# Puzzle This

IMPs

Dlr:
East
Vul:
N-S
North
♠ A 5 4
J 7 3
8
♣ A 10 9 8 4 3
South
♠ Q 3 2
Q 10 4 2
A K 5 4
♣ K Q
 West North East South 1♠ 1NT Pass 3NT All Pass

West obediently leads his partner’s suit: the ♠K. As South, plan the play to guarantee your contract regardless of how the suits divide.

View Solution
The opening lead gives you two spade tricks, and you have two sure diamond winners, so you need five more. The club suit looks like it will provide plenty of tricks as long as you can untangle the suit and have an entry to get to dummy.

First, you must resist the temptation to win the ♠A at trick one. You’ll need the ace later as an entry to the long clubs. As a matter of good technique, it’s often correct to duck holding two winners in an opponent’s known long suit to help cut communication between the defenders. In this case, however, the dummy entry is the reason you must duck.

After the ♠K holds, West continues with a low spade. You win this trick with your queen, of course, and get to work on the clubs. Both opponents follow to the ♣K. When you play the ♣Q, West follows. To guarantee your contract, you must overtake with dummy’s ace. The importance of this play at IMPs is revealed if East shows out. This is the critical layout:

Dlr:
Vul:
North
♠ A 5 4
J 7 3
8
♣ A 10 9 8 4 3
West
♠ K 6
8 6
9 7 6 3 2
♣ J 7 6 5
East
♠ J 10 9 8 7
A K 9 5
J 10
♣ 2
South
♠ Q 3 2
Q 10 4 2
A K 5 4
♣ K Q

If, on the ♣Q, you play a low club from dummy, you won’t be able to run the suit. By overtaking, however, you can next play the ♣10 to force out West’s jack. The ♠A will then provide an entry to the established clubs.