Lesson eleven

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

West is the “danger hand”. If he ever gains the lead, a club switch through your King would be the end of your contract.

You have nine top tricks and must aim to score a tenth without allowing West on lead.

You will not fall off your chair when I tell you that finessing the Jack of spades at trick one is not the right answer!

Take one

Win the Ace, cash the two top diamonds in your hand and return dummy with a trump.

Next lead the Jack of diamonds.

If West covers, ruff high.

You would then draw trumps, ending in dummy, and enjoy the 10 as your tenth trick.

As the cards lie, West will play low on the third round of diamonds.

Discard a spade from your hand, killing the link between the defenders and East wins with the Queen.

East may now play a fourth diamond, allowing his partner to ruff the established 10.

No matter! You overruff and return to dummy with a second round of trumps, preserving the Ace for a further entry, and lead the Queen of spades.

As before, if West covers, you will ruff and return to dummy to enjoy the established winner.

Take two

If instead West plays low, you will discard a club.

You will not mind at all if East held the King of spades all along. You will set up a spade as your tenth trick.

Deal two

North plays the 9 on trick one.

At first sight it may seem natural to play three rounds of clubs, discarding a spade loser from dummy, then ruff the fourth.

When you give it a second thought, you may come to the conclusion that unless clubs split 4-3 (either way), you will probably suffer a ruff by one of the defenders.

When there is no safer line in sight and the required position exists, the dummy reversal is clearly the superior line of play.

For this to work, you must use your entries economically.

After winning the Ace of diamonds, ruff a diamond high in your hand, follow by a low trump to dummy and another diamond which you ruff high.

Overtake the heart ten by dummy’s Jack and ruff the last diamond in your hand.

Enter dummy by ruffing a small club and then draw their last trump.

Finally, one of dummy’s spade losers could be parked on your high club.

Deal three

There will be nothing to do if North holds the King of hearts (unless singleton, which still required a wild guess).

As long as the King is onside, you can make the slam against 3-2 split.

So, the only distribution you have to fear is K-x-x-x in South.

When dummy has only two trumps, there will be no way to finesse the King in a direct fashion.

As we have already seen, such a layout requires an unusual technique.

We will start by dummy reversal style, but this time, as opposed to the previous deal, you will use this technique in order to achieve a desirable position.

It is to equal your number of trumps with those held by South.

Then, as you should hope, you may achieve a trump coup.

In such situations, work would be always easier for you if you can imagine the end position of the last two cards you are trying to achieve.

You need to get to that stage holding the A-Q of trumps over South K-x, and a card to lead from the opposite hand.

For this to work, you need to reach dummy in order to lead one of its last cards

To be able to achieve that, you need enough entries to dummy.

These entries will allow you to ruff three spades and then to end up in dummy in order to lead a card, forcing South to ruff, allowing you to overruff, thereby making the contract.

One important step is to start ruffing in your hand as soon as you discover the bad trump split, i.e., after the play of the second trump.

You need to ruff twice, dummy’s second and third spades.

You also need to lead through North Ace-Queen of diamonds up to your King.

Take one

You should win trick one in dummy and finesse the 10 of trumps.

When the finesse works, enter dummy by overtaking the King of clubs with the Ace and lead a second trump to the Jack.

Unblock the Ace of spades and lead a diamond towards the King.

If North covers, you will win any return.

Say North returns the Queen of diamonds).

Win the King and ruff a diamond.

Reenter dummy by finessing the 10 of clubs (there will be no way to make the slam if the Jack of clubs is outside).

Ruff a spade and play your last club to the Queen, then lead one of the remaining cards.

Take two

If North ducks the diamond instead, win the King and ruff a spade.

Enter dummy with the 10 of clubs and ruff a spade.

Play the Queen of clubs, and ruff your last spade.

When you play the Jack of diamonds, North will win, but whatever he chooses to lead, South trumps will be trapped.

Deal four

Say East leads the Ace of clubs and after taking the three top clubs, exits with a heart.

You have nine top tricks: five hearts, three diamonds, and a spade.

In order to find a tenth trick, you might be tempted to take a spade finesse.

However, since the defense only has 14 HCP, West almost surely holds the King of spades as he opened the bidding.

West must also have at least four diamonds since he opened 1!D rather than 1!C, while holding the Ace, King, and Queen of clubs.

Proper use of this information will guarantee the success of this contract.

You have two threat cards for a squeeze: the 2 of diamonds and the Queen of spades.

West 1!D bid indicates that he can be overworked with the two jobs of preventing both threat cards from winning a trick.

After the defense takes three club tricks, you have nine top cards for the last ten tricks, so the count has been rectified already and all conditions are placed.

You know that West cannot discard the King of spades, or the Queen will become the tenth trick.

Likewise, West must keep four diamonds, or the 2 in dummy will represent the tenth trick for you.

After winning the fourth trick, you should draw trumps, play the Ace of spades and play the other heart winners.

If West discards the King of spades spade, you should discard the 2 of diamonds from dummy.

If West discards a diamond, you should discard the Jack of spades.

In either case, the last four tricks will be won in dummy.

It was essential to cash all five trump tricks in order to create this impossible situation for West.

Without the information from the bidding, you should take the spade finesse rather than try for the squeeze.

The squeeze play succeeds only when West has the King of spades and four or more diamonds.

Often the opponents have unintentionally become your helpers and told you how to play the hand.

Deal five

Suppose you hold a suit something like A-K-6-2 opposite Q-7-3. You play the top three cards, hoping for a 3-3 break, but one of the defenders shows out on the third round.

Is that a time for despair?

Not necessarily. You may be able to use the fourth card in the suit to execute a throw-in.

Only one defender still has a card left in the suit, so you can tell who your intended victim will be.

Win the trump lead and draw trumps in two further rounds.

When you play the Queen, Ace and King of hearts, the suit fails to divide 3-3.

No matter. Since it is East who holds the long heart, you can claim the contract!

Lead the 6 of hearts to East’s Jack and discard a club loser from your hand.

East must now return a club or a diamond, both of which will give you a tenth trick.

Deal six

You reached a small slam in spades and say South leads the Jack of diamonds, missing the deadly attack in hearts.

Take one

Suppose you win the diamond lead in dummy and finesse the Queen of clubs.

Even if this finesse wins, you will not be in good shape.

Two losers will remain in the red suits and, with only one entry left to dummy and the long clubs there, you will have very little chance of discarding of them.

You need to set up the club suit and the best chance of doing this is to lead clubs from your own hand, preserving the two entries to dummy.

Take two

You should win the diamond lead in your hand, with the King, and draw two rounds of trumps with the Ace and King.

It’s not particularly critical, but the suit happens to break 2-2.

Next, continue with the Ace and Queen of clubs.

If South wins with the King and plays a second diamond, you will win with dummy’s Ace.

When you lead the 10 of clubs, the appearance of North’s Jack will spare you a guess in the suit.

You will ruff in your hand and return to dummy with the Queen of trumps to enjoy two discards on the established dubs.

Holding up the King of clubs would do South no good at all.

You would cross to the Queen of trumps, establish the clubs with a ruff and return to the Ace of diamonds to throw two loses and claim an overtrick.

Playing this way, you make the contract whenever clubs break 3-3 or the Jack falls doubleton.




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