TEST YOUR PLAY (V) by Stephen Rzewski matchpoints vul: N-S dealer: N North ♠A1053 ♥A3 ♦A109 ♣Q865 South ♠KQJ742 ♥J10 ♦8 ♣AK92 bidding: N E S W 1♣ 2NT 3♠ 5♦ 5♠ P 6♠ (all pass opening lead: ♦2 Today's deal came from a recent STAC tournament. The opponents' hands have been modified to make a more suitable problem. Plan the play. * * * * * * * North ♠ A1053 ♥ A3 ♦ A109 ♣ Q865 West East ♠ 96 ♠ 8 ♥ Q65 ♥ K98742 ♦ Q632 ♦ KJ754 ♣ J1073 ♣ 4 South ♠ KQJ742 ♥ J10 ♦ 8 ♣ AK92 There is a heart loser you can do nothing about, and there is no further problem if the clubs divide 3-2, so you should assume they will split 4-1 or worse, which is quite likely, given East’s “Unusual 2NT” call, showing great length in the red suits. If West has four clubs which include the J-10, an endplay can be executed in the following manner: win the ace of diamonds, ruff a diamond high in the South hand, draw trumps with the king and ace of spades. Then ruff dummy’s last diamond (a third round of trumps can be played should they prove to divide 3-0). Now comes the key play: play one high club honor from the South hand, followed by the ace of hearts. The position at that point will be: North ♠ 105 ♥ 3 ♦ ---- ♣ Q86 West East ♠ ---- ♠ ---- ♥ Q6 ♥ K987 ♦ Q ♦ J7 ♣ J107 ♣ ---- South ♠ Q7 ♥ J ♦ ---- ♣ K92 Now simply exit with a heart. If East wins the trick, he will be forced to give you a ruff-and-sluff of your club loser. If West wins, unless he does the same, he will be forced to return a club. If he plays the jack or 10, let this come around to your king, and you will have a finessing position against his remaining honor-7. It is essential to play one high club before exiting with the heart, or else East can win the trick and exit with his singleton club. If your club holding were weaker still, such that you were missing the J-10-9, the contract could still be made along the same lines, provided that East’s singleton happened to be one of those cards.