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1

North
      A Q
 A J 10 7
J 10 2
8 6 5 2
East
 7 6 5 3
 8
 Q 7 5 4 
 K 10 9 7

WEST        NORTH     EAST         SOUTH

      1

2 1 2 2 3    4NT

Pass 5    Pass 5NT

Pass 6 3 All Pass

1 Spades and a minor, usually weak

2 Sound heart raise

3 No side kings

Partner leads the jack of spades, won with the queen. Declarer plays a diamond to the ace, a heart to the ace and ruffs a diamond. Then comes a heart to the jack, to which West again follows. What do you discard? What are your plans for later?

2

North
 7 5 4
A J
A J 6 5
A J 10 6
East
A K 9 3
K 9 2
7 2
K Q 8 3

   

WEST        NORTH     EAST         SOUTH

1   1NT   Double

    2        Pass Pass 3

Pass 3    Pass 4

Pass 5    All Pass

Partner leads the jack of spades and your king drops the queen. You switch to a trump, won in dummy. Declarer ruffs a spade, returns to dummy with a trump (spade from West) and ruffs another spade. Next comes a club to the two, ten and king.

SOLUTIONS TO TEST YOUR DEFENCE with Julian Pottage

1

North
A Q
A J 10 7
J 10 2
8 6 5 2
West
J 10 9 8 2  
4 2   
K 9 8 6 3   
J       
East
 7 6 5 3
8
 Q 7 5 4 
 K 10 9 7
South
K 4
K Q 9 6 5 3
A
A Q 4 3

The key here is the club suit. What you have seen from the other suits tells you this is the only place for defensive tricks. From the bidding and play to date, you know that partner has a singleton (at most) in the suit.

Scoring two clubs tricks will be easy if West’s club is the ace. However, South’s 5NT, looking for a grand slam, precludes this. You have to hope for the jack or queen.

Declarer has seen the auction too and can read West for a singleton club. An endplay is in the air, as confirmed by the diamond ruff earlier, starting to strip the suit. Declarer surely plans to duck the first club to West in the hope of getting a ruff and discard.

For now, you can spare either a spade or a low diamond. Then on the first round of clubs, you will step in with your king.

2

North
 7 5 4
A J
A J 6 5
A J 10 6
West
J 10 8 6 2  
7 6 5 3       
3      
7 5 2
East
 A K 9 3
 K 9 2
 7 2
 K Q 8 3
South
Q
Q 10 8 4
K Q 10 9 8 4
9 4

An endplay is more than just in the air this time. It seems to have arrived already. For sure, you cannot play a spade without giving a ruff and discard. Nor can you play a club without leading into a tenace. Does this mean you should try a heart, hoping either that West somehow has the queen or that you make a club trick later?

A little counting tells you the answer. West has shown out of trumps, revealing that suit. Declarer has also bid hearts, presumably showing four. It looks like the closed hand is 1=4=6=2. Partner’s two of clubs, low to show on odd number, confirms this.

Your one sure safe exit is a low club. The extra club winner is unimportant. Declarer cannot get rid of all those hearts on one club and so is bound to lose a heart later.

Note that a spade exit is not good enough: declarer ruffs in hand and then ruffs two hearts in dummy, felling your king.