Main   Quiz 7H17 by Richard Pavlicek  

100-Percent Guarantee

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.

Problem 1

3 NT South
None Vul
S K Q 4 3
H K 7 2
D A 9 6 2
C K 4
West

Pass
Pass
North

2 C
3 NT
East

Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 D
Lead: H 3TableEast plays H 10
S 5 2
H A Q 4
D K J 4 3
C A J 7 2

You play low from dummy and capture
East’s H 10 with the ace. What next?

A. Lead S 2 to king
B. Win D A; finesse D J
C. Win D K; finesse D 9
D. Win C K; finesse C J


Solution

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 D K then lead the D 3 toward dummy. If West follows low both times, finesse the nine (if this loses to the 10, the D 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.

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Problem 2

4 H South
E-W Vul
S J 8 2
H Q J 10 7 6
D K Q 4
C A Q
West

Pass
All Pass
North

3 NT1
East

Pass
South
1 H
4 H
Lead: D 10TableEast plays D 5
S Q 7 4
H A K 8 5 2
D A 7 2
C 4 3

1. balanced forcing raise

You win the D Q and draw trumps
(West had one). What next?

A. Win D A-K; lead S 2
B. Win D K-A; lead S 4
C. Win D K-A; lead C 3
D. Win C A; lead C Q


Solution

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 C 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 C Q and it lost, East would return a club; then you would have to lead spades yourself and probably fail.

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Problem 3

6 NT South
Both Vul
S A K 7
H 3 2
D J 10 9 8 4 3
C 4 3
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

3 D
4 S
East

Pass
Pass
South
2 C
4 C
6 NT
Lead: S JTableEast plays S 4
S Q 3
H A K 4
D A Q
C A K J 10 9 5

You routinely win the S Q.
What next?

A. Win D A; lead D Q
B. Lead the D Q
C. Win C A-K; lead C J
D. Lead the C 9


Solution

You have eight top tricks. If you win the S Q and lead the D A and D 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 C Q and D K.

The key play is to lead the D 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 D K and returns a spade? No problem! Cash the third spade and discard the D A — a jettison play — then run the diamonds.

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© 1993 Richard Pavlicek