Main   Exercise 4W93 by Richard Pavlicek  

I’ve Got You Covered!

Don’t move card! I’ve got you covered!

Do you know when to cover an honor with an honor? Test yourself on these 12 problems.
The underlined card is led from dummy at trick two in 3 NT, and you, East, are next to play.
Consider your play by its technical merit in the single suit shown, assuming partner has
at least two cards, and there is no urgency for either of you to obtain the lead.

1. 3 NTJ 10 2
TableK 9 8
North leads

What is your play?

2. 3 NT10 9 7
TableA J 6
North leads

What is your play?

3. 3 NT9 5
TableJ 4 2
North leads

What is your play?

4. 3 NTJ 10 7
TableA Q 5
North leads

What is your play?

8 A J A

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5. 3 NTK 10 7 5
TableA J 3
North leads

What is your play?

6. 3 NTJ 10 8 7
TableQ 2
North leads

What is your play?

7. 3 NT9 8 6
TableQ 10 3
North leads

What is your play?

8. 3 NTJ 4
TableA 7 3
North leads

What is your play?

3 2 Q A

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9. 3 NT8 2
TableK 7 3
North leads

What is your play?

10. 3 NT9 8 6
TableK Q 3
North leads

What is your play?

11. 3 NTA J 9 2
TableQ 6
North leads

What is your play?

12. 3 NT10 9 6
TableK J 3
North leads

What is your play?

K 3 6 K

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Study 4W93 by Richard Pavlicek

I’ve Got You Covered!

The underlined card is led from dummy at trick two in 3 NT, and you, East, are next to play.

1. 3 NTJ 10 2
Q 3TableK 9 8
North leadsA 7 6 5 4

Do not cover. If you played the king, your side will get only one trick in the layout shown, and there is no situation where covering is necessary.

2. 3 NT10 9 7
K 8 2TableA J 6
North leadsQ 5 4 3

Cover with the ace. If you played the jack (or ducked), your side would get only two tricks. Winning the ace leaves declarer with three losers assuming, of course, you don’t lead the suit for him.

3. 3 NT9 5
K 8 6 3TableJ 4 2
North leadsA Q 10 7

Cover with the jack. Many players overlook the power of a nine and carelessly play low allowing declarer to establish three tricks. Covering holds him to two tricks.

4. 3 NTJ 10 7
9 4 2TableA Q 5
North leadsK 8 6 3

Cover with the ace. Any other play would allow declarer to establish the suit with one loser. In general, you should play your highest when you can cover with more than one card.

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5. 3 NTK 10 7 5
4 2TableA J 3
North leadsQ 9 8 6

Do not cover. Declarer’s unusual lead of the 10 is a “fishing” maneuver, hoping to bait you into covering. If you play low, he is likely to win the queen and finesse the other way.

6. 3 NTJ 10 8 7
K 9 3TableQ 2
North leadsA 6 5 4

Do not cover. In this situation declarer could not go wrong if you covered, but ducking leaves him a guess — he may lead the 10 next hoping your partner had K-9 doubleton.

7. 3 NT9 8 6
K 4 2TableQ 10 3
North leadsA J 7 5

Cover with the queen. Declarer can always hold you to one trick in this layout, but the queen is the strongest defense. An inexperienced declarer might think you have K-Q and play the jack next.

8. 3 NTJ 4
Q 9 6 5TableA 7 3
North leadsK 10 8 2

Cover with the ace. Many players would duck on the misbelief they are “making declarer guess,” but covering is crucial in most layouts. Note that declarer could establish two tricks if you ducked.

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9. 3 NT8 2
Q J 6 5TableK 7 3
North leadsA 10 9 4

Cover with the king. Sometimes even an eight can be potent, as declarer could establish a trick if you ducked. The logic here is that your king is useless by itself so you may as well cover.

10. 3 NT9 8 6
10 5TableK Q 3
North leadsA J 7 4 2

Do not cover. Declarer will almost surely let the nine ride (his correct percentage play). Note that if declarer held A-J-10, your play wouldn’t matter.

11. 3 NTA J 9 2
7 5 3TableQ 6
North leadsK 10 8 4

Do not cover. Declarer is on another fishing trip, and you may be the catch. In these situations you have to plan ahead and play low without a flicker.

12. 3 NT10 9 6
8 5 2TableK J 3
North leadsA Q 7 4

Cover with the king. Here it would suffice to play the jack, but covering high is the stronger play. Not only does it conceal the layout better, but if South held Q-7-4-2, only the king would work.

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© 2000 Richard Pavlicek