Puzzle 7F29   Main

# A Ditch in Time

by Richard Pavlicek

North-South have shown little respect for point count in the bidding, and their brash contract is likely to make. Your job as East-West is to teach them a lesson. How can 3 NT be defeated against best play by declarer?

 3 NT SouthNone Vul 3 2 K 10 9 8 7 K 8 7 6 K J West1 Pass North2 3 NT EastPassAll Pass SOUTH1 2 NT Q 9 8 7 6 5 A Q 6 5 A 10 10 10 J 2 J 9 2 A 8 7 6 5 4 3 Lead: ? A K J 4 4 3 Q 5 4 3 Q 9 2

Clearly, a spade lead is disastrous — declarer gets three spades, three diamonds (by first leading low through West), two clubs and a heart with routine play. And after a passive lead, West must be careful not to get endplayed.

Take it from there.

## Solution

The only successful lead is the 10, but even then declarer can succeed with routine defense. If East ducks the first club, South wins a spade and leads a diamond, which West wins and exits with a diamond. North wins the K; South the Q; then a heart to the king and another heart put the defenders at bay.

 3 NT South 3 2 K 10 9 8 7 K 8 7 6 K J Trick1 W2 E3 N4 S5 N Lead 10! 3 6 3 7 2ndK9J! 59 3rdA A!QK4 4th2J102 6 W-LL1W1W2W3L2 Q 9 8 7 6 5 A Q 6 5 A 10 10 10 J 2 J 9 2 A 8 7 6 5 4 3 Lead: 10 A K J 4 4 3 Q 5 4 3 Q 9 2

Suppose East wins the A and returns a club. The only way for East to establish his suit and avoid pressure on West requires some fancy footwork. On the second club West must ditch the A! Assume declarer wins in dummy and leads a low diamond; East plays the jack (else South ducks to West) and South wins the Q. North wins the K, then a third diamond goes to East to reach this position:

 NT win 6Failure 3 2 K 10 9 8 7 8 — Trick6 E7 S Lead 4 5 2ndQ A! 3rd Q! 7 4th 8 5 W-LW1W2 Q 9 8 7 A Q 6 5 — — 10 J 2 — 8 7 6 5 4 East leads A K J 4 4 3 5 Q

East must return a club. West cannot part with a spade, else South will lead the J; nor one of his two low hearts, else South will lead a heart and duck if West plays the Q, eventually endplaying West. Therefore, West ditches the Q. When South next leads his last diamond, West completes the spectacle by ditching the A to leave declarer helpless — and no doubt speechless.

Well, there you have it, folks: A ditch in time saves nine. Isn’t that how you would defend at the table?

 Puzzle 7F29   Main Top   A Ditch in Time