Lesson fourteen

Instructions: Click on the link (the number of a deal) and after the movie appears, click on “Next” to have the opening lead. You can then click on “Play” and play the hand for yourself or by following my notes.

Deal one

You need to ruff some hearts in dummy and East’s bid makes it likely that west holds only one heart.

The winning play is to draw one round of trumps with the Ace, cash the Ace of hearts and cross to dummy with the Ace of clubs to lead a second round of hearts towards your hand.

Take one

If West ruffs a losing heart, it will be easy for you to ruff your only remaining loser in the suit.

Let’s suppose that he discards instead and your King wins.

Take two

Ruffing a heart with the 7 is not good enough.  West will overruff and remove dummy’s last trump.

You must ruff your heart with the King!

You can then return to hand with a club ruff to ruff your last heart with the seven.

West is welcome to overruff, since you will lose just two diamond tricks and one trump trick.

Did you spot that the defenders could have done better?

After cashing a second diamond, East could make a deadly switch to clubs.

This would kill a key entry to dummy before you were ready to use it — to lead the second round of hearts.

The contract would then go down.

Deal two

You have 12 top tricks and apparently there is no source for the 13th.

In such cases, squeeze can be the only solution that is worth considering.

The 4 of spades, combined with the King, is a two-card threat.

The Jack of hearts is a one-card threat. From the opening lead, West is known to hold the Queen of hearts.

You must assume that West holds also four or more spades.

After winning the first trick with the heart Ace, draw trumps, and then cash the two club tricks and the Ace of spades, preserving the 6 in order to have an entry to dummy after playing the squeeze card.

Finally, cash the remaining diamond winners.

Since West’s hand meets the assumption, West will be squeezed on the ninth trick.

When the squeeze card is led, watch for the heart Queen.

If it doesn’t appear, simply play the top spades.

If the defense had not led the heart King, you would have to assume that the defender with four spades also holds both the King and Queen of hearts.

Since only few defenders (if any) with these heart honors would choose any alternative opening lead when defending against a seven-level contract, only East could be squeezed.

Deal three

You should aim to eliminate clubs and throw South in lead with the fourth round of hearts.

Win the heart lead with the King and draw trumps with the King and Queen.

Lead the King of clubs to South’s Ace and win the return (say a heart).

After cashing the Ace of hearts, ruff a heart in your hand and return to dummy with a club.

Finally, lead the 7 of hearts, throwing a diamond loser, and South has to give you a trick with his return.

A diamond return will allow your King to score. A heart return will concede a ruff-and-discard.

Deal four

It seems that success in the small slam would depend on guessing who holds the Queen of diamonds.

The opening lead was doubtless a singleton but finessing diamonds into the safe hand would not guarantee the contract.

A losing diamond finesse would leave you with only eleven tricks and you would then need an unlikely 3-3 heart break (or an even more unlikely major-suit squeeze against East).

Reasoning that West held one spade to his partner’s seven and was therefore a clear favorite to hold the diamond Queen, you may cash the King of diamonds and lead another diamond.

One down!

The best idea on deals of this sort of hands is a little detective work.

Suppose you return the Jack of spades at trick 2.

This will confirm that East did indeed start with seven cards in the suit.

Win his spade return, discarding a heart from your hand and cash three rounds of both hearts and clubs.

As it happens, East shows up with one heart and two clubs, marking his shape as 7-1-3-2.

The guess in diamonds has become a certainty.

Contrary to the initial odds, it is East who holds three diamonds to his partner’s one.

Cash the Ace of diamonds and finesse the diamond nine with complete confidence.

Deal five

There are two possible losers in spades and you would like to force North lead this suit.

You can achieve this when North has five or more clubs.

Win the club lead, draw trumps with the King and cross to the Queen of hearts in order to ruff a club.

Play the King of hearts to the Ace and ruff another club.

Finally, reach dummy again with the Ace of trumps and lead dummy’s last club.

Instead of ruffing the club, discard a spade loser.

North wins the trick and has no safe return. He must either lead a spade into your Ace-Queen or play his last heart, giving you a ruff-and-discard.

Deal six

Win the club lead and play a diamond to the Ace.

Then play the Queen, intending to run it.

If South wins with the King, you would need a 3-2 trump break.

You would draw trumps, ending in dummy, and then play off the diamond suit.

As the cards lie here, North covers the diamond Queen with the King.

You ruff in your hand and see that you no longer needed a 3-2 trump break.

By employing a safety play in the trump suit, you can succeed also when South holds four trumps.

Cash the King of trumps at trick four and continue with a trump to the ten.

If the finesse loses, trumps would have broken 3-2.

It would then have been a simple matter to win the return and cross to dummy’s Ace of trumps, pulling the last trump.

When the trump finesse succeeded and North showing out, switch to diamonds.

Discard your spade losers and South can ruff whenever he likes.

Say South returns the Queen of clubs.

Ruff it in your hand, play the King of hearts and run the Ace of spades.

If the Ace holds the trick, run the King, on which South has no answer.







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