Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 98a

composed by Vincent Labbé
presented for solving in April 2013

 DR3 ♠ K654 ♥ AKQ8 ♦ AQ ♣ K43 ♠ AQ987 ♥ J765 ♦ K65 ♣ Q ♠ J ♥ 9432 ♦ 10987 ♣ 9865 ♠ 1032 ♥ 10 ♦ J432 ♣ AJ1072

What is West’s best lead against South’s six no-trumps and how is the contract made against that lead?

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Clint Fyke, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Radu Mihai, Daniël de Lind van Wijngaarden, Wim van der Zijden

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Solution

It’s the passive Q!  Any other lead merely helps declarer to achieve the following solution less precisely.

North plays the K and South overtakes with the A (!) to lead a low spade.  West must play low to avoid being subjected to an easy squeeze in spades and diamonds, so North wins with the K.  South comes to hand on a club to the 8 and 10 and leads the 10, covered by West and North.  North wins two more heart tricks, South discarding either two spades or a spade and a diamond, and then South plays the remaining clubs via a finesse of the 7.  West must keep two spades to prevent North from establishing the suit and so is forced to discard a diamond.  North wins two diamonds and at trick 12 East is thrown in on the 9 to provide a stepping-stone to South’s now good J.

On a low diamond lead the same ending can be reached by overtaking the K at trick 2, but now South can lead either a heart or a spade.  However, South’s discards on the hearts must now be a spade and a diamond, the spade being needed in case West keeps one spade and three diamonds at the end.

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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