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Magic Tricks


In each diagram your goal is to win six of the seven tricks. Spades are trumps and South leads. Warning: The key plays are tricky!

1. S win 6 by South

S A
H A Q
D 5 4 3 2
C
S 3
H K J 10 9
D K
C 2
TableS 2
H 3 2
D 6
C K 9 8
South leadsS
H
D A Q J
C A Q J 10


Answer

If North were on lead, this would be a breeze by drawing the enemy trumps; but South cannot do this. If South leads winners, East and West will each win a trump trick. There is only one solution: South must lose a trick to the singleton D K, as silly as it might seem.

Cash the C A and pitch the H Q from North, then lead the D J (or queen). West must give North the lead, and South jettisons his top diamonds on North’s aces to leave the North hand high.

2. S win 6 by South

S A J 8 2
H K
D
C A 3
S K Q 9
H
D A 8 7
C 2
TableS 10
H A
D J 10 9
C Q 4
South leadsS 3
H
D K Q
C K J 10 9


Answer

The object is to hold West to one trump trick. South leads the D K, West covers and North must ruff with the eight. Lead the C 3 to the jack (unless East plays the queen), then cash the D Q to discard the club ace. Got all that? I’m sure that’s just how you would have played it at the table.

South continues with the C K: If West ruffs high, North discards the H K; on a diamond return, North ruffs low and South overruffs to effect a trump coup against West.

3. S win 6 by South

S Q 2
H
D 2
C A Q 9 8
S
H
D A J 9 8
C K J 10
TableS K 10
H K Q
D
C 4 3 2
South leadsS A J
H A 2
D K Q 10
C


Answer

This ending is perhaps the most bizarre of all. South must lead the H A and ruff it with the S Q. Never ruff a deuce when you can ruff an ace, I always say. Next finesse the S J and draw the last trump, discarding a club from dummy.

South now loses the H 2 to East, squeezing West in the process. If West discards a club, North discards the D 2, and North’s C A-Q-9 win the last three tricks. If West instead discards the D A, North keeps the D 2.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek