Main   Quiz 7J50 by Richard Pavlicek  

Ice-Cold Contracts

With the Winter Olympics around the corner, it seems appropriate to offer a few contracts on ice. In each case, can you find the line of play that is guaranteed to succeed?

1. 3 NT South

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

No one is void in any suit


You have six top tricks and the resources to develop three more, but the opponents may establish hearts before you can do this. The key is to exploit the spade suit, which can give you three tricks by itself if an opponent takes the ace “on air” (or if the suit breaks 3-3). Win the H A, lead the C 4 to the 10, and lead a low spade. If East takes the ace, you can claim (or if the S Q loses to West, he cannot lead a heart). If the S Q wins, cross to the C K and do it again. If this also wins, simply lead the D K to ensure a ninth trick.

West held:

S 7-6 H Q-J-9-6-3 D 4-3 C 9-8-5-3 2. 6 H South

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


Chances are certainly good, but only one plan will ensure success. Draw trumps (three rounds if necessary), then cross to the D K and ruff the remaining club. Next cross to the D Q and lead dummy’s last diamond, then: If East shows out, win the ace and lead the D 10 to West, pitching a spade from dummy. If East follows, finesse the 10; either it will win or it will lose to West’s D J-x-x. In either scenario, if West gets the lead he is endplayed, forced to lead a spade into your A-Q or give you a ruff and discard.

West held:

S K-9-4-2 H 4 D 7-5 C K-Q-8-7-6-2 3. 6 NT South

S 6 2
H A K 10 5 4
C A K 3 2
Lead: S 10Table
H 9 3
D A 4 2
C Q 7 5 4


You have 11 top tricks and lots of chances, but it takes proper squeeze technique to guarantee a 12th trick against any layout. Lead the H 3 and finesse the 10, which loses and a spade is returned (nothing matters). Cash the C A-K and suppose East shows out (play is similar if West is out). Next cash the H A-K and, if East follows, pitch a club; either hearts will split or you will have a double squeeze (win C Q, lead spades). If East instead shows out on the third heart, pitch a diamond, then West will later be squeezed in hearts and clubs.

West held:

S 10-9-8 H J-8 D 10-8-7-3 C J-9-8-6 TopMain

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek