Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 131a

composed by Vincent Labbé
presented for solving in January 2016

 DR5 ♠ 32 ♥ K1094 ♦ AK65 ♣ A54 ♠ KJ1098765 ♥ J5 ♦ Q ♣ 106 ♠ 4 ♥ Q876 ♦ 10987 ♣ QJ87 ♠ AQ ♥ A32 ♦ J432 ♣ K932

South to make five no-trumps against any lead.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Radu Mihai, Zoran Sibinović, Dick Yuen        Tables

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Solution

West’s only apparently safe lead is the Q.  North wins and leads a low club (not the Asee the Trap below).

A.      If East plays low, South covers with the 9 and West wins.  Now the only safe return is a club, but North wins and cashes the K (or plays a diamond to the J and then cashes the K).

1.       If West plays the 5, a heart is ducked to West, who now has to lead a spade.  South makes two spade tricks, triple-squeezing East.  If East discards a red card, then the A, A and North’s established red suit winner squeezes West again.  If East instead discards a club, then the K and 3, on which North discards a diamond, subject East to a criss-cross squeeze in the red suits.

2.       If West plays the J, then North leads the 10, which holds.  Now a spade is lost to West and the spade return squeezes East as in A.1.  (If East covers the 10, South can win and lead the Q with much the same effect.)

B.      If East rises with the J, South wins and plays a heart to the K.

1.       If West plays the 5, North cashes the A and leads the 4 (not the 10, or East will cover!) and South plays low.  South now gets two spade tricks as before and again East is triple-squeezed, this time without the count.  Here is the position, with South leading the A:

 ♠ 3 ♥ 109 ♦ A65 ♣ 5 ♠ KJ109876 ♥ none ♦ none ♣ none ♠ none ♥ Q8 ♦ 1098 ♣ Q8 ♠ A ♥ A ♦ J43 ♣ 93

If East discards a red card, then South cashes a winner in that suit, crosses to the A, cashes North’s red suit winner, and leads the 5, scoring the 9 and a red suit winner.  If instead East discards a club, then South loses a club and wins the diamond return with the J.  North discards a diamond on the good 9 and East is criss-cross squeezed as in A.1.

2.       If West plays the J, North leads the 10.  Whether or not East covers, South will subsequently set up a trick for the 9, then lose a spade to West.  For example, if East covers the 10, South wins, plays a club to the A and a club towards the 9 (or, if West still has the 10, a club, ducked and the 10 overtaken by East).  East wins and returns a heart to North’s 9 and now a spade is ducked to West.  East discards a club on the spade return but is then squeezed when South cashes the 9, North discarding a diamond.

Trap: If North cashes the A at trick 2, East plays high.  South wins with the K and leads a low heart, but West rises with the J and East covers the 10!  Now North is short of a safe entry for setting up the 9.

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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