first would seal your fate.

West held:

S J-9-8-5 H K-4 D J-6-4-2 C Q-8-7

3. 3 NT by South

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


Answer

Everything looks rosy with three likely spade stoppers, but transportation to your hand is a dire concern. Unfriendly opponents will not win the C K on the first round. Did you take the free spade finesse? Ouch!

The key is to win the S A and run the C Q. If it wins, overtake the C J with the ace, and drive out the C K, pitching diamonds. No return can hurt you (at worst, opponents can establish two hearts), then you will lead the S 3 to your 10 to ensure an entry to the remaining clubs.

West held:

S K-9-8-5-2 H K-J-10-7 D J-6 C 7-4

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek