12 English Bridge December 2018 www.ebu.co.uk
s it's the festive season I thought I'd provide
something of a brain-teaser for you on the
theme of suit combinations. Not too testing,
but a deal and a variation upon it to make your
brain creak back into action.
Firstly, you are in 6NT. How should you play it?
What are your chances? Suit combinations - Part 6
you that you can guarantee them, regardless of the
lie of the cards. Does that help? Maybe . . . maybe
South plays in
6NT. West leads
´ K J 10
™ A Q 9
t Q J 10
® A 9 4 3
´ A Q 9
™ K J 10
t A K 9
® K J 5 2
® A 9 4 3
® K J 5 2
Your Count and Plan tells you that you have nine
idiot-proof tricks in spades, hearts and diamonds,
so require three tricks from clubs. Therefore, the
crux of the matter is to play that suit to best
advantage to make three tricks against nasty breaks.
You may well have seen this one before (it's a suit
combination that finds its way into many a
textbook and bridge article) so, perhaps, you won't
find this one a difficult test. Well, Part 2 of this
seasonal challenge is to make 7NT instead.
Clearly luck must be on your side now - but you
still have to play clubs the optimal way. What is it?
Now, you may be full of Christmas spirits or you
may have cold turkey - either way it's worth a few
moments of your time before you plough on
through the article to look at the answers.
By the way, if you haven't seen the theme of
playing the following for three tricks, then I'll tell
Part 1. The contract is 6NT.
To guarantee three club tricks (and therefore your
contract of 6NT) you win the spade lead in either
hand and play off the ®K. Next you lead a low club,
intending to insert the nine from table if West
follows with a low card. If West shows out you play
the ace and lead up to the jack.
If West follows low and East takes the nine, then
clubs are 3-2 and three tricks are assured.
If West produces the ten or the queen on the
second round it is a simple matter to establish the
suit for (at least) three tricks.
Part 2 The contract is 7NT.
Now you have to finesse against East for the ®Q, it
being way against the odds to cash the two top clubs
and hope the queen falls doubleton. However, there
is a trap.
Many players think it right to cash the ®A at trick
two before taking the club finesse. What good would
that do, though? If West has the singleton queen
East would have ®10 8 7 6 and the suit could not be
It is right to win the spade lead in dummy and
lead a low club from table at trick two, intending to
finesse the jack. How might that gain?