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Hand 1 Dlr. North Vul: None
(1) Not a game force.
West leads the 2. When you play low from dummy, East wins the jack and continues with the A and a spade to West’s K. At trick four West leads the 13th spade and East ruffs with the queen. Plan the play from here.
Apparently West has a trump holding headed by the jack that could possibly be promoted with an uppercut. Let’s see if you can do anything about that.
Overruff the queen, lead a heart to the ace and ruff a heart. Cross to a diamond and ruff a second heart, now back to dummy again with a diamond and ruff a diamond. Assuming these all three shortening ruffs have all alived, you have reduced your hand to the K 10 8 and need only exit with the 10. I fWest has the presumed jack, he takes the trick, but you get the last two and make your contract.
This deal appeared in my Chalck Talk columns in the July 2010 ACBL issue to illustrate the advantage of the uppercut. I
originally wrote that this defense would beat 3, but my friend Scott CardelI pointed out there was more to the deal than I first noticed.
Hand 2. Dlr. East, Vul: Both
West leads the 2. You win the ace in dummy and play your other black ace, East discarding a club. Plan the play from here.
The idea, of course, is to make this contract if both diamond honors are with East without jeopardizing the oontract if they aren’t. Start by cashing the A Q, cross to the 10, ruff a heart and draw West’s last two trumps, overtaking the Q if necessary. The table is set. Now lead a diamond to the 10 assuming West plays low. After East wins the trick, East is in trouble. Unless East started with four hearts (!) and exits a heart, forcing you to take a second diamond finesse. East is in serious trouble.
A diamond goes straight into «Jaws» (dummy’s ace-jack), and a club is no better. A high club is ruffed and the Q provides a resting place to your third diamond. While a low club will be ducked to the queen as you shed your losing diamond.
And no, a diamond lead doesn’t beat it either: finesse the 10, win the heart , play the A, cash a second heart, return to your hand with a trump, ruff a heart high, cash the A (Important) and then play all of your trumps and the K, reducing to the 9 and a club. Dummy has the A Q and East has been squeezed on the last minor-suit winner. If he holds on to a diamond honor, the K will drop. If he discards a diamond honor, your 9 is high. 9 turns out to
be a big, big card. Thanks to Tim Bourke, Australia, for this one.