Main     Puzzle 7F17 by Richard Pavlicek    

Oversold Overcall

Somewhere you read that bridge is a bidder’s game, and it appears to have gone to your head. Partner’s raise to 4 S is a thing of beauty compared to your lame overcall, but justice is served as you will have to play it. Evidently your reputation has preceded you, as East promptly doubles.

Problem
4 S× S K 9 8 4 3
H Q J 10
D 4
C J 10 5 4
N-S Vul

West
1 D
2 C


North
Pass
4 S


East
1 H
Dbl


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

At trick two, West shifts to his singleton heart, ducked by East. Nine tricks are easy simply by drawing trumps; but where is the 10th? The first thought is to negotiate some kind of crossruff, but East’s doubleton diamond leads to trouble. Another possibility is to endplay West — think again.

If you can overbid like this, you will have to overplay — like a magician — to bring this home. How can the contract be made?

Warning! This is a tough one.

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Solution

All routine attempts can be foiled by accurate defense. The only successful line begins in remarkable fashion: The S 9 (or 8) is led from dummy, East covers with the 10 (best) and South must win the ace. That’s right! No finesse. Ruff a diamond, win two hearts with the finesse, and exit with a low club from each hand. Assume West wins cheaply and exits with a low club, ruffed by South.

Solution
4 S× S K 9 8 4 3
H Q J 10
D 4
C J 10 5 4
Trick
1. W
2. W
3. N
4. S
5. N
6. N
7. S
8. W
W 6 L 2
Lead
D K
H 9
S 9!
D 6
H Q
H J
C 2
C 9
2nd
4
10
10
9
5
6
8
5
3rd
2
4
A!
S 3
3
A
4
K
4th
5
2
2
3
C 6
C 7
3
S 5
S 2
H 9
D A K J 10 9
C A Q 9 8 7 6
Table S Q 10 7
H K 8 7 6 5 4
D 3 2
C K 3
S A J 6 5
H A 3 2
D Q 8 7 6 5
C 2

From the ending at right, South ruffs a diamond with the S 8. East must overruff and return a trump (else declarer succeeds by a crossruff) on which South plays the jack and West is squeezed. If West discards a diamond, South can establish a diamond. If West discards a club, the S J is overtaken in dummy to establish a club. South
leads
S K 8 4
H
D
C J 10
S
H
D A J 10
C A Q
Table S Q 7
H K 8 7
D
C
S J 6
H
D Q 8 7
C

Variations: (1) If West covers the S 9 with the queen, the play is essentially the same. (2) If West ducks the S 9, South also ducks; win two hearts and ruff a diamond (order depends on if East covers heart); then a spade to jack forces West to part with a club (else diamonds can be set up); exit with a club — if East wins and returns a trump, win in North and lead a club and discard a diamond, forcing West to establish another trick for you. (3) If East wins the club exit and returns a heart, ruff low in dummy, ruff a club, ruff a diamond high, etc. (4) If East wins the club exit and returns a trump, draw trumps and lead the C J and pitch a diamond to endplay West.

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© 1993 Richard Pavlicek