Puzzle 8S89 by Richard Pavlicek
Beware The Ides of March is a well-known cliche. For most people it references the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., but not for this writer. Records of the Pavlicus Academia de Pons denote March 15 as the date on which a student first trumped his own winner, albeit 42 years later in 2 B.C. Countless repetitions occurred over the millennia, as graduates drew great satisfaction from winning a trick twice. Was this crazy? Totally berserk? Stay tuned!
Enough ancient history. Lets take a brief timeout to examine the ruffout squeeze, a resource that is more common than most people realize. Declarer typically has threats in two suits, either of which can be established if a defender lets go a necessary guard. Consider this seven-card ending:
Declarer must win all the rest, but a crossruff falls a trick short. Hail to the squeeze! South leads the A and West has no answer: A heart discard allows Norths suit to be established, while a diamond discard brings life to the K. Declarer simply ruffs out whichever suit West shortens.
All well and good, but anyone can do that; ruffout squeezes are a dime a dozen. You were not brought to this page to do something ordinary. Academy graduates look for the bizarre, which brings us to the puzzle:
Construct an ending where Souths squeeze card must be ruffed in North only if West discards a heart.
For uniformity, spades must be trump with South to lead, and the squeeze card must be the A. The ending may have any number of cards, but North-South must win all the tricks against any defense. Ties will be broken by the total rank sum* of all four hands; lower is better.
*Ace = 14, King = 13, Queen = 12, Jack = 11, etc.
Use the form below if you wish to submit a solution. Entries will close March 14 at midnight GMT. You may submit multiple times, but only the latest one counts. The best solutions will be published here on The Ides of March, and every successful solver will be acknowledged.
© 2021 Richard Pavlicek