Can you find the slick plays to guarantee these 3 NT contracts?No fair peeking at the answers!
After winning the K and unblocking the high diamonds, the problem is that you have no sure entry to dummy. Nonetheless, you can ensure at least nine tricks with the right sequence of plays.
Next lead the K which must be allowed to win (else you have 10 tricks). Follow this with the queen of clubs if it is captured, you have an entry to dummy with the J and nine tricks. Finally, if the Q holds, switch back to a low heart and you must score a total of two spades, two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs.
West has a singleton club
At first this looks easy as you see nine tricks: one spade, two hearts, one diamond and five clubs. Well, not quite. The club suit is blocked. After you cash the A-K-Q, the club in your hand blocks you from winning dummys fifth club.
The solution requires a jettison play. After winning the K, cash two clubs (to discover the 3-1 division). Now comes the key play: Lead a spade and throw off a club. The enemy can win at most four spade tricks (counting the ace) and when you regain the lead, the club suit will run freely.
Q does not fall doubleton
It is easy to foresee your demise: The diamond finesse will lose and East will return a heart to remove your last stopper; then when you lead a club to reach dummy, West will run the rest of his heart suit.
But there is a neat solution. Win the A and lead a diamond to the king (do not finesse). Lead another diamond to force out the queen and discard your top heart. Take that! If hearts are continued, you will gain an entry to dummy in that suit (note the J-10 is still a stopper). Otherwise, you will have time to reach dummy in clubs.
© 1996 Richard Pavlicek