Puzzle 7F80   Main


Trickless Triumph


  by Richard Pavlicek

The trick to winning more tricks on defense is to have a trick up your sleeve to trick declarer — or something like that. On this occasion West was a real trickster, as he advertised his forthcoming trickery with a tricky double.

3 NT× South
None Vul
S K J 7 4
H 9 8 7 5
D 6
C K 8 5 3
West

1 D
2 D
Dbl
North

Dbl
3 C
Pass
East

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

After a routine diamond lead, how do East-West defeat 3 NT and teach South a lesson about overbidding? If it looks easy, note that declarer also can see all four hands and will duck the first trick, letting East win the D 10. This prevents West from establishing his suit, then the lucky lie of the black suits may allow declarer to succeed.

Plot the defensive trickery.

Solution

After a diamond lead to the 10 (ducked by South), East must shift to ace and another heart.

3 NT× South S K J 7 4
H 9 8 7 5
D 6
C K 8 5 3
Trick
1 W
2 E
3 E
4 S
Lead
D 7
H A
H 2
S 3
2nd
6
J
K
Q!
3rd
10
C A!
C Q!
K
4th
9
5
7
2
W-L
L1
L2
W1
W2
S A Q 9
H
D K J 8 7 5 4 3 2
C A Q
Table S 10 6 2
H A 10 6 4 3 2
D 10
C 10 9 7



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

That alone doesn’t do enough, but West takes the spotlight by jettisoning his C A-Q on the two heart leads. How’s that for a tricky start! South next leads a spade, and West must play the queen, won by dummy’s king, to reach this position:

NT win 7
Failure
S J 7 4
H 9 8
D
C K 8 5 3
Trick
5 N
6 S
7 N
8 E
Lead
C 3
C 2
C 8
H 3
2nd
7
D 2
10
Q
3rd
J
K
4
D 4
4th
S A!
9
D 3
8
W-L
W1
W2
L1
W3
S A 9
H
D K J 8 5 4 3 2
C
Table S 10 6
H 10 6 4 3
D
C 10 9 7



North leads
S 8 5
H Q
D A Q
C J 6 4 2
Lose 2 more tricks

When declarer next returns to hand with the C J, West affirms his devout trickiness by tossing the S A. Take that! Now declarer cannot set up both clubs and spades before East can set up his hearts. Note that East still has a stopper in both black suits.

When was the last time you doubled 3 NT and set it without taking a trick? Not lately I suspect, but for the defenders to triumph, West had to go trickless. With any other defense, declarer could maneuver to lose at least one black-suit trick to West and develop nine tricks (three spades, two hearts, one diamond and three clubs) while the defense is unable to develop a red suit.

Puzzle 7F80   MainTop   Trickless Triumph

© 2003 Richard Pavlicek