Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 69

composed by Steve Bloom
presented for solving in November, 2010

DR4

♠ KQ2

 632

 AK32

♣ A104

♠ A107

 Q987

 765

♣ KQJ

♠ 3

 AJ

 QJ1098

♣ 98765

♠ J98654

 K1054

 4

♣ 32

South to make four spades.  West leads the K.
How is the contract defeated on the same lead if the 7 and 8 are swapped?

Successful solvers:  Leigh Matheson, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden

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Solution

North wins and cashes the top diamonds, South discarding a club.  South ruffs a club and exits on a low heart!

A.      If East wins with the J and leads a minor suit, South ruffs and leads a trump.  If West ducks, North wins and gives South a ruff in the other minor suit.  A heart is now lost to East and South ruffs the return with the J.  West can make no more than the A.  So West rises with the A and crosses to East with a heart for another diamond lead, but South ruffs with the J to catch West in a peculiar kind of squeeze in this position:

♠ KQ

 6

 3

♣ 10

♠ 107

 Q9

 none

♣ Q

♠ none

 none

 QJ

♣ 987

♠ J98

 K10

 none

♣ none

If West underruffs, the major suit kings and a cross-ruff take the rest.  If West discards a club, North draws trumps and scores the 10; and if West discards a heart, South has the choice of ruffing the losing club or discarding it on the good 10.

B.      If East wins with the A (!) in order to return the suit, South wins with the K and exits on a third heart.  Noting East 3 over North’s 2, West tries the effect of a fourth heart, but North ruffs high and South comes to hand on a minor suit ruff to advance the 9.  West can make only the A.

Trap:

If South leads a trump instead of a low heart at trick 5, West rises with the A and leads another diamond, which South ruffs to give this position:

♠ KQ

 632

 3

♣ 10

♠ 107

 Q987

 none

♣ Q

♠ none

 AJ

 QJ

♣ 987

♠ J98

 K1054

 none

♣ none

If South now leads a heart, East wins with the J and leads a fourth diamond.  South ruffs with the J but West discards the Q! 

If South instead crosses to North on a trump for a heart lead towards the K, East takes care to discard a club, not a diamond.  Now if East is allowed to get in twice on hearts, repeated diamond leads eventually promote West’s 10.  [Note that if East discards a diamond instead of a club, North must lead a heart.  East does best to win with the J (not the A) and lead a diamond, which South ruffs high.  If West now discards the Q, the last trump is drawn and North leads a heart to East, who has to give a trick to the 10.  If West instead discards a heart, South exits on a low heart to the A, ruffs the club return, and cashes the K.  North’s remaining trump takes the last trick.]

This trap obviously applies equally well when the 7 and 8 are swapped.  Additionally, line B now fails when West covers the 9, so East must win the first heart with the A, not the J!

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

Date last modified: 11 March, 2017