Double Dummy Corner

 

Competition Problem 188

composed by Paolo Treossi 
presented for solving in November 2020

DR7

♠ A1085

 Q43

 8

♣ J10732

♠ Q72

 J2

 432

♣ A8654

♠ J6

 K1096

 AQJ109

♣ Q9

♠ K943

A875

 K765

♣ K

South is in four spades.  West leads the 4.
How does the play go on a diamond lead, assuming perfect play by each hand?

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Successful solvers:  Sebastian Nowacki, Rajeswar Tewari, Dave Wiltshire.  See the traps described below.

Solution

The contract fails!

East wins with the A and switches to the 6!  South plays low and North’s A captures the Q.  North tries a club to the K, but West ducks.   Declarer’s best shot now is to ruff a diamond and lead the Q.  This goes to the K and A, West dropping the J.  South now cashes the K on which North throws a heart, and ruffs the last diamond, but West discards the 2, leaving this with North on lead:

♠ 8

 4

 none

♣ J1073

♠ 72

 none

 none

♣ A865

♠ J

 1096

 Q

♣ Q

♠ K94

875

 none

♣ none

South can try ruffing a club with the 9 and playing the K, but West drops the 7 to avoid the throw-in which would give North two club tricks (and would also take place if West fails to unblock the J).

Traps:  

1.      If East continues diamonds at trick two, South wins with the K, North discarding a low heart.  The K is allowed to hold as before and declarer then cross-ruffs a diamond and a club.  On the next diamond West does best to discard a club, but in that case North throws a heart and East wins the trick.  East has an easy exit on the K, pinning North’s now bare Q, but declarer plays a cross-ruff, during which the trump intermediates protect the contract from any ruffs the defenders might inject.

2.      If East leads the ♠J at trick two, South wins with the ♠K, "cashes" the K, then uses a trump finesse and a diamond ruff (in either order) to ruff a club and discard a heart on the J.  West wins and returns the ♠Q but North then plays the 10 nd another club, squeezing East in the red suits.

3.      If West plays low on the trump return at trick two, North wins with the ♠8 and plays a club to the K, which holds as before.  Now, in some order, a diamond ruff, a club ruff and a trump to North's ♠A are followed by the J to West's A.  Now a heart return, covered by North, allows declarer to make the rest but one on a cross-ruff, cashing the minor suit winners en route, whereas a spade return squeezes East in the red suits, allowing declarer to either set up a heart trick or throw East in with K and another diamond.

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© Hugh Darwen, 2020
Date last modified: 11 January, 2021