Puzzle 8K81   Main

# Seesaw Recall

by Richard Pavlicek

PavCo playground sets manufactured in 2013, bearing the RPbridge label, have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. More specifically, they claim a defective spring mechanism in the seesaw fulcrum could launch a rider 25 feet into the air. But that’s bullshit! I tightened the nuts myself — and it’s 20 feet tops. Besides, anyone knows you ride a seesaw at your own risk. I’ll beat this rap! Trust me, while I change the subject to bridge.

The seesaw, or entry-shifting squeeze, is a lesser known entity in the vast array of squeezes. While hardly a common occurrence, it arises more often than realized, because most opportunities go unnoticed. Typically the seesaw provides a solution when a crossruff is destined to fail, as in the following ending:

 win allSuccess A 3 — 10 2 — Trick1 S2 N Lead K! 2 2nd J3 3rdA! 2 4thQQ W-LW1W2 — Q J Q J — Q — 3 3 2 South leads K 2 10 2 — —

East’s Q prevents a routine crossruff, so it must be drawn to have any chance. Alas, this leaves declarer a trick short, but the seesaw springs to the rescue (20 feet tops, you can bank on it). South leads the K, which forces West to weaken one of his stoppers. If he lets go a heart, one ruff establishes the 10. If he lets go a diamond, declarer overtakes the K with dummy’s ace, and one ruff establishes the 10. Either way, declarer wins all four tricks.

The seesaw squeeze can also occur at notrump, but there it’s a rare bird. The ending is of the outer-space variety that seldom occurs — and even when it could occur, sound play early on will usually produce a simpler ending amenable to ordinary technique. Nonetheless, it provides a worthwhile study (unlike the CPSC morons). Consider the following ending, in which declarer needs five tricks:

 NT win 5Success A 10 6 5 — K 2 Trick1 S2 S3 S Lead A! A 6 2nd JQ 3rdK!5 4th 22 W-LW1W2 K Q J K Q J — — 4 3 2 4 3 2 — — South leads 5 A 10 6 — A Q

West alone protects both majors, but he can’t be squeezed in traditional fashion because the count is not rectified; and if declarer ducks a spade or heart to rectify the count, West will return the opposite major to kill declarer’s entries. No squeeze, save the seesaw. South leads the A, and West must weaken a major. If he pitches a spade, dummy follows with a low club, and the long spade is established with the K entry. If West pitches a heart, declarer unblocks the K, shifting the entry to his own Q, and the long heart is established.

Easy game, bridge! If chances look grim, just haul out a teeter-totter (PavCo brand of course).

Did you notice a key difference in my examples? In the first case with spades trump declarer won all the remaining tricks. But in notrump the seesaw is always a secondary squeeze, because a trick must be lost after the squeeze. Always? Inquiring minds need to know, which brings me to this month’s puzzle:

Construct an ending where North-South can win all the tricks in notrump by virtue of a seesaw squeeze.

For a solution to be valid, the entry shift must be essential (no other path to success) and it must be in the squeeze suit itself; i.e., jettison squeezes where a blocking card is discarded are a different genre and unacceptable. The ending may have any number of cards, as long as North-South win each trick.

## Leigh Matheson Wins

In December 2014 this puzzle was presented as a contest, inviting anyone who wished to submit a solution. Response was underwhelming, to say the least, with all of four entries. Hopefully this was due to its difficulty rather than a lack of interest, but no matter how you slice it, I’m fading fast. Several years ago I joked about becoming “undefined” if participation hit zero; now I wonder if it was a joke.

Thanks and congratulations to Leigh Matheson of Sydney, Australia, who was the only correct solver. Leigh is a past contributor and winner of my Right-Sided Spades contest a few years back.

Winner List
RankNameLocationScore
1Leigh MathesonAustralia100%

 Puzzle 8K81   Main Top   Seesaw Recall

## Solution

In order to add some realism to the puzzle, suppose you reach 7 NT as South on the following deal. Suffice it to say the bidding wasn’t pretty, but there you are. West leads the J.

 7 NT South A 10 9 2 J A K Q 2 10 4 3 2 Trick1 W2 N3 N4 N5 S6 S Lead J K A 2 K Q 2ndQ56766 3rd4 6 7A32 4th389583 W-LW1W2W3W4W5W6 K 8 7 6 10 5 4 J 10 9 8 6 5 5 4 3 Q 3 2 7 6 5 4 J 8 7 Lead: J Q J A K 9 8 7 6 3 A K Q 9

Assume you win three top diamonds pitching two hearts, two top clubs, and run the Q which West must duck (else you have 13 tricks). This leaves the following ending with South on lead.

 NT win all A 10 9 J 2 10 4 Trick1 S2 S3 S4 N Lead Q! J 9 A 2nd 107 4? 3rd4910 4thJ4 5 W-LW1W2W3 K 8 7 10 5 4 10 — 5 4 Q 3 2 7 J South leads J A K 9 8 — Q 9

The Q now squeezes West in three suits. Suppose he pitches a diamond, since East can guard diamonds; North follows low; the J wins; a club to dummy squeezes West out of a heart; then the A squeezes East in the red suits. If West instead pitches a heart, North unblocks the 10; then the J is overtaken to run the J, making the South hand high with the 9 entry. Of course if West pitches a spade, you easily have the rest by saving the 10 entry and running the J.

Evidently this bizarre seesaw requires three threats against West, one of which (hearts) is extended and none of which contains a fluid entry in its own suit — observe that both major-suit entries are obfuscated by a blocked finesse. Further, East must have an annoyance card ( J) in the squeeze suit to restrict communication. If North had the J, no seesaw is necessary; declarer could run the J, cross to North in clubs (squeezing West out of a diamond), cash the A pitching a club, then lead the last club for a double squeeze.

### Down under variation

Leigh Matheson’s construction contained essentially the same elements, however, he put the bare threat in South. Hmm… Could this be a hemisphere thing? To accommodate the switch, available space required North to have an extra winner instead of South. [Suits changed to parallel my ending]

 NT win all A K 10 4 Q — Q 10 Trick1 S2 S3 S4 N5 N Lead A! J J A K 2nd A7 10 Q? 3rd104Q 7 4thK5 68 W-LW1W2W3W4 Q 9 8 7 J 10 A — 6 5 K 8 K Q K South leads J A 9 7 J A J

Leigh Matheson: To score all the tricks in notrump South must lead the A [and play the 10 or Q according to West’s discard].

The play is similar to my construction. If West pitches a diamond, North follows low; then a spade finesse followed by the Q squeezes a heart from West; then the top spades squeeze East. If West pitches a heart, declarer unblocks the Q, wins A-K (no finesse) to pitch a diamond, runs the Q, and returns to hand in clubs. If West pitches a spade, declarer routinely wins the rest by running the J.

So there you have it, folks: a seesaw squeeze for all the tricks in notrump, with two variations. Perhaps there are others. If anyone discovers a significantly different matrix, please advise.

Oh, and if you’re a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, PavCo is pleased to announce a fix for its playground sets: Before riding the seesaw, carefully remove the spring mechanism from the fulcrum, release the catch lever to eject the spring from its housing, then stick it up your ass!

 Puzzle 8K81   Main Top   Seesaw Recall