Double Dummy Corner

Competition Problem 167a

composed by Stefan Ralescu
presented for solving in
February 2019

 DR5 ♠ AQ732 ♥ KJ43 ♦ KJ3 ♣ K ♠ K109 ♥ Q102 ♦ Q102 ♣ AQ102 ♠ 8654 ♥ 765 ♦ 7654 ♣ 54 ♠ J ♥ A98 ♦ A98 ♣ J98763

West leads to Souths four no-trumps.  East-West to defeat the contract.

Successful solvers:  Steve Bloom, Ed Lawhon, Steve McVea, Andrew Prothero, Sebastian Nowacki, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt, Wim van der Zijden.  Suggested DRs ranged from 4 to 6, averaging at 4.8.

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Solution

West must cash the A and then switch to the 10!  Declarer’s best try is to win with the J and then use the red suit entries to hand in order to take the major suit finesses, West covering the J when it is led.  This is then the position with North on lead:

 ♠ Q732 ♥ 4 ♦ K ♣ none ♠ 109 ♥ none ♦ Q ♣ Q102 ♠ 865 ♥ none ♦ 76 ♣ 5 ♠ none ♥ none ♦ 9 ♣ J9873

North tries the 4, on which East must throw the 5 and West a spade!  North can cash the K and throw West in with a spade but that player merely exits on a low club to win the last two tricks.

Trap:  If West exits on another card at trick two—say the K—then declarer can play three rounds of hearts immediately.  This is the position with North on lead:

 ♠ Q732 ♥ 4 ♦ KJ3 ♣ none ♠ 109 ♥ none ♦ Q102 ♣ Q102 ♠ 865 ♥ none ♦ 7654 ♣ 5 ♠ none ♥ none ♦ A98 ♣ J9873

A.      If East discards a diamond, then so does West and three rounds of diamonds follow.  If West now discards

1.       a club, then North plays the Q and another spade to throw West in for a club lead.

2.       a spade, then North exits on a low spade.  West exits on the 2 but it will not have escaped the reader’s notice that South still has the 3, so East wins with the 5 and has to lead into North’s spade tenace.

B.      If East discards a spade or the 5, then North can exit with a low spade.  Defenders can score either the Q or a second spade trick, but not both.

An additional line arises if West leads the Q instead of the 10 at trick two.  Declarer takes the spade finesses and four rounds of hearts in some order.  To avoid lines A. and B. East must discard the 5. Now South must discard a club, West a spade.  In that case North can simply establish a long spade, losing two trick to East and having the K and J for entries.

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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