Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 81

composed by Paolo Treossi
presented for solving in November, 2011

DR7

♠ 1085

 AJ4

 AJ5

♣ A1097

♠ 976

 10

 KQx4

♣ K8432

♠ KJ43

 Q765

 10x

♣ J65

♠ AQ2

 K9832

 9832

♣ Q

South to make six hearts against any defence.  The x’s are the 6 and 7.
Which of the following statements is true?

1.       South makes the contract regardless of how the x’s are placed. 
2.       South goes down regardless of how the x’s are placed.            
3.       South makes the contract only if West holds the 6.                 
4.       South makes the contract only if West holds the 7.                  

Describe the play with your chosen layout.

Successful solvers:  Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Wim van der Zijden, all of whom expressed appreciation for a fine composition.  I'm hoping to present more of this kind from time to time.  Suggested DRs ranged from 6 to 8

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Solution

Statement 3 is true.

Declarer has eleven tricks by establishing the minor suits for the loss of one diamond trick and the best chance of obtaining a twelfth is by a squeeze.  That will entail losing a diamond trick to rectify the count.  Note that West must play low on the first diamond to avoid giving declarer three tricks in the suit, but West must not be allowed to win the second round of diamonds before trumps are drawn.

West’s best lead is the 4, forcing North to win with the J.  North’s J is allowed to hold and is followed by the 4 to South’s 8.  South now advances the Q.  If West covers, North wins and leads the 10, South ruffing East’s J, and now there are sufficient entries to draw trumps and take the spade finesse, forcing West down to KQ and 84 so that that hand can be thrown in to lead into North’s 97.  Therefore West does not cover the Q.  The 3 comes next, with the intention of ducking in North to put East on play¾clearly West cannot afford to play an honour.  If that succeeds, then West will be triple-squeezed on the next round of hearts to North’s A.  A minor suit discard gives North or South an extra trick in that suit, so West discards a spade.  North’s 10 is covered by J and Q and South plays the K and 9 in the following position:

♠ 85

none

A

♣ A109

♠ 9                                                   ♠ K43

none                                              Q

KQ                                                none

♣ K84                                              ♣ J6

♠ A2

K9

98

♣ none

West and North discard clubs on the K, East a spade.  On the 9 West is squeezed.

A.      If West discards a club, North lets go a spade and then a diamond to the A squeezes East.

B.      If West discards a diamond, North makes the A and A and South comes back on a spade to score the long diamond.

C.      If West discards a spade, North lets go a club and now declarer gets a spade finesse against the K.

This play succeeds if West has the 6 but otherwise fails when East drops the 10 at trick one.  If South tries for a squeeze without the count, West discards a spade on the A and then, when South comes to hand on a spade finesse to draw the last trump, a club.

Vincent Labbé has suggested, and the composer has agreed to, a small change in the layout of the heart suit, exchanging South’s 3 with East’s 6 so that the deal, when West holds the 7, becomes

♠ 1085

AJ4

AJ5

♣ A1097

♠ 976                                               ♠ KJ43

10                                                 Q753

KQ74                                            106

♣ K8432                                          ♣ J65

♠ AQ2

K9862

9832

♣ Q

When North leads the J at trick 2, having won the opening lead with the J, East must now duck.  If instead East covers the J, declarer can win the Q, A, A discarding a spade, finesse the Q and give up a diamond.  The last diamond can then be ruffed with the A and East’s trumps picked up by finessing the 6.

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, 2011

Date last modified: 11 March, 2017