1. IMPs. Both vulnerable. South Deals.
♠ Q J 4
A 8 6 5 4
9 8 7
♣ 6 4
♠ A K 8 7 2
10
A K Q
♣ A K Q J

 West North East South 2♣ Pass 2♦ Pass 2♠ Pass 3♠ Pass 4NT(1) Pass 5♣(2) Pass 5♦(3) Pass 6♠(4) Pass 7♠ All Pass

(1) Roman Key Card Blackwood.
(2) One key card.
(4)♠Q, no kings.
Take it from here.

 ♠ Q J 4 ♥ A 8 6 5 4 ♦ 9 8 7 ♣ 6 4 ♠ — ♠ 10 9 6 5 3 ♥ Q J 9 3 2 ♥ K 7 ♦ J 6 4 3 2 ♦ 10 5 ♣ 10 9 3 ♣ 8 7 5 2 ♠ A K 8 7 2 ♥ 10 ♦ A K Q ♣ A K Q J

What a revolting development. It’s not over yet, however. If East has one of several distributions (six minor-suit cards including at least three clubs ) you can still survive.
Ruff a heart and play the ♣A K Q discarding a diamond from the table. (You can’t make the contract if East has only two clubs). Assuming both have followed, if you judge that East has the remaining club, play a fourth club and discard a second diamond from the table and now the A and ruff a diamond low. If you judge that West has the remaining club, play the A K and ruff your remaining high diamond low. In either case, assuming you have done it right, this is the four-card ending you have reached, the lead in dummy:

 ♠ J ♥ 8 6 5 ♦ — ♣ — ♠ 10 9 6 5 Immaterial ♥ — ♦ — ♣ — ♠ A K 8 ♥  — ♦ Q ? ♣ J ?

(The question marks indicate that you have either the Q or the ♣J in the ending, not both.)

Lead a heart. If East ruffs low, overruff with the 8, ruff your odd card with the jack and take the last two tricks with the ♠A K.

If East ruffs with the 9 or 10, overuff with the king, ruff your odd card with the ♠J, and take the last two tricks with the ♠A 8 hovering delightfully over East’s ♠10 6.

Thanks to Scott Cardell, Pullman WA, for this construction.

2. IMPs. None vulnerable. South deals.
♠ K 9 7 6
5 3
A K 9 6 5
♣ 8 4
♠ A 2
7
10 4 2
♣ K Q J 10 9 7 2

 West North East South 2♣ (1) Dbl Redbl 4♥ 5♣ Pass Pass Dbl All Pass

(1) Natural, 11-15 HCP.
West leads the Q. You win in dummy and East plays the 3. Plan the play.

 ♠ K 9 7 6 ♥ 5 3 ♦ A K 9 6 5 ♣ 8 4 ♠ J 5 4 3 ♠ Q 10 8 ♥ A Q J 6 ♥ K 10 9 8 4 2 ♦ Q J 8 7 ♦ 3 ♣ 3 ♣ A 6 5 ♠ A 2 ♥ 7 ♦ 10 4 2 ♣ K Q J 10 9 7 2

The bidding makes the 3 look very much like a singleton. If you win and lead a club and East has the likely ace, he can win and lead a heart to West. If West reads the position and leads a second diamond rather than a second heart, down you go. Can you do anything about this? Perhaps.

Your first move should be to play the 4 at trick one, concealing the 2 (assuming they play standard signaling methods), and then the ♠A K and a spade. If East has ♠Q x x and fails to unblock, pitch a heart on the third spade cutting their lines of communication. Discarding a heart on the third spade might also work if East has something like ♠J 10 x and fails to unblock. West, holding a presumed Q–x–x–x, has to overtake setting up the ♠9 in dummy as a winner, and lead a diamond to defeat the contract. He may not be that smart. On the actual lie, East must unblock the ♠Q to defeat the contract and West must win the third spade and lead a diamond.

Notice that if West leads a heart on the get go, the contract can be made by eventually squeezing West in diamonds and spades (after ruffing a spade to isolate the spade menace with West) or even taking the double diamond finesse. If you decide to drive out the ♣A immediately, East will surely win and lead a heart hoping (praying) West will win and lead a second diamond, not a second heart. If you were East, which heart would you lead to help partner out? Now check with your favorite partner to see if you have matching answers.

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