Main   Quiz 7H26 by Richard Pavlicek  

Four Spades For Sure

As South, assume you are declarer in 4 S on each deal. Can you find the surefire play to guarantee making your contract?

1. 4 S South

S A K 9 5
H K 6 4
D A Q 9
C K 9 2
Lead: C QTableEast plays C 3
S Q J 10 8 7 6
H 5 3 2
D 4 3
C A 4


You have 9 top tricks, and there is only one way to be sure of 10. Win the C A and draw the missing trumps (three rounds if necessary). Lead a club to the king and ruff the last club in your hand. Next lead a diamond and finesse the nine (unless West plays the 10 or jack, then finesse the queen). When East wins this trick he will be endplayed: A heart lead allows you to win the H K; a diamond lead gives you a free finesse; or a club lead allows you to discard a heart and ruff in dummy.

2. 4 S South

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


A number of plays might succeed in practice, but there is only one surefire technique. Win the spade lead in hand and immediately ruff a heart with the S A (do not cash the H A). Lead dummy’s last spade to your hand and draw all the enemy trumps. Next lead a club and finesse the jack. If this loses you will have 10 guaranteed tricks: five spades, the H A, a heart ruff, and three clubs. Note: If the club finesse works, do not repeat it (a clever East player might duck with the queen).

3. 4 S South

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


Did you notice you have all 13 trumps? Even so, you are in danger of going down if the heart finesse loses and a diamond is returned through your king. The lifetime guarantee: Discard a heart at trick one. West’s only safe return is a heart, but now you can hop up with dummy’s ace and lead the H Q for a ruffing finesse (if East does not produce the king, discard a diamond). Even if West wins the H K, your D K cannot be led through and dummy’s H J will be established for a discard.


© 2013 Richard Pavlicek