Main   Exercise 4A23 by Richard Pavlicek  

Eight Ever… or Maybe?

How do you play K-3-2 opposite A-J-10-9-8? If you already have an answer, that’s too bad.
A card combination is only part of a deal — like a single tree is to a forest.
As South, test your skill on these six deals.

1.
None Vul
S 4 3
H 10 9 4 2
D K 3 2
C A Q J 10
Lead: S 7 TableEast plays S Q
 
 
 
S A 2
H A K 3
D A J 10 9 8
3 NT SouthC 5 4 3

How many top tricks do you have?

Which suit or suits offer a chance to succeed?

What is the best play?

A. Lead the D J and let it ride.
B. Lead the D J to the king then finesse the ten.
C. Lead the D J to the king then win the ace.

2.
N-S Vul
S 6 5 4 2
H K 4
D K 3 2
C 10 5 4 3
Lead: H 6 Table
 
 
 
S A K
H Q 3 2
D A J 10 9 8
3 NT SouthC A K 9

Which heart do you play from dummy at trick one?

You win trick one. Which opponent is dangerous?

What is the best play?

A. Lead the D 2 and finesse the jack.
B. Win the D K then lead the D 2 and finesse the jack.
C. Lead the D J and let it ride.

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3.
E-W Vul
S A K Q 2
H Q 9 5 2
D K 3 2
C 4 3
Lead: C 5 TableEast plays C 9
 
 
 
S 5 4 3
H 4 3
D A J 10 9 8
3 NT SouthC A Q J

How many top tricks do you have?

Which opponent do you wish to keep off lead?

What is the best play?

A. Lead the D J and let it ride.
B. Lead the D J to the king then finesse the 10.
C. Lead the D J to the king then win the ace.

4.
Both Vul
S A Q J 10
H Q J 10 9 8
D K 3 2
C 6
Lead: S 3 Table
 
 
 
S K
H A
D A J 10 9 8
6 NT SouthC A K 7 4 3 2

How many top tricks?

Which suits may provide the extra tricks you need?

Assume you win the S A. What is the best play?

A. Duck a club; if clubs do not break 3-3, try the diamond finesse.
B. Lead the S Q and discard the H A.
C. Lead the D 2 and finesse the jack.

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5.
None Vul
S A K 10 5
H J 7
D K 3 2
C 10 5 3 2
Lead: H K TableEast plays H A
 
 
 
S 3
H 6 5 3 2
D A J 10 9 8
5 D SouthC A K Q

East shifts to the S J! How many hearts do you think West held originally?

Who likely has the S Q?

What is the best play?

A. Lead the D 2 and finesse the jack.
B. Lead the D 2 to the ace then lead the jack and let it ride.
C. Lead the D 2 to the ace then lead the jack to the king.

6.
Both Vul
S A 6 5 4
H 8 7 6
D K 3 2
C J 4 3
Lead: H 4 TableEast plays H A
 
 
 
S K 3 2
H
D A J 10 9 8
6 D SouthC A K Q 7 2

You ruff the first trick. Assuming normal defense, who has the H K?

…who has the H Q?

What is the best play?

A. Lead the D J and let it ride.
B. Lead the D J to the king then finesse the ten.
C. Lead the D J to the king then D A.

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Study 4A23 by Richard Pavlicek

Eight Ever… or Maybe?

1. None Vul3 NT SouthS 4 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 10 9 4 21 WS 73Q2
WestNorthEastSouthD K 3 22 ES 6A54
1 NTC A Q J 103 SD J!5!K4
Pass2 CPass2 DS K J 9 7 5TableS Q 10 8 64 ND 26A!Q
Pass3 NTAll PassH J 7H Q 8 6 5Cash 6 more winners
D Q 5D 7 6 4
C 9 8 6 2C K 7
S A 2
H A K 3
D A J 10 9 8
Made 3C 5 4 3

You have six top tricks and two chances for three more: the diamonds or the clubs. After the spade lead, you cannot take both finesses (if one loses, you are down) so the best way to improve your chances is to try to drop the queen of diamonds. If that failed, you could fall back on the club finesse as a last resort.

2. N-S Vul3 NT SouthS 6 5 4 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H K 41 WH 6K72
WestNorthEastSouthD K 3 22 ND 2!4J!5
2 NTC 10 5 4 33 SD 8S 3K6
Pass3 CPass3 DS J 8 7 3TableS Q 10 94 ND 3710C 6
Pass3 NTAll PassH A 10 8 6 5H J 9 7Cash 6 more winners
D 5D Q 7 6 4
C J 7 6C Q 8 2
S A K
H Q 3 2
D A J 10 9 8
Made 4C A K 9

Clearly, you must keep East off lead (to protect your H Q) so you should finesse East in diamonds. Further, you should take a first-round finesse so that dummy can be reentered with the D K to take it again. This proves to be necessary when East has four diamonds.

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3. E-W Vul3 NT SouthS A K Q 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H Q 9 5 21 WC 539Q
WestNorthEastSouthD K 3 22 SD J52!4
1 DC 4 33 SD 10637
Pass1 HPass1 NTS 10 8TableS J 9 7 64 SD AQKH 7
Pass3 NTAll PassH K J 6H A 10 8 7Cash 6 more winners
D Q 6 5D 7 4
C K 10 8 5 2C 9 7 6
S 5 4 3
H 4 3
D A J 10 9 8
Made 4C A Q J

The danger on this hand is the heart suit, not the clubs. If you lost a diamond trick to West, you might be defeated — West could switch to the H J and sink your ship. Note that if the diamond finesse loses to East, it is impossible for East-West to cash four heart tricks on any lie of the suit.

4. Both Vul6 NT SouthS A Q J 10TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H Q J 10 9 81 WS 3A!2K
WestNorthEastSouthD K 3 22 NS Q4C 25
1 CC 63 NS J6H A!7
Pass1 HPass2 DS 9 7 5 3TableS 8 6 4 24 NH QKC 34
Pass2 SPass3 DH 7 6 5 4H K 3 2Win the rest
Pass3 HPass3 NTD 7 5D Q 6 4
Pass4 NTPass6 NTC 10 9 8C Q J 5
All PassS K
H A
D A J 10 9 8
Made 6C A K 7 4 3 2

I tried to fool you here. You have nine top tricks, and if you worked on either diamonds or clubs (or both) you might be set. The foolproof line of play is to unblock your H A on the second spade, then force out the H K to guarantee 12 tricks.

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5. None Vul5 D SouthS A K 10 5TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H J 71 WH K7A2
WestNorthEastSouthD K 3 22 ES J?32A
2 HPassPass3 DC 10 5 3 23 NS K4H 36
Pass3 HPass4 DS 7 6 2TableS Q J 9 8 44 ND 2!4J!6
Pass5 DAll PassH K Q 10 9 8 4H A5 SH 5QJS 8
D 7 6D Q 5 46 WH 10D K!S 96
C 8 6C J 9 7 47 ND 35107
S 3Win the rest
H 6 5 3 2
D A J 10 9 8
Made 5C A K Q

The early play indicates a blank H A with East. Your best chance is to ruff one heart in dummy (with the D K) and finesse East for the D Q. In order to pick up D Q-x-x you must take a first-round finesse.

6. Both Vul6 D SouthS A 6 5 4TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 8 7 61 WH 46AD 8
WestNorthEastSouthD K 3 22 SD J4K!5
1 DC J 4 33 ND 27A!6
Pass1 SPass3 CS Q 9 7TableS J 10 84 SC 25J8
Pass3 DPass3 SH K J 5 4 3H A Q 10 9 25 NC 39A6
Pass4 DPass4 HD Q 6 4D 7 56 SC KD Q410
Pass6 DAll PassC 6 5C 10 9 8Win the rest
S K 3 2
H
D A J 10 9 8
Made 6C A K Q 7 2

If you finesse either way for the D Q, your chances are about even money. Instead you should play for a 3-2 trump break (about 68 percent) which secures 12 tricks. Eventually, you will ruff a spade in dummy.

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© 1994 Richard Pavlicek