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Puzzle of the Day - jul17
How do you play this slam?

West leads the ♣K against your slam.  Given that he would probably have led a singleton diamond, can you see a way to bring home 12 tricks?

You can always make 12 tricks provided East has no more than two clubs. After winning the ♣A, you should cash the ace of trumps and lead a low trump to dummy's 10. Next you ruff a club back to hand and play two more rounds of trumps. When East did begin with one or two clubs, such as on this full deal:

When you play the last trump, throwing a club from table, East is in trouble. You know he began with seven diamonds a trump and, hopefully two clubs. If East reduces to three diamonds, you will play the A, K and another diamond. East wins the trick and has to return a spade, allowing you to take the last three tricks with the top spades and the 9. Whenever East keeps four diamonds, and so only two spades, you will counter by cashing the two high spades, reducing East to QJ87. This allows you to make three of the last four tricks by leading the 2 to dummy's 10. When East takes the 10 with the jack or queen, he will be forced to lead a diamond, allowing your 9 diamonds to take a trick. Two more high diamonds will get your trick total to 12.

You should see that it was vital to ruff a club on the above layout, for otherwise East would defeat you by coming down to two spades, three diamonds and a club on the last trump. After winning his diamond, he would be able to play a club to his partner.


Postings/Entries will appear here, but none currently posted !!
Counting is key

West leads the ♣K.  How do you play?

If you can bring in the daimonds without loss, you have 12 tricks.  So how do you play the diamonds?

On hands like these, you should try to work out the distribution.  To this end, you must duck at trick 1.  When West continues clubs, East shows out.  You know that West has 7 clubs.  Now play off the major suits. On this hand, West shows out on the third round of spades and the second round of hearts.  Hence his shape is 2137 so know you know how to play the diamond suit.

Equally, if West had followed each time a major suit was played, you would know of his diamond void and could pick up East's Q9xx.

There will be hands where West's shape is still unclear after 6 rounds of majors have been played, but by postponing the decision in the critical suit, you often gain all the clues you need.  Note that if you had played in 6, you would have to decide how to play the trump suit very early.  In the light of West's known long clubs, you would probably get the diamond suit wrong.

A double dummy problem

Today's problem is somewhat different than usual.  You get to see all four hands and can play accordingly.

You are in 5♣ on the lead of A.  How do you play?

Ruff the diamond with the ♣A; over to  dummy using  the ♣6 and ruff a diamond with the ♣K. Continue with a club to dummy's 7, ruff a third  diamond with the ♣Q and play the AK10 of hearts ruffing with dummy's last trump and ruff a fourth diamond with the ♣J leaving your hand with the ♣2 and three small spades. 

Dummy has Kxx of spades and a high diamond and East has the ♣3 and the AQ10 of spades. Can you see it coming?  Toss  East in with the three of clubs, discarding a spade from dummy. East has to play the ace and a spade and dummy takes the last two tricks with the ♠K and a small diamond.