Main     Puzzle 7F19 by Richard Pavlicek    

Take Me To Your Leader!

North’s raise to 5 C is justified, but South’s final bid seems to be from outer space. The wild stab at 7 C appears destined to fail. Even assuming declarer drops West’s singleton C K, there are only 12 tricks. A diamond loser seems inevitable.

But wait! If West leads a low spade, he gives declarer an extra trick. The same is true of a low heart or a low diamond. Further, declarer might be able to develop a squeeze if West finds a safe lead.

Problem
7 C S J
H Q
D K 10 6 4
C Q J 10 9 8 7 6
None Vul

West

1 S
All Pass


North

5 C


East

Pass


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

Against this extraterrestrial contract I say, “Take me to your leader!” What is the only card in West’s hand that will defeat 7 C against any play by declarer?

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Solution

First let’s see how declarer is able to make his contract on a squeeze. Suppose West leads the C K (declarer will drop it anyway). Win the C A and lead two more rounds of trumps (optional). Lead the H Q to the ace and ruff a heart; lead the S J to the ace, cash the S K and ruff another heart.

Solution
7 C S J
H Q
D K 10 6 4
C Q J 10 9 8 7 6
Trick
1. W
2. S
3. N
4. N
5. S
6. N
7. S
8. S
W 8 L 0
Lead
C K?
C 4
C J
H Q
H 4
S J
S K
H 5
2nd
6
S 2
H 2
3
10
3
8
K
3rd
2
Q
5
A
C 7
A
D 4
C 8
4th
A
3
S 4
6
7
6
7
9
S Q 9 8 6 4 2
H K 10 6
D Q 9 2
C K
Table S 10 7 3
H J 9 7 3 2
D J 7 3
C 3 2
S A K 5
H A 8 5 4
D A 8 5
C A 5 4

From the ending at right the C 10 is led, and East is under pressure. A heart discard loses immediately, so assume East lets go his spade; South throws a diamond, and West throws a spade. Now the C 9 effects a double squeeze: East must pitch a diamond; South throws his now useless heart, then West is squeezed. Variation: If East keeps the S 10 and lets go a diamond, the next club squeezes him again. If he throws a spade, West is squeezed in spades and diamonds; if he throws another diamond, the D A drops his jack and West can be finessed. North
leads
S
H
D K 10 6
C 10 9
S Q 9
H
D Q 9 2
C
Table S 10
H J
D J 7 3
C
S 5
H 8
D A 8 5
C

The only way to break up the squeeze position is for West to lead a diamond. But which one? A low diamond is disastrous — dummy plays low and declarer can pick up the entire suit. What about the D Q? No, declarer can win the king in dummy, ruff hearts twice as before, then squeeze East in the red suits.

The only lead to defeat 7 C is the diamond nine. This delicately holds the diamond position, and declarer cannot benefit. Try it.

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© 1994 Richard Pavlicek