Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 147a

composed by Steve Bloom
presented for solving in May 2017

DR4

♠ QJ10

 AJ6543

 A8

♣ Q4

♠ 432

 2

 5432

♣ A8765

♠ K

 10987

 KJ1096

♣ KJ10

♠ A98765

KQ

 Q7

♣ 932

(a) South to make five spades.  West leads a diamond.
(b) How would the contract be defeated if the 8 and 7 are swapped?

Successful solvers:  Ian Budden, Johnson, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden.  The DR is affected by several solvers' observation that the wording of part (b) gives a big hint as to the necessity to drop the Q at trick one, but also by the fact that not everybody solved part (b) correctly.   Tables

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Solution

(a) North takes the opening diamond and South drops the Q.  After three rounds of spades, a heart to South and two more spades this is the position:

♠ none

 AJ6

 8

♣ Q4

♠ none

 none

 543

♣ A87

♠ none

 1098

 KJ

♣ K

♠ 7

K

 7

♣ 932

South leads the 7.  West and North discard clubs and, East is squeezed down to the four hearts and two minor suit cards.  South cashes the K.  South leads a club if East still has the K, otherwise a diamond.  In either case East cannot avoid being on lead at trick twelve with two heart losers.

(b) The plays proceeds as in (a) but East takes care to preserve the 6.  The 4-card ending is now like this, with South on lead:

♠ none

 AJ

 7

♣ Q

♠ none

 none

 543

♣ A

♠ none

 109

 K6

♣ none

♠ none

none

 8

♣ 932

Note the careful discarding by East and West.  A club exit allows East to discard a heart and take two diamond tricks, so South tries the 8, but this is allowed to hold!  East then discards the K on the A and West’s diamonds take the last two tricks.

This defence explains why South drops the Q at trick one in (a)—if North can beat South’s diamond in the ending, then the A and J yield an overtrick if East futilely ducks.

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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© Hugh Darwen, 2017
Date last modified: 10 July, 2017