Double Dummy Corner


Competition Problem 90

composed by Steve Bloom
presented for solving in August, 2012


♠ J



♣ 7432

♠ A10



♣ KJ1096

♠ Q976543



♣ 8

♠ K82



♣ AQ5

(a) South to make six hearts against any defence.
(b) What happens if the 8s and 9s are swapped in both spades and clubs?

Successful solvers:  Jean-Marc Bihl, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, and Wim van der Zijden gave complete solutions to both parts. I'm awarding 3 points to Fred Kreek and Dick Yuen, who gave correct solutions to part (a).

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A.      If West leads a trump, North wins.  Three rounds of diamonds follow: K, A, J covered and ruffed.  South comes to hand on the A and throws North’s spade on the good 9.  North ruffs a spade and South comes to hand on a third trump.  West discards the A (or plays it on the first round) to avoid the obvious throw-in, so South cashes the K and North ruffs the remaining spade.  This brings North, South, and West down to three clubs each with North leading one.  If West has discarded the 6, South plays the 5 and wins the last two; otherwise South plays the Q and either that or North’s 7 must win a trick.

B.      A diamond lead is apparently into the jaws of a tenace but it doesn’t really concede anything as declarer always makes three tricks in the suit anyway.  In fact, North must win it with the K, and now the play transposes to line A.  Note that if South lets the diamond run to the J, it is no longer possible to eliminate West’s diamonds as well as ruffing a spade.

C.      So, as the K is going to win a trick anyway, West might as well start with A and another spade.  In that case, North discards a club and South wins with the K.  This time the first diamond lead must be the J from South, though this can come at any time during or immediately after the playing of three rounds of trumps, inevitably ending in South.  West does best to allow the J to hold, thus blocking the suit, but North ruffs a spade and plays the remaining trumps, South discarding clubs, to catch West in a deep criss-cross squeeze.  On a diamond discard North cashes the K and South makes the rest; on a club discard South makes the A and North’s K and two master clubs take the rest.

When the black suit eights and nines are swapped, the “one suit squeeze” of line A fails because West now has two clubs lower than East’s singleton and can safely discard one of them on the K.  However, after the discard of the A South’s K9 constitute a tenace, so South can exit on a low club to endplay whichever defender wins the trick.  And if West rises with the A on the first round of that suit, then South can come to hand on the A and play K and another spade to obtain a ruff-and-discard from East.

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, 2012

Date last modified: 03 June, 2019