Puzzle 7F24 Main

# Lucky Sevens

by Richard Pavlicek

Somebody probably should have bid 3 NT; though odds against, it surely has better prospects than 5 on these tickets:

 J 3 2 West North East South None vul Q J 1 Pass 2 A K 7 2 Pass 3 Pass 3 Q 7 3 2 Pass 4 Pass 5 Pass Pass Pass Lead: 10 A K 7 7 3 2 J 8 5 South A J 9 8 6

West, who does not have the A, leads the 10. On the lucky card lie South can make 5 , but curiously, if any seven were switched with the six of the same suit, South could be defeated.

What are the East-West hands?

 Puzzle 7F24 Main Top Lucky Sevens

## Solution

At first glance it seems that none of the sevens can be significant, but let’s look closer. Consider the 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 7 and 6 were switched, this transfer would not be possible.

Now consider the diamond suit: North’s 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 7 and 6 to be significant, the former must be a key entry to dummy. This seems unlikely with the Q in dummy, so it must be necessary to spend the queen early in finessing — which suggests West may have the singleton 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 10-9-8.

Consider this construction:

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

The 10 is won by the king (optionally, declarer could cover in dummy). South leads the J, ducked (best defense to limit declarer’s entries to dummy) then a diamond is led to the king. The  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:

 win 4 3 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th Q 9. S 6! 9 7 4 A 7 10. N A 5 7 6 7 11. N Q A 3 10 8 5 4 Declarer succeeds 10 9 A 6 5 Q 6 — — — 7 7 3 — South leads 9 6

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

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

 Puzzle 7F24 Main Top Lucky Sevens