Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 63

composed by Steve Bloom
presented for solving in May, 2010

 DR6 ♠ 5432 ♥ AJ102 ♦ 3 ♣ A432 ♠ AK ♥ 9875 ♦ AQ87654 ♣ none ♠ 6 ♥ KQ64 ♦ J109 ♣ QJ1098 ♠ QJ10987 ♥ 3 ♦ K2 ♣ K765

South to make three spades against any defence.

Successful solvers:  Mike Betts, Sebastian Nowacki, Rajeswar Tewari, Paolo Treossi.

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Solution

Declarer has eight tricks, including a diamond ruff, and it seems the ninth can only come from a ruff and discard from West or a club-heart squeeze against East.  Because East sits over the heart menace, that squeeze will have to be a so-called “inverted” squeeze, with the A as entry to the possible heart winner and the K as entry back to the possible club winner.  How such an ending can be arrived at is not immediately obvious.

West does best to cash the trump winners and lead a heart.

A.      If West leads the 5, North wins with the A (otherwise as cheaply as possible and returns a club) and leads the J, covered and ruffed.  A club to the K is followed by the 10, also covered and ruffed.  Now declarer exits on the 2.  Whatever East returns, the K comes as soon as possible.  If West still has a heart, North ruffs and throws West in with a heart; otherwise North discards a club.  In either case West’s forced diamond lead concedes the ruff and discard.

B.      If West leads the 9, North ducks!  As East cannot afford to overtake, the 9 wins and West leads another heart to North’s A.  Now it is important to keep East off the lead while the count is rectified for the squeeze, so South plays the K on North’s diamond lead.  A diamond ruff, a heart ruff, and the remaining trump winners bring about the aforementioned squeeze.

An opening heart lead is weaker defence because North has a choice of plays. If it is the 9, North can duck as in line B, and if it is the 5 North must win with the A.  But in either case North has the option to win with the A and continue with a heart ruff.  South exists on a spade.  West cashes the other top spade and leads a third heart, but South ruffs, cross to the A, ruffs the last heart, and exits on the 2.

Rajeswar Tewari comments: I guess it is only in double dummy problems that opponents will let us play in three spades when they are themselves making three no-trumps or five diamonds and at double dummy it takes a heart lead and ruff to defeat six diamonds J.  Hes right, of course!

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, 2010