Puzzle 7F39 Main

# Unblock Buster

by Richard Pavlicek

Partner’s 6 bid was right on the money — but no-o-o-o. You had to be a matchpoint pig and correct to 6 NT. One thing’s for sure: You will never hear the end of this if you go down. Either make 6 NT against any defense, or incur partner’s wrath forever.

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

West leads the K, which enables 11 easy tricks: two spades, three hearts, two diamonds and four clubs. The lucky diamond lie will provide another — actually three more if you could use them — if you could reach your hand twice to finesse, but that’s the problem. You have only one entry with the K, so somehow you must elicit the opponents’ help.

How can 6 NT be made?

 Puzzle 7F39 Main Top Unblock Buster

## Solution

You must win the A, else a club shift would be fatal. Suppose you continue with the 10, hoping to create a heart entry to hand. West will duck. East will also defend shrewdly by unblocking the Q on the first round, lest he be endplayed with that card as a stepping-stone to your hand. Opponents can see all four hands too!

The only winning line is to lead the A at Trick 2, forcing East to commit.

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

If East unblocks the Q, cash the J to reach this position:

 NT win 9 — Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th 10 9 4 4. N 4! 8 3! 5 A K 9 5 4 5. E Q K 2 9 10 9 6. S J Q K 6 4 3 2 Q J 10 9 8 7 7. N 9 7 K 5 Q 6 5 8 8. S A 3 10 8 Q 10 2 8 7 6 9. S 8 6 10 9 5 — 10. S 3 2 9 7 A K 6 5 Declarer succeeds J 3 J 3 North leads K 8

Next lead the 4 and play the three from hand. Unblock that! If West wins the trick, you will have the J entry to hand. If East wins the 8, he is forced to put you in hand with a spade (else assist with a diamond lead) and you can easily win the rest. The North hand will be high, as the two remaining hearts go away on your top spades.

Variation: If East fails to unblock the Q, next lead the 10 to force West to duck. Then sacrifice a club trick to stuff East on lead.

Trap: If East keeps the Q and you win a second club with your king, you will fail. If you finesse diamonds once and then try the heart-duck endplay, East will return a diamond to lock you in dummy.

I guess this proves that you knew how to bid all along — on your own planet.

 Puzzle 7F39 Main Top Unblock Buster