Puzzle 7E79   Main


Major Fantasy


  by Richard Pavlicek

As South, you reach slam quickly after a spirited auction:

6 H SouthS K Q J 10 9
H 7 6 5 4 3 2
D A K
C
Both VulWest

?1
Pass
North

6 H
East

Pass
SOUTH
1 H
Pass
S  ?
H  ?
D  ?
C  ?
Table S  ?
H  ?
D  ?
C  ?



S 7 6 5 4 3 2
H A K Q J 10 9
D
C A

1. West bid something (hidden for now)

Alas, down one.

North is quick to criticize, “Why didn’t you open one spade? With two six-card suits, bidding the higher is routine; then we’d get to six spades.”

“You’re just playing results,” South argued. “Surely, suit quality counts for something, and opening one heart stands out a mile.”

Down one stands out a mile too,” countered North.

“If it would make you feel any better,” quipped South, “Six spades would also be down one.”

Interesting! Assuming the dialog is correct:

What are the exact East-West hands?

Puzzle 7E79   MainTop   Major Fantasy

Solution

It is easy to construct layouts where one of the slams fails. For example, 6 H can be defeated if West holds S A-8 and East holds the H 8; but then 6 S would be a simple make. Similarly, 6 S can be defeated if West has the H 8 and East has the S 8; but then 6 H would be ice-cold.

Only one layout allows both slams to be defeated:

6 H SouthS K Q J 10 9
H 7 6 5 4 3 2
D A K
C
Both VulWest

6 C
Pass
North

6 H
East

Pass
SOUTH
1 H
Pass
S 8
H
D
C K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Table S A
H 8
D Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
C



Lead: C K
S 7 6 5 4 3 2
H A K Q J 10 9
D
C A

Against either slam, West leads a club for East to ruff (or overruff dummy); then in spades, West scores the S 8 on any return.

“Oh well,” lamented South. “It was a good save, as West was cold for six clubs.”

“Why save?” North nagged. “With a club stopper, all you had to do was bid six notrump and we’d be plus a bundle.”

“Good point,” said South. “And if I tied you up with a stopper in your mouth, I’d have a bigger bundle.”

Puzzle 7E79   MainTop   Major Fantasy

© 1980 Richard Pavlicek