Double Dummy Corner


Competition Problem 129b

composed by Steve Bloom
(presented for solving in November, 2015)


♠ 109



♣ 10654

♠ J54



♣ 98

♠ Q872



♣ AJ32

♠ AK63



♣ KQ7

South to make two no-trumps.  West leads the Q.

Successful solvers:  Sorry.  This was expected to be easier but most solvers assumed a spade return at trick two.  Congratulations, therefore, to the only successful solver, Zoran Sibinović.     Tables

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Thanks to the pressure brought about on Eastís discards by Northís K, declarer has an easy ride unless East switches to a low heart at trick 2.  South wins with the J and must immediately lead the 3!  West rises with the J to lead a second heart.

A.      If East has parted with the 2, North plays low, as does East.  If West now leads

1.       a diamond to Northís K, East safely parts with a club but North leads the 10 to pin Westís 98.  After three club tricks and two taken by Southís top spades, East is thrown in on the last spade to concede two heart tricks to Northís AQ.

2.       a spade, South wins and can lead either a diamond or high club, then a diamond if it wins.  Thereafter the play follows line 1.

B.      If East has retained the 2, North wins with the A and leads the 10, covered by East and South (who now has a tenace over Eastís 82).  A diamond to Northís K follows and declarer takes note of Eastís discard.

1.       If it is a club, then Northís 10 lead now ensures two tricks in that suit.  Eastís A wins this or the next trick and the third club is Eastís only immediately safe exit, but Southís A and 6 finally force East to lead away from the K10.

2.       If it is the 10, then East is immediately thrown in on a heart.  If East now returns a spade, South can win two spade tricks, North throwing the two good hearts (!) and then play clubs from the top, losing just two club tricks.  A low club return gives declarer an overtrick with the 10 and two hearts but note carefully that if East cashes the A, South must drop an honour under it!


1.      In line B, if North cashes the K at trick 5 instead of leading the 10, East discards the 10!  The play in B.2 now fails when East returns the Q.  South wins and tries two more rounds of spades, but to keep a heart winner North has to discard a club on one of these, allowing East to win the third and exit on the J!

2.      If South leads a high club at trick 3, it is allowed to win.  Southís spade exit is now too late, as East plays a middle one under Westís J and West exits in hearts.  If North plays low, a spade comes next.  South can aim for the throw-in but it fails when East hangs on to the 2.  Alternatively, if North rises with the A, then line B fails when East again discards the 10 on the Kóand if South tries the throw-in without first cashing the K, then East can take the fourth spade and exit safely in clubs.

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, 2015
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017