Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 139a

composed by Stefan Ralescu
presented for solving in September 2016

DR6

♠ A8

 972

 32

♣ AK5432

♠ QJ42

 KQ8

 J10987

♣ 10

♠ 976

 1065

 K65

♣ 9876

♠ K1053

AJ43

 AQ4

♣ QJ

South to make six clubs against any defence.
How is the contract defeated if the ♠2 and ♠6 are interchanged?

Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Radu Mihai, A.V. Ramana Rao, F.Y. Sing, Wim van der Zijden  Tables

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Solution

Comment added after publication of the solution below: Line C. is not needed as South can alternatively play as in D., crossing to the A at trick four instead of playing the A and a diamond ruff.  After much agonising I have accepted solutions that specify this alternative and then say that either minor suit lead defeats the contract.  As Stefan Ralescu and I both overlooked that alternative, I don't think it's fair to expect solvers to find both lines in order to conclude, correctly, that a club lead is required to beat the contract.

A.      If West leads the Q, North wins the trick and leads a diamond.  South makes the Q, A, A, Q and J, then North ruffs a diamond.  The remaining clubs force West down to two spades and a heart winner, giving an easy throw-in for a spade into Southís tenace.

Note that the positions of the 6 and 2 have no bearing on this line.

B.      If West leads the K, South wins with the A and cashes the Q and J.  North is entered on the A to play A and K, South discarding hearts.  This is the position, with West still to discard:

♠ 8

 97

 32

♣ 54

♠ QJ4

 Q8

 J109

♣ none

♠ 97

 106

 K65

♣ none

♠ K105

J

 AQ4

♣ none

1.       If West discards a diamond, the plays goes a spade to the K, spade ruff, diamond finesse, spade ruff, squeezing East.  When East discards a heart, South makes the A and leads the J at trick twelve.  West has to let either the J or 9 win a trick.

The positions of the 6 and 2 have no bearing on this line either.

2.       If West discards a heart, North plays another club and South discards the J.  A spade or heart discard now makes life easy for declarer, so West discards a diamond.  A heart is conceded to Westís Q, South discarding a spade.  Whether West returns a diamond or a spade North will ruff the 10 to squeeze East in the red suits.

Once again, the positions of the 6 and 2 have no bearing on this line.

C.      If West leads a diamond, South wins two diamond tricks and the Q and J, then ruffs a diamond in North, who runs the clubs, South discarding two hearts and then watching Eastís discard on the last club.  If East discards a spade, South discards another heart, forcing West down to four spades and a heart.  The A, K and A leave North on play with 97 as equals against Eastís 106 for one of the last two tricks.  If East instead discards a heart on the last club, then South throws a spade and can set up Northís hearts by playing A and another.

The positions of the 6 and 2 are still insignificant.

D.      If West leads a club, after Southís J and Q North is entered on the A to continue clubs, South discarding hearts on the A and K.  West discards two diamonds and a heart.  This is the position, with North on lead:

♠ 8

 972

 32

♣ 54

♠ QJ4

 KQ

 J109

♣ none

♠ 97

 1065

 K65

♣ none

♠ K105

AJ

 AQ4

♣ none

North leads another club.  East must keep three hearts to prevent North from establishing a trick in the suit with a trump entry.

1.       If East discards a diamond, South throws the J and West is also forced to discard a heart.  South takes the diamond finesse and cashes the top cards in diamonds, hearts and spades.  A spade ruff in North leaves Northís 97 equals against Eastís 106 for one of the last two tricks.

The positions of the 6 and 2 are still insignificant.

2.       If East discards a spade, North plays the last club.  South discards a diamond and a heart on these two tricks, then wins two diamond tricks, finessing.  West must come down to three spades and one heart to prevent South from establishing a trick in spades with A as entry, but South then cashes the A and advances the 10 to pin Eastís 9.  On winning this trick West then has to lead into Southís K5.

At last we can see the importance of the positions of the 6 and 2.  It follows that when the 2 and 6 are interchanged, Westís opening lead must be a club.  Declarerís best chance is to follow the above play but West discards to the position shown but with the 6 in place of the 4.  East then discards the 7 on the next club, West a diamond.  Now South cannot establish a spade tenace over West.

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, 2016
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017