Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 149b

composed by Vincent Labbé
presented for solving in July 2017

 DR5 ♠ Q10 ♥ K3 ♦ A975432 ♣ Q6 ♠ K ♥ 9854 ♦ KQ ♣ KJ10987 ♠ A2 ♥ QJ10 ♦ J106 ♣ A5432 ♠ J9876543 ♥ A762 ♦ 8 ♣ none

South to make five spades against any defence.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Eugeniusz Paprotny, A.V. Ramana Rao, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden.

Suggested DRs ranged from 2 to 6 and most solvers found this one significantly more difficult than 149a.  A common mistake, of which I was also guilty (sorry!), was to assume a heart discard from East in line B.1, thus omitting B.1(c) which I have now added below.   Tables

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Solution

West must lead the K to prevent declarer from getting two heart ruffs for the contract.  North plays the Q.

A.      If the K holds, declarer will be able to set up North’s diamonds, using the A and K as entries, winning the first heart in hand if necessary.  Then North can be entered on a heart ruff to lead a winning diamond.

B.      If East (better) overtakes the K and leads the 2, South wins with the J and plays three more rounds of trumps, North discarding diamonds, West and East clubs.  The position is now:

 ♠ none ♥ K3 ♦ A975 ♣ Q6 ♠ none ♥ 9854 ♦ KQ ♣ KJ ♠ none ♥ QJ10 ♦ J106 ♣ A5 ♠ 543 ♥ A762 ♦ 8 ♣ none

South leads another spade to start the squeeze.  West must of course keep four hearts and East must keep three diamonds.  North discards the 5.

1.       If West discards a club, East must discard a heart.  On the penultimate spade West is squeezed again.  The hearts must still be kept and the K guards against a ruffing finesse with Q6 against A5, so West throws a diamond.  In that case North discards the 3 and now East is squeezed:

(a)      A heart discard lets declarer score North’s red suit winners, ruff a club, then lead the 6, leaving A7 over West’s 95 when West takes it.

(b)     A club discard lets North establish a club trick.

(c)     A diamond discard lets South play a diamond to the A, ruff a diamond, cross to the K, cash the good diamond, then exit on a club.  Whichever defender wins this, at trick thirteen either South makes the A or North makes a club trick.

2.       If West discards a diamond, East again throws a heart.  On the next spade, if West discards a club we have the position as in B.1, but if West instead discards another diamond, North throws a club and so does East.  Now South can score the top hearts and club ruff, then overtake the 8 with the 9 to endplay East in diamonds, with A7 over East’s J6 when East takes the trick.

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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