Puzzle 7F12 Main

# Capture the Queen

by Richard Pavlicek

The bidding may make you nauseous, but suppose you’re declarer in this optimistic slam. Obviously your only problem is the trump suit, which appears to contain two inescapable losers.

 South deals A K 5 4 West North East South E-W vul K 2 3 A 5 4 3 Pass 6 Pass Pass A 3 2 Pass J 10 9 8 7 6 Q 4 3 A Q J 10 9 K 8 7 6 J 10 9 Q 8 7 6 5 Q 3 2 J 10 9 8 7 6 5 Lead: Q 2 6 South K 4

It would be sweet if West would “cover an honor with an honor” when you lead the J, but you know he will play low.

 Puzzle 7F12 Main Top Capture the Queen

## Solution

The key is not to lead trumps until you eliminate all the side suits. Win the A and ruff a diamond; cross to the A and ruff another diamond; cross to the K and ruff the last diamond. Next play the K, A, and ruff a club.

 6 South A K 5 4 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th K 2 1. W Q A 6 2 A 5 4 3 2. N 3 K 5 9 A 3 2 3. S 2 9 A 6 J 10 9 8 7 6 4. N 4 7 6 10 Q 4 3 A 5. S 3 10 K 7 Q J 10 9 K 8 7 6 6. N 5 8 7 J J 10 9 Q 8 7 6 5 7. S K 9 2 5 Q 3 2 8. S 4 10 A 6 J 10 9 8 7 6 5 9. N 3 7 8 J 2 continued below… K 4

This leaves the following ending:

 win 3 5 4 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th K 2 10. S Q J 4 8 — 11. S J 3 2 A — 12. E 8 9 ? J 8 Declarer succeeds Q 4 3 A — — — 8 7 Q J 10 9 — South leads —

Next cash the Q and lead the J (West does not cover) to East’s ace. The forced club return allows you to ruff with the 9 and capture West’s queen no matter what he does — a rare technique called a “smother play.” If West overruffs, you overruff with dummy’s king; if West underruffs, you pitch the spade.