Puzzle 7F47   Main

Diamond Dilemma

  by Richard Pavlicek

Coping with preempts can be difficult, and you have your work cut out on this one. After East opens 3 H, you double for takeout, West raises to game, and partner bids 4 NT. This is not Blackwood but asks you to choose a minor, and you happily oblige with 5 D.

5 D South
None Vul
S A 5 4
H 10
D A 9 7 6 2
C 6 5 4 3

4 H

4 NT
3 H
5 D
S Q J 10 9 8
H A J 2
C J 10 9 8
TableS 7 6
H K 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
D 5 4
C 7
Lead: S Q S K 3 2
D Q J 10 8 3
C A K Q 2

You have 10 easy tricks with the favorable trump lie, but the mirror distribution leaves no obvious way to develop an 11th. With West protecting both black suits, a squeeze may be in the offing; but how can you rectify the count without giving up one of your threats? Any ideas?

Make 5 D against any defense.


Your first thoughts might be to draw trumps and exit with a heart, but this won’t work because West can win and exit safely, no matter how many black winners you cash early. If only you could arrange a throw-in against East.

Therein lies the solution, but it requires a devious scheme.

5 D SouthS A 5 4TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 101 WS QA62
D A 9 7 6 22 NH 103QA
C 6 5 4 33 WS J47K
S Q J 10 9 8TableS 7 64 SD QKA4
H A J 2H K 9 8 7 6 5 4 35 NC 37A8
D KD 5 4continued below…
C J 10 9 8C 7
S K 3 2
D Q J 10 8 3
Lead: S QC A K Q 2

Win the S A (or the king) and give up a heart. Assume a spade return (no defense matters) to the king, then lead the D Q; king, ace. Do not draw the outstanding trump. Return to hand with the C A to reach this position:

D win 7S 5TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H6 SC K94H 4!
D 9 7 6 27 SD 3S 82!5
C 6 5 48 EH KD 10JC 5
S 10 9 8TableS9 SD JS 96H 5
H J 2H K 9 8 7 6 5 410 SD 8H 29H 6
DD 511 ND 7H 7S 3?
C J 10 9CWest is squeezed
S 3
D J 10 8 3
South leadsC K Q 2

Next cash the C K, which East smartly refuses to ruff; else he must concede a ruff-sluff, resulting in West being squeezed. Well, if East wants to play that way, you must make him an offer he can’t refuse. Lead the D 3, and when West shows out, duck in dummy to force East to win the D 5. Ruff the heart return with the D 10, throwing a club from dummy. Win the D J, overtake the D 8 with the nine, then lead dummy’s last diamond, throwing your spade. West is squeezed in the black suits.

The forced ruff-sluff from East only broke even for the trick you gave away in diamonds, but it rectified the count for a squeeze without wasting a black-suit threat.

Puzzle 7F47   MainTop   Diamond Dilemma

© 1997 Richard Pavlicek