Main   Quiz 7H58 by Richard Pavlicek  

Murphy’s Law

Each of these 6 NT contracts looks easy, but remember Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong it will go wrong. Your job is to find the best foolproof play to make each contract.

1. 6 NT South

S 5 4 3 2
H A 2
D 6 5 4
C K Q 10 4
Lead: H QTable
H K 4 3
C A 9 3 2


You have 11 top tricks and your fourth club will usually be good for 12, plus the spades may break. Not in this quiz! The solution is to first find how the spades break. Win the H K and cash the S A-K-Q. Someone will show out (else your spade is good) then cash two clubs so as to be able to finesse against the player who showed out of spades. If clubs are 4-1 you will either have a proven finesse or a surefire throw-in play (cash the diamonds and H A, then put the defender in with a spade).

2. 6 NT South

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


Again you have 11 top tricks and a variety of finessing possibilities. Did you think I would give you a finesse that works? Not today. It is tempting to duck the S Q hoping West will lead another, but he could exit safely with a club. The solution is to win the S A, cash the C A-K then cross to dummy with a club. Do not run the clubs yet! Lead a diamond and finesse the nine (if East plays the jack or 10, finesse the queen). West may win a cheap trick, but any return he makes will give you the contract.

3. 6 NT South

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


The lead gives you three spade tricks, plus you have four hearts, two top diamonds and a club. That makes 10 tricks, and you can set up two more in diamonds. What’s the problem? Aha! Entries. Careful now. If you were to cash just one top diamond, you would fail with accurate defense. The best play is to unblock the H A-K, cross to the S A, cash one heart (or both if all follow), then lead a diamond to the jack; and if this holds, continue with a low diamond. (Don’t let West beat you with a clever holdup with D Q-x-x-x.)

Equally good is to lead a low diamond from your hand at trick two (or after cashing H A-K) as this also ensures 12 tricks.


© 2013 Richard Pavlicek