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Six Chances


I will be generous this time and offer you six chances — two for each of these three contracts. As South, can you find the play that gives you both chances to succeed?

1. 4 H by South

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


Answer

You have 9 sure tricks and your chances are (1) a 3-3 club break, or (2) the diamond finesse. You must try the clubs first because the opponents cannot set you. Note that if you finesse the diamond first and it loses, you could be set immediately with a club switch.

Delay drawing trumps and lead a club immediately. Assume a spade return; lead a second club; assume a heart return, and lead a third club. If the C 9 is not good, you will fall back on the diamond finesse.

West held:

S Q-J-10-2 H 6-5-4 D 10-7-6 C K-10-3

2. 5 D by South

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


Answer

You have 10 sure tricks and your chances are (1) the C K in East, or (2) the H J in East. It is important to try the clubs first, and you must do so without releasing the C A; else you could be set immediately.

After ruffing the second spade, win the D K and D Q to draw the enemy trumps. Next lead a low club to your queen, which loses to West and he returns a club (best) taken by dummy’s ace. Now your last hope is the heart finesse, so lead the H 2 and finesse the 10.

West held:

S A-K-9-6 H 9-8-5-4 D 6-3 C K-9-7

3. 6 S by South

S K 4 3
H A K 4 3 2
D 2
C A J 5 4
Lead: D QTableTrumps split 3-1
S A 9 8 7 6 2
H
D A K
C K 7 6 3 2


Answer

You have 11 sure tricks and your chances are (1) a 4-4 heart break, or (2) the C Q falling. The clubs can wait so you should concentrate on establishing the long heart.

Win the D A and cash two top trumps ending in dummy to reveal that West has a natural trump trick. Next cash the top hearts (throwing two clubs) and ruff a heart. Now the key play: Lead the D K and ruff it in dummy to gain an entry to ruff another heart. Dummy’s last heart becomes good for your 12th trick.

West held:

S Q-J-5 H Q-10-8-5 D Q-J-9-7-4 C 10

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek