Test Your Play

1. IMPs

♠ K 9 8 5
K 5
A K 10 3
♣ J 6 3
♠ A 7 4 3 2
A Q 5
J 9 8
♣ K 4
WEst North East South
Pass 2NT(1) Pass 4♠(2)
All Pass

(1) Jacoby: game-forcing raise.
(2) Minimum hand.

West leads the ♠Q. You win the ace, East following with the 6. When you cross to the ♠K, East discards a club. Take over.


Your best IMP play is to cash three rounds of hearts, discarding a club, cross to the K, leading the jack as West may cover. Assuming no cover, cash the A and exit a spade. In order for West not have to cede the contract immediately, he must have started with precisely three low diamonds.

If you are that unlucky, West will exit a diamond to East’s queen, and you will have to deal with East’s presumed low club return. Good luck.

Notice that you are far better off adopting this line of play than taking the diamond finesse. If the queen is onside, you make 4♠ whether or not West covers. If the queen is offside, you are far better off playing the ace-king as East may have started with Q–x or Q–x–x–x.

The recommended line of play has a good chance of finding West short in diamonds because East started with a singleton spade and figures to have the diamond length.

Thanks to Ron Popp of Arlington Heights IL for this one.


♠ Q 6 4
K 8 3
K J 10 2
♣ J 10 3
♠ K 10 2
A 9 7 6 4 2
A Q 9 5
♣ —
WEst North East South
1♠ 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 All Pass

The opening lead is the ♣A, East encouraging. You ruff and play the A K, West discarding a spade on the second heart. Plan the play.


Your goal is to make an overtrick if West has the ♠A J.

After ruffing the opening lead and cashing the A K, ruff a club, cross to a diamond, ruff dummy’s last club, stripping that suit, and play winning diamonds. As long as East has at least one diamond and West the ♠A J, you will make your blessed overtrick.

If East ruffs the third or fourth diamond, he must exit a spade as a club ruff-sluff is instant death. When East exits a spade, play the king. If West has the expected ♠A J, he will be forced to win and lead from the jack. Making five.

If East refuses to ruff a diamond, exit with the ♠K once again forcing West to lead away from his likely ♠J or lead a club. Making five.

Thanks to George Wagner of Los Angeles CA for this one.

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