Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 52

composed by Hugh Darwen
presented for solving in June, 2009

 DR7 ♠ A7432 ♥ 1054 ♦ Q8 ♣ K76 ♠ QJ65 ♥ K ♦ KJ102 ♣ AQJ5 ♠ 98 ♥ Q9876 ♦ 765 ♣ 432 ♠ K10 ♥ AJ32 ♦ A943 ♣ 1098

West to lead and East-West to defeat South's contract of two no-trumps.

Successful solver:  Only Rajeswar Tewari submitted a correct solution.

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Solution

A.      If North wins and (best) leads a heart to West's K, West must now lead the K!

1.       If South ducks, West must lead another diamond to North's Q.  When South now finesses a heart, West must discard a spade--not a club, or South can exit with a small heart to rectify the count.  If South now exits on a club, West can win and return a diamond, retaining an entry in clubs to prevent that count rectification in hearts.  As a last-ditch effort, therefore, South cashes the remaining top heart, but now West can safely discard a club.

2.       If South takes the K with the A, the best try now is to exit in clubs.  West can afford to take two club tricks, but not the third, before leading the 2.  If South now makes two heart tricks, West safely discards a spade and a club.

B.      If North ducks the Q, West must now lead the 2!  North can win and lose a heart to West, but that player merely continues diamonds from the top and declarer has nowhere to run to.

Traps:

If, in A, West leads a low diamond instead of the K, North wins.  Declarer plays two rounds of hearts, finessing.  If West discards a diamond, South can set up a long diamond; otherwise West discards a club and a spade but is triple-squeezed when South exits on a third heart.

If, in A, West cashes a club before leading the K, South ducks.  If West now cashes two more clubs that player will eventually be squeezed in the pointed suits.  Better is an immediate diamond exit, but North leads a heart to the J on which West discards a spade.  Now South exits on a club and again West does better not to cash the last club, leading a diamond instead.  But South wins this and exits on a low heart to rectify the count.

If, in B, West leads the K at trick 2, South wins and cashes the A!  A club follows, North overtaking with the K if West ducks and leading the 5.  If East lets the J win this trick, West is squeezed in three suits.  If East instead wins it, the 10 and J will both score.  West fares no better by rising with the A and leading a diamond. Again North leads a low heart and the J squeezes West without the count.

If West starts with the A and continues the suit, North can either win (after which the play is interesting) or duck.  Say the K wins trick 2.  Then a heart is ducked and West tries the K as in A, but South ducks, wins the next diamond with the Q, takes the heart finesse and, when West discards a spade as in A.1, exits on a club, breaking the defenders' communications.

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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