Puzzle 7F46 Main

# Slam Dunk

by Richard Pavlicek

Being dealt a seven-card suit, you feel a Goren-given license to preempt, but it might have been wise to check the vulnerability first. Alas, partner has no way to check your sanity, so he checks for aces and puts you in slam. Justifiably, 6 seems unmakable as the cards lie.

 South deals K 10 West North East South N-S vul K 10 9 8 3 A K 9 8 Pass 4 NT Pass 5 A K 6 Pass 6 Pass Pass Q 3 2 J Pass Q J 7 6 A 5 4 3 2 Q J 7 10 6 5 Q J 7 5 4 3 2 A 9 8 7 6 5 4 — 4 3 2 6 South 10 9 8

Overbidders, place your bets! With West able to lead whatever he wants, can 6 be made against best defense?

Would you rather play or defend?

 Puzzle 7F46 Main Top Slam Dunk

## Solution

Suppose West leads the Q, killing an entry to dummy and retaining the option to unblock diamonds. Declarer has 11 tricks with the double club finesse, and a trump loser seems inevitable. Is there a squeeze for 12? Perhaps a double ruffout squeeze in the red suits? No, because of entry problems; West will not allow the third club to be won in dummy, and when in with the Q he will remove your diamond entry.

A different tack is required.

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

Win the K and ruff a heart; then double-finesse and win three club tricks, using each dummy entry to ruff another heart. This will be the ending:

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

Next lead a diamond to the ace and ruff the last heart. If West kept the J, cross to the K and exit with a diamond to endplay West in trumps. If West unblocked the J, cash the A and exit with a diamond to East; then West’s Q will be smothered on the return.

Could West have altered the outcome by leading the Q or Q? No, declarer can reach the same ending.

### A slam dunk?

Yes, but depending on interpretation. If you chose to defend, you were correct. West can “dunk” the slam with a trump lead. Declarer must commit whether to win the ace or king, then West can unblock or not in diamonds to foil any endplay. No squeeze works either.

Down one — and just deserts for the 3 opening.

 Puzzle 7F46 Main Top Slam Dunk