Main   Quiz 7J06 by Richard Pavlicek  

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Each of these contracts would usually fail because most declarers fail to see the problem and don’t plan ahead. Being forewarned, can you spot the elegant solutions?

1. 4 H South

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


It looks routine to win the S A and ruff a spade, but this is a shortsighted plan. Even though you are able to ruff both spades, the opponents will force you to lose trump control by leading a fourth spade when they win the H A. The elegant solution is to duck the opening lead. If another spade is led you will ruff in dummy and lead trumps to force out the ace. Retaining the S A prevents the opponents from making you ruff in your hand, and 10 tricks are easily won.

West held:

S K-Q-10-5 H 4-3 D 9-8-5-2 C K-J-8 2. 4 S South

S 4 3 2
H 8 4 3
D A K 6
C 5 4 3 2
Lead: S JTableTrumps split 3-2
S A K 7 6 5
D 5 4 3 2


You would like to win a trick with your fourth diamond, which will be easy if diamonds are 3-3. More likely, they will be 4-2 and you will need to ruff a diamond in dummy, which requires exact technique. After winning the S A, the elegant solution is to duck a diamond immediately. Whatever the return, you will cash the S K, win the top diamonds, return to your hand with a heart, and ruff your last diamond. If you played diamonds any other way, you would fail. Try it.

West held:

S J-10 H Q-9-7-5-2 D 10-7 C A-J-9-6 3. 6 S South

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

Trumps split 3-2.


It looks like 12 easy tricks, but the heart suit is blocked. If you draw trumps and cash the top hearts, you will have the H 8 opposite the 6-5 and never enjoy the long heart. It would not help to duck a heart because you need five heart tricks. The elegant solution is to win the H A, cash the S K-Q and the C A. Cross to the S A (drawing their last trump) then lead a club and discard a heart. Now the remaining hearts can be run, and both of your losing diamonds go away. Neat!

West held:

S 8-7-5 H 2 D Q-9-6-3 C K-J-9-4-2 TopMain

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek