Main   Exercise 4N41 by Richard Pavlicek  

Who’s On First?

Who’s on first? Yes! No, the name of the guy on lead? Who! I don’t know. Third hand!

As declarer, your play to the first trick is often the most important of all.
Many contracts fail because declarer plays carelessly or too quickly.
Put yourself to the test on these nine deals.

1. 4 SS A J 8
H K Q 5 4
D 8 6 3
C 10 8 3
Lead: H 2 Table
 
 
 
S K Q 10 7 6 5
H
D A 7 5 2
C Q J 7

Which heart do you play from dummy?

2. 4 SS J 10 9 7
H A 10 4 3
D A 8
C J 5 2
Lead: H 8 TableEast bid hearts
 
 
 
S A K Q 8 4
H K J 7
D 4 3
C 9 7 6

Which heart do you play from dummy?

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

Which heart do you play from dummy?

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

Which spade do you play from dummy?

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

Which spade do you play from dummy?

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

Which spade do you play from dummy?

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

Do you win the ace, king or duck the first trick? (A K D)

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

Which suit do you play from dummy?

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

Do you win the ace, king or duck the first trick? (A K D)

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Study 4N41 by Richard Pavlicek

Who’s On First?

1. E-W Vul4 S SouthS A J 8TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H K Q 5 41 WH 24!A?S 5
WestNorthEastSouthD 8 6 32 SS K289
1 SC 10 8 33 SS 63AH 3
Pass2 SPass4 SS 4 3 2TableS 94 NS JC 274
All PassH J 9 7 2H A 10 8 6 35 NH K6D 27
D K 9 4D Q J 106 NH Q8D 59
C A 5 4C K 9 6 2Lose 3 tricks
S K Q 10 7 6 5
H
D A 7 5 2
Made 4C Q J 7

One discard on dummy’s hearts will not help. Your only realistic chance to succeed is to play low on the heart lead and hope East puts up the ace. Consider East’s problem: His partner might be leading a singleton, so it is not so obvious to finesse the 10.

2. E-W Vul4 S SouthS J 10 9 7TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H A 10 4 31 WH 810!QK
WestNorthEastSouthD A 82 SS A375
1 H1 SC J 5 23 SS K29H 2
Pass3 SPass4 SS 6 3 2TableS 54 SS 4610D 6
All PassH 8H Q 9 6 5 25 NH 357!D 2
D J 10 9 7 2D K Q 6 56 SH JC 346
C Q 10 4 3C A K 87 SD 37A5
S A K Q 8 48 NH A9D 4D 9
H K J 79 ND 8QS 810
D 4 310 SC 6
Made 4C 9 7 6Lose 3 tricks

West’s lead marks East with the Q-9, and you can make four heart tricks only by covering with the dummy’s 10; queen, king. Next you will draw three rounds of trumps ending in dummy and lead a low heart and finesse the seven.

3. Both Vul4 S SouthS J 5 4TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H K J 7 21 WH 52!49
WestNorthEastSouthD A 6 22 SS A243
1 SC A J 43 SS 76J8
Pass2 NTPass3 NTS 6 2TableS 9 8 34 NS 59KD 4
Pass4 SAll PassH Q 10 8 5H A 6 45 SH 38JA
D Q 10 8 4D J 9 3Lose 2 more tricks
C K 9 5C Q 10 7 3
S A K Q 10 7
H 9 3
D K 7 5
Made 4C 8 6 2

To make this contract you almost surely need two heart tricks. West would not lead low from the A-Q, so playing the jack or king could never help. Just play low. Even if East could win the 10, you would still have a chance by running the nine later.

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4. N-S Vul3 NT SouthS K 10 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H Q J 10 41 WS 9K!A2
WestNorthEastSouthD A 9 32 EH 6?A!94
1 DC K 9 23 SD Q43K
Pass1 HPass1 NTS 9 8 4TableS A J 7 54 EH 53K10
Pass3 NTAll PassH K 9 8 2H 6 55 WH 2JD 27
D 7 5 4D K 6 26 NH QD 6S 68
C Q 6 5C 10 7 4 3Win 6 more tricks
S Q 6 2
H A 7 3
D Q J 10 8
Made 3C A J 8

West’s lead marks East with the A-J. Playing the king forces East to win the ace and abandon spades, giving you time to set up hearts and diamonds. Note that if East switches to a heart, you must grab the ace and finesse diamonds into the safe hand.

5. Both Vul3 NT SouthS A Q 10 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 8 6 41 WS 8A!56
WestNorthEastSouthD J 10 52 ND J73A
1 NTC Q J 63 WS 32J9
Pass3 NTAll PassS 8 3TableS K J 7 5 44 EH 2A34
H K J 10 3H Q 5 2Lose last 2 tricks
D A 9 2D 7 4
C 10 4 3 2C 9 8 7
S 9 6
H A 9 7
D K Q 8 6 3
Made 3C A K 5

Careful! If you played low on the spade or finessed the queen, East would win and shift to a heart. Then you would be defeated. Just win the S A (they can’t run the spade suit) and knock out the D A to ensure your contract.

6. N-S Vul3 NT SouthS Q J 7TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H K J 10 8 31 WS 107!5A
WestNorthEastSouthD 4 32 SH Q237
1 DC J 7 33 SH 5410A
Pass1 HPass2 NTS 10 9 8 2TableS K 6 54 ED 10!A63
Pass3 NTAll PassH 6 4 2H A 9 75 SC K!635
D Q 8 6 5D 10 9 76 SS 3!2JK
C 6 2C A 10 9 57 ED 9K54
S A 4 38 SS 48Q6
H Q 59 NH K
D A K J 2Lose last 2 tricks
Made 3C K Q 8 4

The instinctive play is to cover with the jack or queen, but a clever East player would not play his king and you would lose your entry to dummy. Play low and win the ace, then knock out the H A. The S Q-J ensures an entry to the hearts.

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7. Both Vul4 H SouthS A K 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H Q J 10 31 WC 10K!52
WestNorthEastSouthD 5 32 NH 36A4
1 HC K 9 4 33 SH 25QD 6
Pass3 HPass4 HS Q J 8 3TableS 10 5 44 NH JC 678
All PassH 8 5 4H 65 NC 378!D 4
D A 10 8 7 4D Q J 9 6Lose 3 tricks
C 10C Q J 7 6 5
S 9 7 6
H A K 9 7 2
D K 2
Made 4C A 8 2

West’s lead of the 10 must be a doubleton or singleton with the nine in dummy, so East is marked with the Q-J. To establish an extra club trick you must first win the king. Draw trumps then lead the C 3 to your eight (unless East plays an honor).

8. N-S Vul6 S SouthS 9 7TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H1 WH 4S 7!52
WestNorthEastSouthD A Q J 10 8 6 42 NS 93A!2
3 DPass3 SC 7 6 5 43 SS K6C 44
Pass4 SPass6 SS Q 6 2TableS 4 34 SS JQC 5D 2
All PassH Q 9 7 4 3H K 10 8 5Claim the rest
D 9 3D 7 5 2
C Q 10 2C K J 9 3
S A K J 10 8 5
H A J 6 2
D K
Made 6C A 8

If you discard from dummy, your H A will be knocked out and you will fail. The solution is easy once you think of it: Ruff the heart and clear trumps immediately (do not finesse). Then you can overtake the D K with the ace for all the discards you need.

9. N-S Vul6 H SouthS Q J 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H Q J 101 WD J2!5A
WestNorthEastSouthD K 7 22 SC 4!2KA
1 NTPass3 HC K Q J 103 ED Q36K
Pass4 HPass6 HS K 7 5 3TableS 10 9 8 6 44 NH Q254
All PassH 4H K 3 25 NH J36S 3
D J 10 9 8 6D Q 56 NH 10KAD 8
C 6 5 2C A 7 3Claim the rest
S A
H A 9 8 7 6 5
D A 4 3
Made 6C 9 8 4

The impulsive play is to win the D K so you can take the heart finesse, which must work. Oops! East would not cover the H Q, and he would hold up his C A until the third round. To succeed you must win the D A first and lead a club immediately.

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© 1994 Richard Pavlicek