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One Trump Loser!


On each of these deals the contract is 6 S and West leads the D Q. Amazingly, each can be made, losing only one trump trick. Can you perform the magic?

1. 6 S by South

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


Answer

West appears to have two natural trump tricks, but a little magic will cure that. Win the D A-K and ruff a diamond; win the H A-K and ruff a heart; win the C A-K and ruff the last diamond. This reduces West to all trumps with South on lead.

Lead a club; West ruffs with the S 7 and North overruffs with the nine. Finally, lead the last heart and ruff with the S K. If West overruffs with the ace, he will be endplayed in trumps; if he underruffs, he is left with S A-J in front of the queen.

2. 6 S by South

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


Answer

Seeing East’s trumps might make you ill, but they can be neutralized. Cash all your side winners and ruff a heart with the S 2. East now has all trumps with North on lead.

Lead a minor suit and overruff as cheaply as possible. Say, East ruffs with the jack and you win the ace. Ruff a heart with the S K forcing East to underruff. Lead a minor suit to overruff again (if East ruffs with the queen, discard your last heart). Finally, ruff your last heart with the S 10 and watch East squirm.

3. 6 S by South

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


Answer

It looks impossible to stop West from making his S J, but that’s an illusion. Harry Houdini would do it this way: Win the D A and cash the H A-K (ignore the H Q) to ditch a diamond; ruff a heart; win the D K; ruff a diamond and cash three clubs. This leaves West with all trumps.

Duck a spade to East’s blank ace. On the forced heart return play the S 9 and West’s jack is smothered. If he overruffs, you will overruff with the king. If he underruffs, you will discard from dummy.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek