Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 159a

composed by Paolo Treossi
presented for solving in June 2018

 DR7 ♠ 107 ♥ A8765 ♦ KJ6 ♣ A93 ♠ 3 ♥ KQJ109 ♦ Q8 ♣ 87654 ♠ 9654 ♥ 4 ♦ A1097 ♣ KQJ10 ♠ AKQJ82 ♥ 32 ♦ 5432 ♣ 2

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Ed Lawhon, Radu Mihai, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari.  Several solvers missed line C.2, as indeed did I at first, and also, it seems, the composer himself.

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Solution
(revised shortly after publication to include variation C.2)

North wins with the A and returns the suit, East discarding a club.

A.      If West returns a trump or a heart, South plays all the spades bar one, North discarding hearts.  East, still to play in the following position, is squeezed in the minor suits:

 ♠ none ♥ none ♦ KJ6 ♣ A93 ♠ none ♥ Q ♦ Q8 ♣ 876 ♠ none ♥ none ♦ A1097 ♣ KQJ ♠ 2 ♥ none ♦ 5432 ♣ 2

A club discard allows North’s 9 to be established by ruffing with an eventual entry in diamonds, whereas a diamond discard is followed by a diamond to Q and K, then the J if East lets the K hold.  However East plays, South will eventually make a trick with the fourth diamond.

B.      A diamond from West at trick 3 gives declarer options, the simplest being to continue diamonds when the lead is regained, aiming for a diamond ruff in North.  If East foils this by leading trumps, then play will end in a simple squeeze against East.

C.      So West does best to return a club.  North wins with the A and leads a heart.  East is already squeezed in three suits and does best to “discard” a trump.  South overruffs with the J and leads a diamond to the Q (best) and K, East doing best to play the 9.  South ruffs high another heart,

1.       If East “discards” another trump, South plays a diamond to the 8, J and A.  Now East must return a trump to prevent North from ruffing the fourth diamond.  Assuming East returns the 9 (otherwise North wins with the 7), South plays the 8 and North wins with the 10 in this position:

 ♠ 7 ♥ 8 ♦ 6 ♣ 93 ♠ none ♥ Q ♦ none ♣ 8765 ♠ 6 ♥ none ♦ 107 ♣ KQ ♠ AK2 ♥ none ♦ 54 ♣ none

North leads the 8 and East is fixed.  A diamond discard is obviously fatal and ruffing gives up the card that would prevent North from ruffing the fourth diamond.  So East tries a club discard, but in that case South discards a diamond, ruffs the club return high, and crosses to North on the 7 to score the good 9.

2.       If East instead discards a club, South leads the 8 to North's 10 and ruffs a club high to establish North's 9.  Now the remaining top spades are followed by the 2 to East, who must let North in on the J to cash the good club.

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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