Main   Quiz 7J34 by Richard Pavlicek  

Frosty, the Notrump

Frosty, the Notrump, was a jolly, happy soul. Brrr! Each of these 3 NT contracts is ice cold.
That is, if you can find the correct play. Are you up to the task?

Problem 1

3 NT South
None Vul
S 6 2
H 6 2
D A Q 10 9 2
C A K 10 5
West

Pass
All Pass
North
1 D
2 C
East
Pass
Pass
South
1 H
3 NT
Lead: S 8TableEast plays S 3
S A K Q 5
H Q 10 5 4
D K 8
C 7 6 2

A. Win S A; D K; D A-Q
B. Win S A; D K; finesse D 10
C. Win S A; C K; run D 10
D. Win S A; C K; lead D 2 to eight


Solution

With eight top tricks, you need only to establish one more in diamonds. The danger is that, if you lose a diamond trick, the opponents might be able to set you by cashing four hearts; but this is impossible if you lose the trick to West.

Win the S A, cross to dummy with a club, and lead a low diamond to the eight. This insures your contract against any layout, and nets an overtrick as the cards lie. Note that if West could win the D J and return a club to remove dummy’s side entry, the diamond suit would still run by leading the ace.

West held: S 8-7-4 H A-J-9-7 D 7-6 C J-9-8-4

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Problem 2

3 NT South
None Vul
S 5
H A 6 5 4
D K 7 4 3
C K 6 4 3
West

Pass
Pass
North

3 C
3 NT
East

Pass
All Pass
South
2 NT
3 S
Lead: H Q
then H 7
TableEast pitches S 2
S A K J 4
H K 3 2
D A J 5
C A J 2

A. Duck; win H A; finesse S J
B. Duck; win H A; finesse D J
C. Duck; win H K; S K; H A
D. Duck; win H K; C K; finesse C J


Solution

Again you have eight top tricks, and any of three finesses will give you nine; plus there’s a chance to set up the fourth club or diamond. Which to try? None of the above. The only surefire play is a throw-in against West.

Duck the first heart (optional), then win the H K, S K (optional) and H A. Exit with dummy’s last heart to let West run his entire suit (you will lose four tricks). Your last six cards will be D K-7-4 C K-6-4 opposite S A-J D A-J C A-J, and any lead by West gives you a free finesse for your ninth trick.

West held: S Q-8-7 H Q-J-10-9-8-7 D Q-2 C Q-5

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Problem 3

3 NT South
None Vul
S 9 8 2
H K Q
D A K 10 9 8 4 3
C 3
West

Pass
All Pass
North
1 D
2 D
East
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
3 NT
Lead: S 5TableEast plays S Q
S A K 10
H 6 5 4 2
D Q
C A K 8 7 5

A. Win S A; D Q; lead H 2
B. Win S A; D K; D A (pitch spade)
C. Win S A; D K; D A (pitch heart)
D. Duck the first trick


Solution

You have seven top tricks and can establish a heart for eight. If the diamonds run that makes 12. Quit dreaming! Would I really give you a 3-2 diamond break? There’s only one way to ensure nine tricks, and it requires some fancy footwork.

Win the S K, then lead the D Q and overtake it with the king. Cash the D A to pitch your S 10, then lead the D 10 and pitch your S A! Eventually you will reach dummy in hearts. Note that if you didn’t jettison your top spades, a spade return by East would set up West’s suit before you could reach dummy.

West held: S J-7-6-5-4 H A-9-8-7 D 2 C Q-4-2

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© 2000 Richard Pavlicek