Puzzle 7F24   Main


Lucky Sevens


  by Richard Pavlicek

Somebody probably should have bid 3 NT — though no bargain, it surely has a better chance than this contract.

5 C South
None Vul
S J 3 2
H Q J
D A K 7 2
C Q 7 3 2
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
NORTH
1 D
3 C
4 C
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
3 S
5 C
S  ?
H  ?
D  ?
C  ?
TableS  ?
H  ?
D  ?
C  ?
Lead: S 10 S A K 7
H 7 3 2
D J 8
C A J 9 8 6

Against 5 C West leads the S 10 and South can make his contract. Curiously, if any seven were switched with the six (of the same suit), South could be defeated. What are the exact East-West hands?

Oh, yes, I have to tell you that East has the H A.

Solution

At first glance it seems that none of the sevens can be significant, but let’s look closer. Consider the S 7. For it to be significant, a probable layout is that East holds the protected queen and the six-spot, which allows declarer to transfer the sole spade guard to West by covering the 10 with the jack (or by leading the jack later). If the S 7 and S 6 were switched, this transfer would not be possible.

Now consider the diamond suit: North’s D 7 would be a natural trick if East held 10-9 doubleton (South runs the jack) so this may be the diamond layout.

For the relationship of the C 7 and C 6 to be significant, the former must be a key entry to dummy. This seems unlikely with the C Q in dummy, so it must be necessary to spend the queen early in finessing — which suggests West may have the singleton C 10.

But what about the heart seven? This is the most difficult to imagine, but it might come into significance in a bizarre squeeze scenario if one player held H 10-9-8.

Consider this construction:

5 C South S J 3 2
H Q J
D A K 7 2
C Q 7 3 2
Trick
1 W
2 S
3 S
4 N
5 N
6 S
7 S
8 W
Lead
S 10
D J
D 8
C Q
C 2
C A
H 2
S 9
2nd
2
3
4
4
5
D 5
K
J!
3rd
6
2
K
8
J
3
J
Q
4th
K
9
10
10
H 8
K
4
A
W-L
W1
W2
W3
W4
W5
W6
L1
W7
S 10 9 8
H K 10 9 8
D Q 6 5 4 3
C 10
Table S Q 6 5 4
H A 6 5 4
D 10 9
C K 5 4



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

The S 10 is won by the king (optionally, declarer could cover in dummy). South leads the D J, ducked (best defense to limit declarer’s entries to dummy) then a diamond is led to the king. The C Q is led (East ducks and South unblocks the eight), then trumps are drawn with another finesse. South leads a heart, which West must win to continue spades; jack, queen, ace. This leaves the following ending:

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



South leads
S 7
H 7 3
D
C 9 6

On the C 6 West is squeezed in three suits. Note the power of the H 7! If West lets go another heart, the H 7 can be established by force after South discards his spade loser on the D A.

Observe that this squeeze would not work if East held the H 7 (and South the H 6), nor if East held the S 7 (and South the S 6). If the D 7 were switched with the D 6, West could defeat the contract simply by cover the D J. And don’t forget that C 7 entry to dummy.

Puzzle 7F24   MainTop   Lucky Sevens

© 1994 Richard Pavlicek