Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 21

composed by Hugh Darwen
presented for solving in November, 2006

 DR8 ♠ K2 ♥ QJ2 ♦ AK2 ♣ K102 ♠ QJ ♥ 109 ♦ J109 ♣ Q765 ♠ A109 ♥ K865 ♦ 3 ♣ J98 ♠ 543 ♥ A743 ♦ Q ♣ A43

Hearts are trumps and West leads the ♠Q.  North-South to make eight tricks.

Successful solvers:  None!  Steve Bloom and Wim van der Zijden both got very close though.

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Solution

North covers the ♠Q and East wins.

A.      If East returns a spade, West does best to switch to a club, taken by South.  North overtakes the Q and leads a high heart, which East does best to cover.  South wins and plays a second heart to North, who advances the A.

1.       If East ruffs low, South overruffs and easily makes three more tricks—for example, by ruffing a spade, cashing the ♣K and leading the 2 to promote the 4.

2.       If East ruffs high, South discards a club, wins the trump return with the 7 and plays the last trump for a double squeeze with clubs as pivot suit.

3.       If East discards a spade, South throws a club and North leads the 2.  East can make only the 8.

4.       If East discards a club, South ruffs!  North ruffs a spade, cashes the ♣K and leads the 2 for a coup en passant as in A.1.

B.      If East returns a club to the ♣Q and ♣K, North leads the Q.

1.       If East covers, South wins, crosses to North by overtaking the Q and plays the other top diamond, discarding a club unless East ruffs low.  In the latter case, South overruffs; otherwise South discards a club and comes to hand on a club.  Now a heart to the Q is followed by the 10 and declarer must come to two more trump tricks.

2.       If East ducks, North exists on a spade to West.

a)       If West returns a trump, covered around the table, South scores the Q, ruffs a spade and plays a diamond.  East ruffs low but South overruffs and throws East in with a trump, North discarding the diamond winner.  East has to lead away from the J.

b)       If West returns a club, South wins and overtakes the Q to lead North's other top diamond.  If East ruffs low, South overruffs, cashes the A, ruffs a spade and makes the 4 en passant again.  If East instead ruffs with the 8 or discards, South discards a club and the rest is easy.

C.      If East returns a diamond, North overtakes the Q.  Now several plays succeed.  Simplest is to make two heart tricks by leading the Q and then exit in spades. If West returns a club, South wins, ruffs a spade and leads a diamond.  If West returns a diamond, North plays the A.  In either case, East can make only the 8.

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, 2006