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Holiday Grand Adventure


Planning a grand time for the holidays? Here’s your chance for a head start with three grands. Can you find the only play to guarantee 13 tricks against any distribution?

1. 7 D by South

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


Answer

East’s show-out on the first trick portends the bad distribution ahead. Do you draw trumps and bank on a fourth spade trick? Or do you ruff a club in dummy?

An expert does neither. Ruff the lead; cross to the D 10; ruff a heart and draw trumps (East started with all five) pitching three hearts and a spade. When West shows out on the S A-K (the only problem), cross to the S Q. Since West must hold the H A, and East must hold the S J, your C 2 will win the last trick!

West held:

S 7 H A-K-J-9-4-3-2 DC 10-9-7-6-3

2. 7 H by South

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


Answer

This one looks easy, but remember Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will — especially in Richard’s quizzes.

Only one sequence of plays will ensure success: Win the C A and pitch the D K! Next ruff a diamond high and lead a heart to the queen. The only problem arises if West is void in diamonds and has all three trumps; then ruff another diamond high, and draw West’s trumps with the proven finesse. The remaining diamonds provide five discards.

West held:

S A-J-9-8-6 H 10-8-7 DC K-Q-J-9-4

3. 7 S by South

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


Answer

What could be simpler than this? Well, think again. Only the finest declarer would succeed when East shows out on the first trick.

The key play is to win the spade lead in dummy and unblock the nine (or 10). Then ruff a heart high, and lead a low spade. If West splits his 7-6, win high (else win the five) and ruff another heart high. Finally, lead your last spade, finessing West and drawing trumps. After cashing the H A and unblocking the C K-Q, you have 13 cold tricks.

West held:

S 8-7-6-4 H K-J-9-7-5 D 10-9-7-5 C

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek