Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 154a

composed by Vincent Labbé
presented for solving in January 2018

 DR4 ♠ K10965 ♥ none ♦ 543 ♣ A10432 ♠ none ♥ J987654 ♦ A6 ♣ KJ98 ♠ J87 ♥ K ♦ QJ10987 ♣ 765 ♠ AQ432 ♥ AQ1032 ♦ K2 ♣ Q

South to make six spades against any defence.

Successful solvers:   Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Ed Lawhon, Steve McVea, Radu Mihai, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden.  Sorry to disappoint those who missed line D below.  Even though it has an alternative solution (now added), it strikes me as no less trivial than line C, which nobody omitted.

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Solution

West’s best lead is a heart.  North must ruff low and lead the 10, which East does best to cover.  South wins with the A (not the Q) and leads the Q, covered by the K and A.  North cashes the 9 and South ruffs a club.  Now the Q from South exerts a seesaw squeeze on West in this position:

 ♠ K6 ♥ none ♦ 543 ♣ 1043 ♠ none ♥ J987 ♦ A6 ♣ J9 ♠ 8 ♥ none ♦ QJ10987 ♣ 7 ♠ Q4 ♥ AQ103 ♦ K2 ♣ none

A.      If West discards a heart, the Q wins and South plays three rounds of hearts on which North discards the three diamonds.  West is endplayed and must set up either South’s K or North’s 10—in each case West’s top card is ruffed in one hand and the other hand then has an entry on a ruff to score the established winner.

B.      If West discards a club, North overtakes with the K.  South ruffs a club and cashes the AQ, North discarding diamonds.  North’s remaining trump and two good clubs take three of the last four tricks.

C.      If West discards the 6, the trick can be won in either hand to lead a diamond to the A.  West’s next lead concedes a trick in either clubs or hearts, to add to the K, AQ and a ruff in each hand.

D.      If West discards the A, South cashes the K and, optionally, one top heart, before leading the 3.  As in line A, North refrains from ruffing and so leaves West endplayed, this time in hearts and clubs.  (Alternatively, North can overtake with the K, and then South ruffs a club, cashes the K, ruffs the 3 in North, who throws West in with a club for South to get three heart tricks.)

If West starts with the K instead of a heart, that merely swaps the first and third tricks in the above line, giving the same ending.

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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