Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 180

composed by Steve Bloom
presented for solving in March 2020

There are two parts to this problem, A and B.

A.

DR6

♠ J32

 A107

 A5432

♣ Q10

♠ Q654

 Q9654

 7

♣ 432

♠ K98

 J32

 6

♣ K98765

♠ A107

K8

 KQJ1098

♣ AJ

How do East-West defeat South's contract of six diamonds?

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Successful solvers:  Ed Lawhon, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, Rajeswar Tewari, Xiao Tiannan.  Some solvers missed the correct play in Part B.

Solution to Part A.
(Click here for Part B.)

A passive lead is no good.  For example, suppose west leads the 7.  After four rounds of diamonds, North playing low, we have

♠ J32

 A107

 A

♣ Q10

♠ Q65

 Q96

 none

♣ 432

♠ K98

 J32

 none

♣ K98

♠ A107

K8

 98

♣ AJ

The next diamond brings pressure to bear on West.

1.       A spade discard allows South to take the club finesse and at some point lead a low spade from hand.  Whether West plays the 6 or the Q, declarer gets two spade tricks.

2.       A heart discard allows North to lead a spade to the 10 and Q.  South wins the major suit return and then the 9, North discard a spade or club, triple-squeezes East: a major suit discard is immediately fatal, whereas a club discard gives rise to a second squeeze when the club winners are taken.

3.       A club discard brings East under pressure:

(a)      On a spade discard North can lead any spade to set up a second trick in the suit.

(b)     On a heart discard declarer can win two club tricks, ending in either hand.  If North is on lead the J is covered by the K and South can either duck or win with the A, West becoming squeezed by the last diamond (possibly ruffing Eastís club winner) in either case.  If South is on lead a low spade to the J and K has the same effect.

(c)      On a club discard, two club tricks bring both defenders down to three cards in each major suit.  If necessary, South comes to hand on the K and then the last diamond, North discarding a spade, forces at lest one defender to discard a spade.  If it is West (or both), South then leads a low spade to guarantee two tricks in the suit; if it is East, North is entered on the A to lead the J.

To defeat the contract, West must lead the Q.  Declarerís best plan is to win and follow the above line.  West must not discard a club!  Contrariwise, East must discard nothing but clubs.  In fact, both defenders must keep three spades and two hearts in this ending.

♠ J32

 A10

 A

♣ Q10

♠ Q65

 96

 none

♣ 432

♠ K98

 J3

 none

♣ K98

♠ A107

8

 98

♣ AJ

On the next diamond West must throw a heart, East another club.

4.       If North now leads the 10, East plays low to deny North a re-entry in that suit.  There is no longer any play for the contract.

5.       If North tries the J, East plays low!  West returns a heart and North cannot now take both black suit finesses.

The minor changes in the second layout cause this defence to fail, as we shall now see.

B.

♠ J32

 A87

 A5432

♣ QJ

♠ Q654

 Q9654

 7

♣ 432

♠ K98

 J32

 6

♣ K98765

♠ A107

K10

 KQJ1098

♣ A10

Four cards have been swapped: the ♣J and ♣10 and the 8 and 10.
What happens to the six diamonds contract now?

Declarer and defenders play as in the first layout, leading to this position with North on lead:

♠ J32

 A8

 none

♣ QJ

♠ Q65

 9

 none

♣ 432

♠ K98

 J3

 none

♣ K9

♠ A107

10

 8

♣ A10

This time, when North leads the J East must cover.  South wins with the A and plays the last diamond.  West does best to discard a heart, East a club, but a heart to the A finally wrings a club from West and now the A and Q squeeze East.  Southís 7 threatens to win the last trick, via a spade to Westís Q, if East discards a spade.

Note that if West discards a club on the fifth diamond, keeping the 6 in place of the 2 in the above ending, then declarer plays as in variation 3(c) given for layout A.

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© Hugh Darwen, 2020
Date last modified: 02 August, 2020