Puzzles 7HA0 Main

# One Trump Loser!

by Richard Pavlicek

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

 South deals Q 9 2 West North East South None vul A K 5 4 2 A K 3 2 Pass 2 NT Pass 3 1 K 2 Pass 4 NT2 Pass 5 3 A J 8 7 — Pass 6 Pass Pass 8 7 6 Q J 10 9 Dbl All Pass Q J 10 9 8 7 6 10 9 Q J 8 7 6 5 1. feature K 10 6 5 4 3 2. Roman key-card Blackwood 3 2 3. 2 key cards (no Q) Lead: Q 5 4 6 × South A 4 3

West appears to have two natural trump tricks, but a little magic might cure that.

### Solution

Win the A-K and ruff a diamond; win the A-K and ruff a heart; win the A-K and ruff the last diamond. This reduces West to all trumps with South on lead.

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

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For the next slam you may need some tranquilizer darts:

 South deals K 10 2 West North East South N-S vul 3 2 1 A K 3 2 2 NT Dbl 3 3 ? A K 3 2 Pass 4 NT Pass 5 — Q J 8 6 4 3 Pass 6 Dbl All Pass 9 8 7 Q J 10 Q J 10 9 8 7 6 Q J 10 9 8 7 6 A 9 7 5 A K 6 5 4 Lead: Q 5 4 6 × South 5 4

Seeing East’s trumps might make you ill, but they can be neutralized. Do you see how?

### Solution

Cash all your side winners and ruff a heart with the 2, leaving with East with all trumps. 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 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 10 and watch East squirm.

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For the final vanishing act you meet an escapee from the asylum:

 East deals K 2 West North East South Both vul A K 2 2 1 2 A K 3 2 Pass 3 Pass 3 8 7 6 5 Pass 6 Dbl2 Pass J 8 7 6 A Pass Pass J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 Q J 10 9 8 7 1. lunatic on the loose J 10 9 4 3 2 2. don’t lead a heart Q 10 9 5 4 3 Q Lead: Q 6 5 4 6 × South A K Q

It looks impossible to stop West from making his J, but that’s an illusion. Harry Houdini would find a way.

### Solution

Win the A and cash the A-K (ignore the Q) to ditch a diamond; ruff a heart; win the 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 9 and West’s jack is smothered. If he overruffs, you will overruff with the king. If he underruffs, you will discard from dummy.

Keep practicing your magic. With a little more experience you will know enough to redouble!

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