Main     Puzzle 7F47 by Richard Pavlicek    

Diamond Dilemma

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. An excellent auction.

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

West

4 H
All Pass


North

4 NT


East
3 H
Pass


South
Dbl
5 D
S Q J 10 9 8
H A J 2
D K
C J 10 9 8
Table S 7 6
H K 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
D 5 4
C 7
Lead: S Q S K 3 2
H Q
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.

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Solution

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

Therein lies the solution, but it requires a devious scheme. Win the spade lead in either hand and give up a heart. Assuming any safe return, win the other top spade, the D A (preserving the D 3 in hand) and the C A in any order. Next cash the C K (optional) which East smartly refuses to ruff.

Solution
5 D S A 5 4
H 10
D A 9 7 6 2
C 6 5 4 3
Trick
1. W
2. N
3. W
4. S
5. N
6. S
W 5 L 1
Lead
S Q
H 10
S J
D Q
C 3
C K
2nd
A
3
4
K
7
9
3rd
6
Q
7
A
A
4
4th
2
A
K
4
8
H 4
S Q J 10 9 8
H A J 2
D K
C J 10 9 8
Table S 7 6
H K 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
D 5 4
C 7
S K 3 2
H Q
D Q J 10 8 3
C A K Q 2

Now lead the D 3 (see ending) and when West shows out, duck in dummy to force East to win the trick with the five. Ruff the forced 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. South
leads
S 5
H
D 9 7 6 2
C 6 5
S 10 9 8
H J 2
D
C J 10
Table S
H K 9 8 7 6 5
D 5
C
S 3
H
D J 10 8 3
C Q 2

The forced ruff-sluff from East only broke even for the trick you gave away in diamonds, but it rectified the count without wasting a black threat, thereby allowing West to be squeezed.

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© 1996 Richard Pavlicek