Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 32

composed by Jean-Marc Bihl and Hugh Darwen
presented for solving in October, 2007

 DR6 ♠ A5 ♥ 54 ♦ A7652 ♣ AJ53 ♠ QJ1098 ♥ KQJ10 ♦ none ♣ Q1098 ♠ 76 ♥ 9876 ♦ 10983 ♣ K42 ♠ K432 ♥ A32 ♦ KQJ4 ♣ 76

South to make five diamonds.  West leads (a) the  K, (b) the ♠Q.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Vincent Labbé, Andy Prothero, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden

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Solution

North's 5 and South's 4 are both key cards.  The tenth trick comes from either a club ruff in the South hand or a heart ruff and a spade ruff (with the A) in North.  On a heart lead the eleventh trick comes from a black suit squeeze against West.  The play is much more difficult on a spade lead.  Declarer aims for three ruffs in North by employing the technique known as ruff transfer—a heart is discarded on a losing spade so that North threatens to get two heart ruffs as well as a high spade ruff.  East can counter that threat by discarding hearts, but that sets up a rare kind of squeeze in hearts and clubs against West.

(a) The K is allowed to hold.  Declarer will now get home by contriving a black suit squeeze against West.  West does best to switch to a low spade taken by North, who leads the 7, covered by East's 8 and South's J, West discarding a spade.  South leads a club.  If West rises with the Q it is allowed to hold and the contract is easily made by setting up North's J; so West plays low and the J forces East's K.

A.      If East returns a club to North's A, South ruffs a club, and cashes the red suit winners.  North ruffs a heart and draws the last trump with the A, squeezing West in the black suits.

B.      If East returns a spade, South wins and ruffs a third spade with the A.  The 6 is covered by East and South, who plays A and another heart, North ruffing high.  South now draws trumps by finessing the 4, squeezing West in the black suits.

C.      If East returns a red suit, either of the above lines can be played.

(b) North takes the first trick with the A and leads the 7, covered by East's 8 and South's J.  South plays K and another spade, North and East discarding hearts.

A.      If West returns a heart, South wins and leads a club, North covering West's card and following with the J if that card is still held.  East thus wins the first or second round of clubs with the K and now, whatever East returns, declarer makes the rest on a cross-ruff.

B.      If West returns a club, North covers West's card and the play is essentially the same as in A.

C.      If West returns a spade, North ruffs with the A and East, unable profitably to underruff, is squeezed.

1.       If East discards a club, the A and a heart ruffed high are followed by the 2 (not the 5, which East would duck!) to 9 and Q.  North ruffs another heart and cashes the A (if it is still held—it could have been cashed earlier).  South's last two cards are the K-4 sitting over East's 10-3, and South is not on lead.

2.       If East discards a heart, North leads a high diamond, covered by East and South.  The A and a heart ruffed high are followed by a finesse of the 4 and the last trump, squeezing West.  If West's last three cards are all clubs, South's last heart is good; otherwise South leads a club.  If West plays low, North's J loses to the K and the A-5 take the last two tricks; otherwise the A captures the Q and the J loses to the K, pinning the 10 so that the 5 takes the last trick.

See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.

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