Double Dummy Corner


Competition Problem 177a

composed by F. Y. Sing  
presented for solving in
December 2019


♠ A54



♣ 543

♠ Q



♣ QJ10987

♠ K763



♣ 6

♠ J10982



♣ AK2

South to make three spades.  West leads the K or the ♣Q.

Successful solvers:  Franco Baseggio, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Abby Chiu, Ed Lawhon, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, Rajeswar Tewari.  Suggested DRs ranged from4 to 6-7, averaging at exactly 5.

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On a whim I have used tabular form for a change in the solution that follows.  Comments are welcome.

Declarer aims to force a heart lead from East into North’s Q9 major tenace, squeezing West in the minor suits.  To this end, South must be able to lose the fourth round of trumps to East after the K has been ruffed out and East’s minor suits have been eliminated.  Here’s how to play on the K lead, assuming best defence:

A.  1.   K-5-10-2!

2.   Q-4!-6-8!    West does best to lead a spade

3.   8-6-J-A

4.   A-10-2-4

5.   9!-7-5!-K

6.   6-K-8-3

7.   10!-9-A-7

8.   3-5-J-K

9.   2-10-4-3

10  6-3-9-9

11. Q-7-4-?        West is squeezed

If West leads a club at trick three, then the play is the same except that trick six will be a diamond to South’s K.

If West switches a minor suit at trick two, then declarer has several options and needs to lose only two trump tricks, but the play becomes quite precise if West starts with the Q:

B.  1.   Q-3-C6-K

2.   A-10-2-4

3.   2!-Q-5-10

4.   K-6-J-A      or West could lead a club—see line C.

5.   8-Q-A!-6     this time North must win the first spade.

6.   3-5-9-K

7.   10-♣7-4-7

Now South can play any card except a black suit two.  An alternative possibility is for East to ruff the second club:

C.  1.   Q-3-C6-K

2.   A-10-2-4

3.   2!-Q-5-10

4.   7-4-6-2

5.   7-2-Q-A      but better is to return the 3—see line D.

6.   3-5-8-K

7.   A!-8-6-J

8.   A-8-5-6     if East ruffs with the K North will get a diamond ruff

9.   3-9-7-7

10. K-4-?              East can make only the K

D.  5.   3-8!-Q-A     first four tricks as in C.

6.   3-5-9-K

7.   A!-8-6-J

8.   A-8-5-6     or South can lead the J immediately

9.   J-9-4-K

10. 7-2!-10-5    North’s hearts plus the 10 take the rest

The problem was inspired by the following deal that F.Y. Sing saw in a Chinese bridge book, Ni Hui Zuo Ma (Could You Make It?), published in 2000:

♠ AJ5



♣ 986

♠ Q                                                   ♠ K743

K10                                              J87642

QJ103                                           72

♣ J107543                                       ♣ K

♠ 109862



♣ AQ2

South to make four spades.  West leads the Q.

Although the solution given in the book showed declarer losing three spade tricks, this is not in fact necessary and the play is rather imprecise.  Lowering the contract is a common composing technique to avoid dual solutions.

I employed a somewhat similar idea in Problem 195, composed in 1971.

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, 2019
Date last modified: 18 May, 2020