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ID: 28
Dealer: S
Vul: N-S
8 3 2
10 9 4
J 9 8 5 3

K 9 6 5
K 9 6
7 6
Q 10 7 6

W        E


8 7 4 3 2
Q J 10 5
A 8 3 2

A 10
A 7 4
K Q J 5
A K 4 2

West North East South
- - - 2N
- 3C - 3N
This hand was just randomly dealt when I had some free time, never actually bid and played. Bidding is suggested if you play Puppet Stayman. Less agressive North's might pass, which on this handis a good thing as 3NT cannot be made against good defense. It can be made against average defense and stellar Declarer play though. Try your luck!

ID: 27
Dealer: E
Vul: Both

A K Q 9 6 5 43
Q 9 7 2


W        E


8 2
A K 10 6
A J 10 8 6 5 3

West North East South
- - 1S 2C
3S 4H 4S X
P 4NT P 5H
This hand came up during a recent tournament at team play and demonstrates the need to thoroughly understand your Ace asking or key card asking system. The East- West hands are not shown here, as they are irrelevant. North is put in the position of guessing whether to settle on what would appear to be a game or venture into slam territory when West's preemptive raise to 3 interferes. After North guesses and bids 4 and East's apparent sacrifice to 4, South doubles the 4 for penalty. Now North views slam as a definite possibility due to the apparent trick taking ability in South's hand, but needs to find out if South has the Ace of diamonds. Without that Ace or a void in diamonds in South's hand, it is possible that the opponents will take 2 diamond tricks to start. North can safely ask for key cards using 1430, because any answer South would make would allow the partnership to stop if necessary or continue on to slam with no concerns. Unfortunately, when played at our table, south responded incorrectly, bidding 5, showing 2 key cards. Given South's double, North has to assume that perhaps one of those is the Ace of Spades and the other their club Ace. North thus settles for 5, passing their partner. The correct bid from South is 5NT, promising 2 key cards and a void. Now North can be reasonably assured that South has the Ace of clubs and the Ace of spades with a void in diamonds which would appear unlikely given the bidding or they have the Ace of clubs and the Ace of diamonds and a void in spades, which while highly unusual does seem possible given the bidding. Either way slam should make and North can safely bid 6. Oh well, maybe next time! (By the way, East came out leading the Ace of spades, allowing a sluff of a diamond in North's hand, trumping in South's, thus making 7 without needing a diamond split.)

ID: 25
Dealer: W
Vul: Neither
K 10 7 2
A Q 6 4
9 8 5 3

K Q 5 3
J 9
J 7 3
A J 10 7

W        E


J 10 9 8 6
Q 4
10 9 5
K Q 4

A 7 2
A 8 6 5 3
K 8 2
6 2

West North East South
1C P 1S 2H
2S 3H 3S P
4S 5H P P
I was playing North at a club game when this deal came up. After East bid 3S and my partner passed I had already decided to pass because I didn't want to push them into game. Then West bid the game anyway, so I sacrificed to 5H. The funny thing was, it didn't turn out to be a sacrifice. 5H always makes even with a club lead, but without the club lead it makes 6 for a score of 1310, better than bidding the non-vulnerable slam, and a top board. Other NS pairs that day bid a partscore in hearts, making 6 for 230, or set EW for a score of 100, or let EW make 2S, which shouldn't happen, but evidently did because NS didn't take their diamonds before one of East's losing diamonds gets discarded on the clubs. At our table, West led the spade King. South won with the Ace, drew 2 rounds of trump, played three rounds of diamonds ending in dummy and that suit split too! The 4th diamond provided a place for the club discard. All that remained was to lose 1 club and cross-ruff the remaining spades and clubs.

ID: 21
Dealer: S
Vul: Neither
Q 10 5
Q J 9 4
Q 6 3 2
7 4

K 9 4
A K 7
A 8 5 4
J 8 2

W        E


8 5 3
J 9 7
A Q 10 9 6 5

A J 8 7 3 2
10 6 2
K 10
K 3

West North East South
- - - 1S
1N 2S 3C 3S
3N P P P
I was playing South when this hand came up during club play. My partner duly led the 5 and I rose with the Ace, returning the 2. I returned low as I knew the declarer had to have either 2 more spades headed by the King or Queen or possibly they just had a singleton King left in their hand. This had to be true given my partner's support of the spade suit and their low lead. At any rate declarer went up with their King and unfortunately my partner played the 10. Why unfortunately? Well after declarer tried the losing club finesse, I had no choice but to lead a small spade to my partner's Queen, but now I have no entry remaining to play my last 3 spades. If my partner unblocks by dropping their Queen under the King, then when I get in with the King, I can play out 4 spade tricks and declarer is down by 2 tricks.

ID: 18
Dealer: N
Vul: N-S
10 9 8 6 5 4 3 2
A 5
A 8 7

Q 9 8 2
K 10 2
K Q J 8 7 2

W        E


K 10 7 6 3
Q 9
A 10 9 6 5 3

A K Q J 7
J 4
J 6 5 4 3

West North East South
- P P 1S
2C 4S 5C P
P 5S P P
Opening Lead: K
South can't quite make this bid, losing 2 diamonds and one heart, but since East/West can make 5, it is still a good sacrifice. The interesting thing about the bidding is that if North decides to preempt with 3, you have to wonder if East/West will ever find the club fit. South will raise the preempt to 4 which does make. Will either East or West jump in at 4 or 5 clubs? It will also make 5 for East/West. Can they find it? Even if East/West have a partnership agreement that a double is for takeout through 3, if North preempts, a double from East is dangerous as diamonds cannot be supported.

ID: 17
Vul: N-S
10 7 3
K J 10 8 7 6 5 2
8 7

Q J 8 5 4
J 10 9 6
6 3

W        E


K 6 2
A K Q J 9 8 7 4

A 9
9 3
A K Q 5 4 3
10 5 2

West North East South
- - - 1D
P 1H 2C 2D
2N 4H 5C P
This hand was played at Kids Bridge. South came out leading the A and followed that with the K which East trumped. East led three rounds of trump. All that was needed now was to lead a small spade towards the board, losing to South's marked A. (South must have this given the opening bid and the heart points in North's hand.) The interesting thing about this hand is that North/South could have competed on to 5, also making it with just one heart loser and one spade loser.

ID: 15
Dealer: S
Vul: Both
AQJ 10 9 7 4 3

Q J 10 8 2

5 2
9 4 3
K Q J 10 7 3
9 4

W        E


K 10 8 7 5
A K 7 6 5 3

8 6
A Q J 6 2
A 8 6 5 4 2

West North East South
- - - 1D
P 1S 2C 2H
P 4S P P
Opening Lead: A
When I played this hand as North at the W-S Duplicate Club on Friday night, I only made 6 because I didn't play it quite right, but my opponent also made an error so I was able to make 6. With everybody in top form it only makes 6. If N-S plays well and East makes a slight mistake, 7 is possible and unfortunately for my partner and I, another N-S pair did make 7 although nobody bid beyond 4.

After I trumped the opening club lead, I played both red Aces throwing away clubs. I then led a diamond to trump and was promptly over trumped by the singleton K. After I took the following heart lead in my hand, I led my Q which was covered by the King and the board trumped. I then came back to my hand with a heart ruff, drew the remaining trump and then played my good clubs, thus making 6. However, if East does not cover the Q, I cannot make 6, given the way I played it.

I should have foreseen a singleton K, (although I'm not sure I should have foreseen the singleton diamond, but perhaps given the strange distribution I should have.) I can't draw trump without first coming to my hand to finesse the K. So after taking the first club, I can play my Ace throwing away a small club but then lead either a diamond or heart to trump in my hand. Lead the Q, if East plays the K, trump. Then trump a heart in my hand, draw trump and play my good clubs, thus making 7.

It is worth noting that if East doesn't play the King, I can let the Queen ride and lead the Jack. If East still doesn't play the King, I cannot make 7, because if I don't trump West will be able to trump and can then lead a diamond which East's K can take as a ruff in diamonds. In which case I only make 5. So I would have to trump my J, then come back to my hand with a ruff in hearts, draw trump and then give East the remaining club trick, thus making only 6.

ID: 14
Dealer: E
Vul: Neither
K Q 10 6 3
J 6 4
8 5
Q 9 7

A 4 2
9 8 2
6 3 2
K 10 4 3

W        E


J 8 5
A Q 7 3
Q J 10
6 5 2

9 7
K 10 5
A K 9 7 4
A J 8

West North East South
- - PASS 1NT
Assume West leads the 3
Where did you take the first trick? If you didn't take it in South's hand with the Ace, you can't make 3NT unless the defense helps you. You must take it with the Ace, then continue by leading a spade towards the King. If West doesn't play his Ace (a good defender won't), then you take the King. Return to your hand with the Ace. Then lead a spade towards the Queen.
If West still doesn't take the Ace, you are now on the board. Lead the 10. West can take his Ace but cannot hurt you. If he leads a small club go up with the Queen on the board and take your 2 remaining Spade tricks. Then lead the J. If East plays the Queen, play your King. It holds and you make your bid (4 spades, 1 heart, 2 diamonds, and 2 clubs). It is likely to hold as it is unlikely that West holds the Ace in addition to the other points already shown. If East had not covered with the Queen, let the Jack ride and you still make the bid possibly with overtricks. You will probably make overtricks anyway because East and West are being stripped while you lead Spades. In fact, if you see East sluff a diamond, instead of taking the heart finesse, you want to take the diamond finesse. The key is you cannot take that 1st club trick cheaply because then you can't get back to the board to establish your spade tricks!

If West does take his A on the second spade lead, it doesn't hurt. If he returns a heart, run it around to your K. Assuming East goes up with his Ace, he must then either set up 2 heart tricks for you, lead into your spade tricks on the board, lead a club helping to set up the Queen on the board, or his best bet which is to lead the Q. Take it or not, East/West can do no better than taking 1 trick in each suit.

If West leads a diamond after taking his Ace, this also presents no difficulties. South takes the K and then works on setting up clubs as above. West can take his K and lead diamonds to East who can then do no further damage other than to take his A.

So, as I tell all my students, PLAN the hand before you play to the first trick. It is often the first trick that will set you!