As South, how do you play each of the following hands to guarantee making your contract.Forget about overtricks; assume your life is on the line to make your bid.
You play low from dummy and captureEasts 10 with the ace. What next?
You have seven top tricks and can guarantee one extra trick in diamonds with proper technique and another later in spades.
The key play is to cash the K then lead the 3 toward dummy. If West follows low both times, finesse the nine (if this loses to the 10, the Q must fall later). If West shows out on the second diamond lead, win the ace then lead toward your jack. This is called a safety play as it will succeed against any distribution, though it sometimes may cost an overtrick.
1. balanced forcing raiseYou win the Q and draw trumps(West had one). What next?
You have nine top tricks and need one more in clubs or spades. Rather than rely on a finesse, there is a surefire endplay.
Draw trumps and cash all of the remaining diamond winners. Next win the A (key play) and exit with a club. Whoever wins must break the spade suit (else give you a ruff and a discard) and you are sure to win a 10th trick.
Note that if you finessed the Q and it lost, East would return a club; then you would have to lead spades yourself and probably fail.
You routinely win the Q.What next?
You have eight top tricks. If you win the Q and lead the A and Q, whoever has the king may hold up; then you cannot set up the suit. If you then go after clubs, you may lose to the Q and K.
The key play is to lead the Q without cashing the ace. If it wins you have nine tricks and you can switch to clubs for three more.
What if someone takes the K and returns a spade? No problem! Cash the third spade and discard the A a jettison play then run the diamonds.
© 1993 Richard Pavlicek