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.
Suppose you win the lead with the Ace, cash the A-Q of clubs, reach dummy with a heart ruff and attempt to cash the King of clubs.
West will defeat you by ruffing.
You need to draw precisely two rounds of trumps, before playing the King of clubs, to reduce the risk of an adverse ruff.
Playing the Ace and Queen of trumps is no good because East would then return a third round of trumps.
In order to keep control of the trumps, you must lead the Queen of spades from your hand at trick two.
Suppose East wins and plays another heart.
Win with the King and draw a second round of trumps.
After cashing the Ace and Queen of clubs, enter dummy with a heart ruff.
Now West has no trump with which to ruff the King of spades, so you survive.
You will lose this way only if East has a singleton King of trumps or he has the King fourth and the lead was from a doubleton.
East will then ruff the third heart with the 9.
With the unfortunate mirror pattern in the hands, there are no ruffs available, and clearly South is assumed to have the Queen of diamonds.
Say South grabs the first three tricks with the Ace-King of clubs and the Ace of spades and on the fourth trick played the 7 of spades.
The only possible additional loser for you is a diamond trick.
The normal play of the diamond suit is to cash the Ace and then play toward the King and the Jack, taking the finesse with the Jack.
On this hand, though, the normal play is clearly wrong.
The East-West hands have a combined total of 24 high-card-points.
Since South was kind enough to announce that he has 15-18 HCP, West must have the Queen of diamonds, and the normal finesse will lose.
In order to make the contract you must take a rather unusual diamond finesse.
You should play diamonds by first leading the Jack from your hand.
If South does not cover with the Queen, you will just let the Jack ride and it will win the trick.
If South covers, which he probably will, you can win with the Ace and then play a diamond from the dummy toward the K-9, taking a backward finesse against the 10.
This requires two cards to be placed properly, the Queen of diamonds with South and the 10 with North.
If you had not held the 9, then your only line of play consistent with South’s 1NT bid would have been to play the Ace-King and hope South held Queen doubleton.
You win the Ace of diamonds and draw trumps.
You should be already familiar so far with the Morton’s fork maneuvre.
Lead the 5 of spade away from the King.
Remember the position required for this coup in a suit contract:
1. Honors split (here spades)
2. A doubleton honor in one hand
3. A discard from dummy due to your void.
4. You play low from your doubleton up to the long part of the suit, which is headed by the other honors.
Then, if the Ace holder plays low, you play an honor from the other side and play the Ace that placed opposite your void, upon which you discard your losing honor.
If, instead, he plays the Ace, you will get two discards for your diamond losers (the Ace of clubs and the Queen of spades).
After winning the trump lead, you should take the small risk of cashing the King and Ace of hearts.
Ruff the third round of hearts with the Jack, eliminating the suit, and play trump to dummy.
Finesse the ten of clubs, losing to the King, and North has no good return.
Heart will give a ruff-and-discard, allowing you to throw the 2 of diamonds and ruffing in your hand.
Dummy’s other diamond loser will be thrown on Ace of clubs.
A return of either minor by North will also give you the contract.
You ruff the second round of diamonds.
Let’s say that you play the Ace of spades and West discards the 3 of diamonds.
Unlucky! Do you have any chance left to make the hand?
You can virtually finesse East’s trump holding if you visualize the situation that you would want to achieve at the twelfth trick.
You should start by finessing the 9 of spades.
You can follow by the King of trumps, discarding a diamond from dummy.
Now you have the Queen-10 of trumps, while East has the Jack-8.
You can achieve an ending position by cashing three tricks in clubs and then the three top hearts, finishing with the Queen.
Now the two-trick ending with the lead in dummy is achieved and the contract will be made.
This deal is an example of a trump coup. A combination of both skill and luck was required on the hand.
Note the necessity of having your trump holding that it is the same length as East’s trump holding.
Without this, it would have been impossible to set up the ending required for a trump coup.
You also needed some luck.
If East did not have at least three cards in both clubs and hearts, the final ending could not have been achieved since he would be able to ruff the third round of clubs or hearts.
How would you achieve this position if East switches to another suit at trick two?
This following variation should help you understand the importance of being equal in the trump holding.
Say you don’t ruff a diamond in your hand.
When you play a diamond from dummy on the eleventh trick, you will be forced to ruff, endplaying yourself.
Unfortunately, there are only twelve top tricks.
There are two obvious ways of winning a thirteenth trick.
All you need is either the hearts to break 3-3 or the spades to break 3-3.
There is also a third possibility.
The third possibility is a squeeze play.
Suppose neither hearts, nor spades break 3-3, then, only one defender will have four or more hearts.
This defender’s job will be to keep four hearts.
Likewise, if spades don’t split 3-3, only one defender will have four or more spades.
This defender’s job will be to keep four spades.
Suppose the same defender has to do both jobs, that is to keep four hearts and four spades.
You can see that in this hand, North has both jobs.
The fourth heart in your hand and the fourth spade in dummy are both threat cards.
Suppose you cash your two top clubs and three top diamonds.
On these five tricks North can comfortably play his four minor-suit cards and discard a spade.
When you lead a diamond to the sixth trick (the squeeze card), North must throw one of his four hearts or one of his four remaining spades.
We see that North has two jobs on this hand, but cannot successfully do both.
The same squeeze would operate if South was the player who has to keep both the major suits guarded.
Of course you would not make 7NT if North had been dealt four or more cards in one major and South four or more cards in the other major.
But good bridge is about giving yourself every possibility to make your contract.