Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 50

composed by Steve Bloom

presented for solving in April, 2009

 DR5 ♠ KQJ102 ♥ 8432 ♦ none ♣ Q1093 ♠ ? ♥ KJ109 ♦ A98765 ♣ J? ♠ ?6 ♥ 765 ♦ QJ ♣ AK?654 ♠ A8543 ♥ AQ ♦ K10432 ♣ 2

The four question marks represent the
7 and ♠9, the ♣7 and ♣8
.
Which layout will set the slam?  How is it made otherwise?

Successful solvers:  Ian Budden, Vincent Labbé, llhuii5614, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden

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Solution

West must have both black sevens.

A.      Suppose that West has the 9 and 7.  Then North plays high on the spade lead and South overtakes to lead a club, North finessing against West's J.  East wins and returns a heart (best) to South's A.  North ruffs a diamond high and leads the Q, covered by East and ruffed low.  North ruffs another diamond high and cashes the established club winner on which South discards the Q.  At trick 8 South ruffs the last club low and the ending (assuming South has not yet played the K) is now

 ♠ K2 ♥ 843 ♦ none ♣ none ♠ none ♥ KJ ♦ A98 ♣ none ♠ 7 ♥ 76 ♦ none ♣ 86 ♠ 85 ♥  ♦ K104 ♣ none

South advances the 8 and West is caught in a seesaw squeeze: a heart discard allows North to overtake and set up the hearts by ruffing, whereas a diamond discard allows South to stay on lead and set up the diamonds.

B.      Suppose that West has the 7 and 8.  Then North plays low on the spade lead and South wins as cheaply as possible.  South leads the K, covered by West and ruffed by North, who exits on the 3!  East has to let this run to West, who has no trump to return.  Thus, declarer can obtain three more diamond ruffs in North and in the process establish a club winner on which to dispose of the losing heart.

Trap:

In line A, declarer can play the K instead of a low one on either of the first two rounds of that suit.  However, if South leads a low diamond instead of the stipulated K in line B, West, on winning the first club, returns a low diamond!  Now every time North ruffs a diamond, East discards a club and thus is able to ruff the club winner that is eventually established.