Main     Quiz 7H74 by Richard Pavlicek    

Three Notrump On Ice

As South, can you find the plays to guarantee making each contract?

1. 3 NT by South

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


How sweet it is! Did you pounce on East’s C K? If you did you can say goodbye to your contract. This would remove a crucial entry and you could no longer establish and use the diamonds. It’s a bit painful but you must duck the C K. Don’t accept a Trojan horse!

Assume a club is returned. Win in dummy, lead the D Q and overtake it in your hand — look at those beautiful diamond spots. Just continue leading diamonds to smoke out the jack, and you have nine certain tricks: two clubs, five diamonds, and dummy’s two aces.

2. 3 NT by South

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


You have eight top tricks, and the heart suit will supply another even if the H J fails to drop. The danger is the spade suit — if East gains the lead in hearts, he might lead twice through your S Q and allow the defenders to run four spades. Note, however, that if West gains the lead this threat vanishes.

Therein lies the key. Win the D Q in dummy, and lead a low heart to the eight. If it loses and West tries to shut out dummy with a diamond return, you can win the D A and cash the D 10 to discard the H A — a neat jettison play.

3. 3 NT by South

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


After winning the S Q you have six top tricks, and you can establish two in hearts and one in diamonds. The problem is you may have to give up the lead twice, and a spade through your A-J will hurt.

The solution is to force East to waste an ace. Cross to dummy in clubs and lead a low heart. If East takes the ace you’ll get three heart tricks and the battle is over. So assume the H Q wins. Cross again in clubs and lead a low diamond. Similar story! Finally, if the D K wins, just lead another heart to ensure nine tricks.


© 2013 Richard Pavlicek