Puzzle 8S47 Main

# Right-Sided Club Slam

by Richard Pavlicek

The fall meeting of Puzzlers Anonymous was canceled because of the pandemic.

This didn’t stop the fanatics from a virtual meeting, so I logged into the video conference to see what was up. Oh my! From pandemic to pandemonium! The clangor of voices receded a bit when Professor Freebid noticed my presence.

I was just showing Timothy a deal from one of your BBO matches.
As South you were declarer in five clubs and made six.”

 IMPs ? West North East South Both vul ? Pass 1 NT1 ? 2 2 NT2 Pass 3 ? Pass 3 Pass 4 Q J 10 9 8 7 Pass 5 All Pass K Q 10 6 5 4 9 8 7 K 6 5 4 9 8 7 1. 15-17 HCP — Q 8 7 6 2. transfer (5+ clubs) ? ? ? 5 South ?

“Yes, I remember the board from Monday. My hand was…”

“Whoa!” interrupted the Professor. “Don’t give it away!
I want to challenge Timothy and the gang with the puzzle
why only South can win 12 tricks against best defense.”

“Fair enough. Perhaps my readers would be interested too:”

Construct a South hand that makes 6 only if South is declarer.

A further goal is for the North-South hands to have the least freakness.
Challenge yourself, or make your best guess:

Which of these South hands was the winner?
 A. K-5-4-3-2 A-3-2 A-3-2 A-2B. K-4-3-2 A-3-2 Q-J-10 A-K-2C. 6-5-4-3-2 A-3-2 A-Q-J A-2D. 4-3-2 A-J-2 A-J-10-2 A-J-10

 Top Right-Sided Club Slam

## Jean-Christophe Clement Wins

This puzzle contest ran from September 22 to Thanksgiving Day (November 26) 2020. There were 18 entries from 11 persons (multiple entries were allowed from the same person, but only the latest one counted). Not exactly a robust turnout, but the underlying theme was difficult, and some people have useful things to do in their lives. I will too! My dad swore I’d do something useful some day.

Only four persons found the optimal solution, and their names come as no surprise. It would be hard to find a puzzle around here without one of them near the top of the leaderboard. Well done! Ranking is by date and time of submission.

Winner List
RankNameLocation
1Jean-Christophe ClementFrance
2Foster TomCalifornia
3Charles BlairIllinois
4Jacco HopNetherlands

 Puzzle 8S47 Main Top Right-Sided Club Slam

## Solution

A good starting point is to decide which suit might have a positional advantage with South declarer. The obvious candidate is diamonds, because West can’t lead a diamond safely if South has the ace. This inspired five solutions like the following:

 5 South A 6 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th J 1. W K J 7 A Q J 10 2. S 2 10 A 7 K J 10 9 5 4 3 3. N J 6 2 4 Q J 10 9 8 7 4. N 3 7 A 5 K Q 10 6 5 4 9 8 7 5. S K J 6 8 K 6 5 4 9 8 7 6. S 3 Q 4 9 — Q 8 7 6 7. N K 8 2 4 K 5 4 3 2 8. N 10 Q 3 6 A 3 2 Win the rest A 3 2 A 2

With West on lead, 12 tricks can be made. Clubs are finessed once through East, and the spade suit is established with a ruff. Declarer gives East his natural trump trick, then North’s two losing diamonds go away on the good spades.

With East on lead, it’s a different story with perfect defense. A diamond lead removes South’s entry immediately, so declarer cannot give up the lead. If spades are established as before, East can ruff the fourth round and return a diamond to stop the overtrick.

While the above solution is ostensibly correct, it is far off the mark in the freakness department. North’s freakness (7) plus South’s freakness (2) makes a total of 9. The winning solution drops this to only 5:

 5 South A 6 5 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th J 1. W K J 7 A A 3 2 2. S A 4 3 6 J 10 9 5 4 3 3. S Q 4 2 7 Q J 10 9 8 7 4. S J K A 8 K Q 10 6 5 4 9 8 7 5. N 3 9 10 5 K 6 5 4 9 8 7 6. S 2 5 4 8 — Q 8 7 6 7. N A 7 2 10 K 4 3 2 8. N 5 8 K J A 3 2 9. S 3 6 5 9 Q J 10 10. N 6! 9 3 Q A K 2 Declarer wins 12 tricks

After discovering the bad trump break, the diamond finesse is taken. With 11 tricks now assured, it is routine to strip the hands on the off chance of a smother play. Fortune prevails for the overtrick.

So why doesn’t this work as well with North declarer? Therein lies the crux of the puzzle. At double-dummy, West can prevent the overtrick by pitching a spade on the A. Then East can win the third spade if declarer attempts the same maneuver.

But with open cards, declarer can always win 12 tricks by not leading trumps, so South must be declarer to stop the killing trump lead.

Foster Tom: An opening spade lead is won in dummy, so South has two entries ( A and K) to ruff two hearts and shorten North’s trumps. Diamonds can be picked up anytime South is on lead without losing an entry. Then a spade to West smothers East. If North declares, a trump lead is deadly, allowing West to discard a spade.

Jacco Hop: Amazing puzzle. I realized yesterday while cycling that the solution likely was East leading a trump and West discarding a spade (otherwise a smother play) however it took me a while to put the dots together.

## Final notes

Charles Blair: The club spots made me suspect the Q might be the only successful lead, something like your Victory Celebration — which I thought was set in a prison rather than an asylum. Did you rewrite it?

No, but I may need to. My Zero Tolerance violations are piling up, and my ward supervisor has had to cuff me too many times. Once more, he says, and it’s San Quentin.

Professor Freebid: This concludes the fall meeting of Puzzler’s Anonymous, but let me I remind you of two holiday puzzles now running: Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Trump Moves to Lilliput. Our virtual gathering does not allow the usual refreshments, but I’ll be thinking of you as I carve my turkey. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and stay safe!

Food for thought: Are there more turkeys eaten at Thanksgiving, or more turkeys on BBO?

 Puzzle 8S47 Main Top Right-Sided Club Slam

© 2020 Richard Pavlicek