Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problems 150
"Variations On a Theme"

composed by F.Y. Sing

In each of the following six problems South is to make five spades.  In each case declarer has just nine obvious tricks: five in spades, the A and K, the A and the A.  Each problem involves an elimination and throw-in on West followed by a red suit squeeze on East, but there are subtle variations in both the preparatory play and the ending.

Problem 150-1A

DR3

♠ AQJ

 AJ5

 5432

♣ Q32

♠ K9

 109

 KJ

♣ KJ109876

♠ 876

 Q876

 Q1098

♣ 54

♠ 105432

 K432

 A76

♣ A

South to make five spades. West leads the 6.
How does the play change if Southís A is exchanged with Northís 5?

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

Promotion: Congratulations to Zoran Sibinović on achieving the Master Problemist norm, with 207 D.D. Master Points.

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Solution to Problem 1A

Winning with the A, North is entered on a spade finesse at trick two for a diamond lead.  South wins with the A if and only if East rises with the Q.  Assuming West wins the first diamond and leads another, South wins with the A and crosses to North on a second trump to lead the J, covered by the Q and Southís K.  West is then thrown in on a heart.  The ending is now

♠ Q

 A

 43

♣ Q3

♠ none

 none

 none

♣ KJ10987

♠ 8

 87

 Q10

♣ 5

♠ 1054

 43

 7

♣ none

A.      If West leads a low club, North wins with the Q and South discards the diamond loser.  Now several orders of play allow the contract to be made by scoring the A, a ruff in South, a heart ruff with the Q, and Southís remaining two trumps.

B.       If West (better) leads the K, South ruffs and plays a spade to Northís Q.  Now the good Q catches East in a ruffing squeeze as South discards the 7.  A diamond discard lets South ruff a diamond and cross to the A to enjoy the diamond winner thus established, whereas a heart discard allows North to cash the A and enter South on a diamond ruff to enjoy the established heart winner.

If the A and 5 are exchanged, the avoidance play is needed against West instead of East.  Accordingly, South leads a diamond at trick two, North winning with the A if and only if West plays the J.  Assuming West wins with the K and leads another diamond, North wins with the A and leads the J, covered by the Q and Southís K.  After two rounds of spades, North finessing, West is thrown in on a heart and we have the same ending.

Problem 150-1B

DR7

♠ AQJ

 AJ5

 5432

♣ Q32

♠ K9

 109

 K

♣ KJ1098765

♠ 876

 Q876

 QJ1098

♣ 4

♠ 105432

 K432

 A76

♣ A

South to make five spades. West leads the K.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Eugeniusz Paprotny, Rajeswar Tewari.  Several solvers tried playing three rounds of trumps before attempting the throw-in on West, but West then discards the 9.  This observation also explains why a trump opening lead defeats the contract (exercise for the reader).  Tables

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Solution to Problem 1B

The K is allowed to hold.

A.      If West now leads a low club to Southís A, North wins three rounds of trumps, finessing.  Here is the ending as North leads the Q:

♠ Q

 AJ5

 543

♣ Q3

♠ none

 109

 none

♣ KJ109876

♠ 8

 Q876

 QJ109

♣ none

♠ 1054

 K432

 A7

♣ none

1.       If West discards a heart, North leads the 5.  East must play low, in which case so does South, putting West in with only clubs left to lead.  Whether West returns the K or a low one, Northís Q will score and declarer can engineer a squeeze on Eastís red suits.

2.       If West discards a club, North leads the J, covered by the Q and K and West is thrown in on a heart, North playing low.  A low club from West lets South discard a diamond on the Q, ruff a club and cash the remaining spade to catch East in a criss-cross squeeze.  If West instead leads the K, South ruffs, cashes the last rump and crosses to the A to score the Q, squeezing East.

A.      If West leads a heart at trick two, it is covered in turn by the J, Q, and K.  The A is cashed, followed by a trump finesse.  South ruffs a club, East safely discarding a diamond, and crosses to North on a second trump to lead the remaining club in this position:

♠ Q

 AJ5

 543

♣ Q

♠ none

 10

 none

♣ KJ10987

♠ 8

 876

 QJ10

♣ none

♠ 105

 432

 A7

♣ none

Whatever East plays on the Q, South will ruff or overruff and throw West in with a heart.

1.       If East ruffs or discards a second diamond, North discards a diamond on the club return and South ruffs or overruffs.  North is entered on the A to lead the last trump, squeezing East if that player still guards both red suits.

2.       If East discards a heart, North ruffs the club return and East does best to discard another heart, coming down to three diamonds and the 8.  South comes to hand on the A and plays the 10, on which North discards the A so that South can enjoy two heart winners.

Problem 150-1C

DR6

♠ AQJ

 A105

 5432

♣ 432

♠ K9

 J6

 K

♣ KJ1098765

♠ 876

 Q987

 QJ1098

♣ Q

♠ 105432

 K432

 A76

♣ A

South to make five spades against the lead of a heart.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Eugeniusz Paprotny, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden. (See Added later in line B.3 below.)  Tables

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Solution to Problem 1C

A.      If West leads the 6, North plays the 10, East the Q, and South the K.  Play follows Problem 1B, variation B.  When East comes down to the 8, three hearts, and three diamonds as South ruffs Northís last club, South exits to West on a low red card, say a diamond.  West can do no better than lead the remaining red card, which is allowed to hold.

B.      If West leads the J, North plays low and South wins with the K.  Play follows line A to the point where Northís last club is led in this position:

♠ Q

 A10

 5432

♣ 4

♠ none

 6

 K

♣ KJ10987

♠ 8

 Q98

 QJ109

♣ none

♠ 105

 432

 A76

♣ none

South ruffs or overruffs as necessary.

1.       If East discards a diamond, trumps can be drawn and that player thrown in on a diamond to lead a heart into Northís A10 tenace.

2.       If East discards a heart, declarer plays a heart to the A and throws West in on the K.  On the club return North ruffs and South discards a diamond.  After a heart to Eastís Q the South hand is high.

3.       If East ruffs and South overruffs, then declarer plays a heart to the A and throws West in on the K but this time Westís club return is allowed to hold, South discarding a diamond.  North discards a diamond and a heart, such that East is caught in a ruffing squeeze as South ruffs the next club at trick ten.  Added later: The solution given here assumes a diamond discard by North, but submissions from solvers show me that if North instead discards the 10 on West's club return, then East is squeezed without the count on that trick and South can ruff it (though discarding a diamond still works too).

Problem 150-2A

DR4

♠ A73

 A65

 A432

♣ Q32

♠ K8

 J10

 K7

♣ KJ109876

♠ 654

 Q987

 Q1098

♣ 54

♠ QJ1092

 K432

 J65

♣ A

South to make five spades.  West leads the 6.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Radu Mihai, Eugeniusz Paprotny, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden. Tables

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Solution to Problem 2A

Winning with the A, South leads the Q, followed by the J when the Q holds.  When West plays the K North wins with the A and leads a heart.  When East plays low (best), so does South.  The heart return is won by Southís K and West is thrown back in via a diamond to the A and another diamond (South having drawn Westís second trump if West covered the Q at trick two).  The ending is now

♠ 7

 A

 43

♣ Q3

♠ none

 none

 none

♣ KJ10987

♠ 6

 Q9

 Q10

♣ 5

♠ 1092

 43

 J

♣ none

and is isomorphic to that shown for Problem 1A.

Problem 150-2B

DR3

♠ AQJ

 AJ5

 A432

♣ Q32

♠ K109

 109

 K

♣ KJ109876

♠ 87

 Q876

 QJ1098

♣ 54

♠ 65432

 K432

 765

♣ A

South to make five spades. West leads the K.

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

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Solution to Problem 2B

The K is allowed to hold.  Assuming West switches to a low club, South wins and takes a trump finesse.  North leads the J, covered by the Q and K.  Trumps are drawn via another finesse and West is thrown in on a heart.  The ending, with West on lead, is now

♠ none

 A

 A43

♣ Q3

♠ none

 none

 none

♣ KJ10987

♠ none

 87

 QJ109

♣ none

♠ 65

 43

 76

♣ none

(assuming East to have discarded a club on the third spade).

A.      If West leads a low club, North wins as East and South throw diamonds.  Now declarer has the choice of A and club ruff, when the last spade squeezes East in normal fashion, or immediate club ruff to give a ruffing squeeze.

B.      If West leads the K, South ruffs and crosses to the A.  Now the good Q gives the ruffing squeeze.

Problem 150-2C

DR6

♠ A109

 AJ5

 A432

♣ A32

♠ 65

 109

 K

♣ KJ1098765

♠ J87

 Q876

 QJ1098

♣ Q

♠ KQ432

 K432

 765

♣ 4

South to make five spades.  West leads the 5.

Successful solvers:  Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Eugeniusz Paprotny, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden. Tables

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Problem 1A    Problem 1B Problem 1C    Problem 2A Problem 2B    Problem 2C
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Solution to Problem 2C

North wins and leads the 10, which wins as East does best to play low.  North plays a second club, South ruffing as East discards a diamond.  A diamond to the A is followed by a third club in this position:

A.      If East discards a diamond, then the play is similar to that shown for Problem 1C, variation B.1, a simple throw-in on East.

B.      If East ruffs, South overruffs and plays a spade to the A.  The J is covered by the Q and K and West is thrown in on a heart.  The situation is similar to that shown for Problem 1C, variation B.3, except that it is North who ruffs Westís second club lead to catch East in that ruffing squeeze.

C.      If East discards a heart, South must discard a diamond, letting West win.

1.       A trump return is won in hand.  A heart to the A is followed by the 5 ducked to West.  The club return allows North to ruff as South discards a diamond, leaving the South hand high.

2.       A heart return goes to the J, Q, and K.  South cashes a spade  and puts West in with a heart.  The situation is now as in Problem 1B, variation B.2.

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, 2017
Date last modified: 08 December, 2017