Puzzle 7F23   Main


Duck Soup


  by Richard Pavlicek

After your routine 1 NT opening, West makes a jump overcall — showing a good hand in the enemy methods — and partner takes a wild stab at 3 NT. This provokes West into a greedy double, and everyone stands their ground. The rest is on your shoulders. Can you wrap the double around his neck?

3 NT× South
E-W Vul
S 4 3 2
H 3 2
D K Q J 10 2
C 9 8 3
West

3 H
Dbl
North

3 NT
All Pass
East

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

East makes the informative discard of the S K, so West next cashes the S A (else you would have an easy endplay) and exits safely with a diamond. Looking at all four hands, how do you make 3 NT?

Hint: Look for the bizarre!

Solution

Eight tricks are easy, and your thoughts focus on the club suit. You cannot develop an extra club trick on your own, but East might be caught in a squeeze or endplay since he must protect both black suits.

Suppose you win the D K and lead the C 9; 10, ace. As you run diamonds, East must discard two spades, then you can endplay him by exiting with a spade. Right? Wrong! East will cash his other spade and exit with the C J to block the club suit. This is a dead end.

3 NT× South S 4 3 2
H 3 2
D K Q J 10 2
C 9 8 3
Trick
1 W
2 W
3 W
4 S
5 S
Lead
H K
S A
D 8
C A
C K
2nd
2
2
10
6
7
3rd
S K
8
4
3
8
4th
8
5
A
4
5
W-L
L1
L2
W1
W2
W3
S A
H A K J 9 7 6 5 4
D 8 7
C 7 6
Table S K Q J 10 9 8
H
D 6 5 4
C J 10 5 4



Lead: H K
S 7 6 5
H Q 10 8
D A 9 3
C A K Q 2

The solution requires a bizarre trade-off to rectify the count. On West’s diamond shift, play the 10 from dummy and overtake with your ace. Next cash two top clubs to remove West’s safe exit cards.

Now for the really bizarre:

NT win 6
Success
S 4 3
H 3
D Q J 10 2
C 9
Trick
6 S
7 W
8 W
9 S
10 N
11 N
Lead
D 3
H A
H 4
D 9
D J
D 10
2nd
7
3
S 3
H 5
S J
?
3rd
2!
D 6
S 9
Q
S 6
4th
5
10
Q
S 10
H 6
W-L
L1
L2
W1
W2
W3
S
H A J 9 7 6 5 4
D 7
C
Table S Q J 10 9
H
D 6 5
C J 10



South leads
S 7 6
H Q 10
D 9 3
C Q 2
East is squeezed

Lead the D 3 and duck in dummy, forcing West to win the trick. (Be sure to add this technique to your arsenal, as it comes up once every 99 years.) West must return the gift with a heart back, so it’s an even trade; but the timing is now in your favor. Assuming West cashes the H A, East will be caught in a traditional club-spade squeeze as the remaining diamonds are cashed.

Variation: If West returns a low heart without cashing the ace, East is then ripe for a delayed-duck squeeze. Declarer can establish a spade trick after East is forced down to one spade to protect clubs.

Puzzle 7F23   MainTop   Duck Soup

© 1995 Richard Pavlicek