Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 103b

composed by Barry Rigal, Stefan Ralescu, and Hugh Darwen
presented for solving in September, 2013

DR7

♠ 432

 Q8654

 987

♣ 76

♠ K765

 none

 J1032

♣ K10432

♠ J1098

 K973

 AK

♣ J98

♠ AQ

 AJ102

 Q654

♣ AQ5

West to lead and East-West to defeat Southís contract of two hearts.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Radu Mihai.  Steve Bloom asked me to add that he did have the slight advantage of having seen Barry Rigal's deal, sent privately by him to a small circle of correspondents, from which this problem originates.  This problem turned out to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.  I hadn't realised that the trap of cashing both diamonds before switching to a black suit would be so alluring.  Once you realise that doesn't work, of course, the solution is quite simple.

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Solution

With just four obvious tricks in diamonds and the black suits, the defence must manoeuvre to score two of Eastís trumps, or possibly a trump and a second spade trick.  On the other hand, declarer is looking at four trump tricks and the black aces, with the Q as an eventual seventh trick.  An eighth might come from a spade ruff but then the trump suit is blocked.  The situation does seem to favour the defence but care is needed, as we shall see, after Westís obvious opening lead of a low diamond.

On winning the first trick, East must return a spade.  It makes little difference how declarer plays now so we will assume for simplicity that the Q loses to the K.  West leads the other low diamond and this time East must switch to a lower club, West overtaking with the 10 when South plays low.  Now West leads a third diamond, on which East must discard a club.  Declarerís best try is to win with the Q, cash the black suit aces, then trump either a diamond or a club with the Q.  The position is now like this, with East still to play and defenders needing two more tricks:

♠ 4

 8654

 none

♣ none

♠ 76

 none

 none

♣ K43

♠ J10

 K973

 none

♣ none

♠ none

 AJ102

 none

♣ Q

East must resist the temptation to overruff, instead discarding a spade and then covering Northís trump lead.  When South wins and North ruffs the third club, East completes the defence by overruffing and leading a spade, forcing South to ruff and lead away from the AJ.

If South rises with the ace on the first round of either black suit, the play is essentially as above, as the best try is then to exit in the same suit, with the Q at trick three or the 5 at trick five.  In the first case we just have the above line with the A winning at a different point in the play.  In the second, West rises with the 10 and leads a diamond.

Traps:  

1. If East leads a club instead of a spade at trick two, declarer plays to give up a club trick, take the first spade with the A, and reach the North hand by ruffing a club low.  The position will then be like this, with North on lead and both sides having taken three tricks:

♠ 43

 Q865

 9

♣ none

♠ K76

 none

 J10

♣ 43

♠ J109

 K973

 none

♣ none

♠ Q

 AJ102

 Q6

♣ none

 

The lead of the Q allows three rounds of trumps to be taken and then South exits in spades.  Whether West leads a diamond or a spade, the Q, Southís remaining top heart and Northís 8 must somehow score two of the last three tricks.

2. If East cashes a second diamond at trick two and then leads a club, South can (for example) win with the A and play another club.  West wins and leads a diamond, won by South's Q as East discards a club.  Now a minor suit card is ruffed with the Q, then South takes a trump finesse and exits on a diamond.  West is endplayed either now, if East discards, or later if East ruffs and returns a spade, South playing A and Q.

3. If East cashes a second diamond at trick two and then leads a spade, South can (for example) win with the A and exit on the Q.  West wins and leads a diamond, won by South's Q as East discards a club, but South exits on the fourth diamond, North and East both discarding clubs.  The spade return is ruffed with the 2 and South plays the A and another club.  East can overruff North but then declarer takes the rest.

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, 2013

Date last modified: 28 March, 2017