Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Puzzles, Cartoons & Gwen - Steve Becker

You lead the six of spades, and de­clarer wins part­ner’s ten with the jack. South leads a heart to dummy’s jack and re­turns the queen of di­a­monds, which you win with the king. How would you con­tinue?

2. You are de­clarer with the West hand at Six Notrump, and North leads the ten of hearts. How would you play the hand?

1. From the play thus far, it is clear that South’s open­ing notrump bid (15 to 17 points) in­cluded the ace of hearts, ace of di­a­monds and A-K-J of spades (your part­ner can­not have the ace or king of spades, given his play at trick one). It fol­lows that South can­not have the king of clubs, which would give him 19 points.

You should there­fore shift to the club three at this point, con­fi­dent that part­ner will win with the king. If part­ner has an­other club to re­turn, you will de­feat the con­tract.

If you fail to lead a club and in- stead wood­enly re­turn a spade, de­clarer will score three spade tricks, three di­a­mond tricks and at least three hearts to make the con­tract.

2. The only prob­lem is how to han­dle the clubs to give your­self the op­ti­mal chance for four tricks in the suit. Best is to win the heart in dummy, lead the club six and play low if South plays low. (If the six wins, con­tinue with the seven.) If the six loses to North’s jack or queen, win any re­turn and play the king of clubs. The slam be­comes cer­tain if North fol­lows suit to the king.

The only time this line of play fails is when North has been dealt the sin­gle­ton jack or queen. If you al­ter­na­tively at­tacked the clubs by first cash­ing the king or ace, you would go down if the next player was ei­ther void of clubs or held a low sin­gle­ton. These cases out­num­ber those where North started with a sin­gle­ton honor.

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