Main   Analyses 8Y64 by Richard Pavlicek  

Shadow of a Doubt

Good evening. I am pleased to inform you the perpetrator of these crimes has been indicted. Mr. Pavlicek may have fooled the local police, but when questioned by the FBI, a scrap piece of paper fell out of his wallet. Scribbled there were six bridge diagrams that matched these problems. That alone was no proof, but forensic tests showed the ink had dried in July, giving prosecutors a strong case. Trial is set to begin October 15, and bond has been set at $6 million.“
Problem 123456Final Notes

Nice try, Hitch. Can you say, “Peanuts for PavCo?” I posted that bail on pocket change, then headed for the Amtrak station. (Only retards fly these days with all the security checks.) After eight days on the rails and five train changes, I’m now in Paraguay — which may become Pavaguay if President Frutos accepts my $10 billion offer. I’ll be working here on my October contest with Fritz, who arrives tonight by freighter from Bremen. Oh, about the trial… What trial was that, Alfie? Good luck with extradition! –RP

During the month of August 2007, these six defensive-play problems were published on the Internet as a contest. All bridge players were invited to participate. As West, after your opening lead wins, you you were asked to choose your lead at trick two.

Barry Rigal Wins!

This contest had 725 participants from 108 locations, and the average score was 43.28. Congratulations to Barry Rigal (New York City), who was the first of two to submit perfect scores. Barry is well-known to most players through his many books and articles. I’m delighted he enters these contests (since October 2000), and he’d probably win more often, save his tendency to answer quickly. Maybe being a British import like Hitchcock was an inspiration. Also scoring 60 was Rob Stevens (Santa Cruz, California). Close behind at 59 were Ding-Hwa Hsieh (Kirksville, Missouri); Wuping Lu (China); Jordi Sabate (Barcelona, Spain); Wojtek Urban (Poland); John Lusky (Portland, Oregon); Jim Munday (Camarillo, California); and Joon Pahk (Massachusetts).

Could attendance be on the rise? Last month’s low of 690 was depressing, although 35 more is not exactly a windfall — probably just another bean before the nuclear fallout in October. I wouldn’t show up in October either, except Fritz is plotting to Blackmail me, so I do what I have to do.

The average score (43.28) was the highest ever (since October 2000), which may be because the hoi polloi have departed. Seriously, the average is also affected by problem difficulty and my scoring decisions, though I try to keep an even keel. A total of 364 persons scored above average (44+) to make the listing. Consensus score was 48, curiously taking second place on each problem. Two problems were close, and Problem 4 was a judgmental photo that I called as I saw it — or more appropriately, the top award is not beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Overall standings count your best four scores (4+ participations required) in the last six contests (March through August). Retaining the top spot is Ding-Hwa Hsieh (Missouri), increasing her remarkable average to 59.75. Only half a point back with 59.25 are Darek Kardas (Poland), John Lusky (Oregon) and Lajos Linczmayer (Hungary). Next with 58.75 is Carsten Kofoed (Sweden), then Rainer Herrmann (Germany) and Joanna Sliwowska (Poland), each with 58.50. Two ladies in the top seven is nice to see.

I called Barry Rigal to relay the good news, and he’s now on a flight to Florida to claim the top prize, an oak tree branch signed by Alfred Hitchcock… well, actually it only has the initials “AH” carved by me, but that’s close enough for PavCo Scams. Unfortunately, no one wanted the Cotten balls preserved in formaldehyde, which I offered down to 20th place. Too bad; it was the actor’s Last Will and Testicle.

Form of scoring this month is rubber bridge, mainly because Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo role* in Shadow of a Doubt was playing rubber bridge — where he held a hand with 13 spades! You won’t find that hand here (hard to beat 7 S). Strategy at rubber bridge is similar to IMPs, with even less concern for overtricks. As a defender, defeating the contract is your only goal.

*In almost all his movies, Hitchcock made some kind of token appearance early on, which came to be his trademark, and something his fans watch for closely — at least I do.

Each defensive problem offered six plausible leads for West at trick two. The merit of each is scored on a 1-to-10 scale based on my judgment, which may be influenced by comments received.

Bidding is Standard American (unless otherwise noted), and you and partner use standard leads and signals. For a reference, see my summary of Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.
TopMain

Problem 1

Rubber Bridge E-W Vul

West
You

3 D
North

Pass
3 H
East

2 D
All Pass
South

2 H

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

You lead the D J (ducked in dummy), partner plays the six, and South the seven. Your next lead?

LeadAwardVotesPercent
S 31015221
D 10835249
S Q7314
H 26223
S A513118
C 51375

Before you routinely put the D 10 on the table, you should ask yourself how you might beat this contract. Four tricks are obvious: two diamonds (partner must have A-Q sixth), the S A and C K. Unless partner has an outside ace, the only chance for a fifth trick is in spades, which requires partner to have S J-x or a singleton.

If you continue diamonds, partner will surely overtake your D 10 with the queen (if ducked in dummy) to lead the D A, hoping to promote a trump trick. If you held H Q-x, you would certainly defend this way, but H 8-2 is insignificant. Even if partner held the blank H Q or H K, declarer couldn’t go wrong, as ruffing with at least the H 9 is routine (only Fritz would ruff low).

Therefore, it is your responsibility to shift to spades, and the question is which spade (ace, queen or low). Your second diamond trick can wait. Consider a plausible layout:

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

On a diamond continuation declarer has a picnic, ruffing high and using dummy’s entries to finesse clubs twice, eventually pitching a spade from dummy to make 3 H. On a low spade shift (or ace and another) it’s a different story, as you will establish the setting trick before declarer can develop clubs. Shifting to the S Q, however, is ineffective, as it blocks the suit.

Superficially, it seems better to cash the S A first in case partner has a singleton, but this is flawed. If partner had a stiff spade (unlikely as it means two singletons), he would overtake your D J to return his spade. A more serious defect is that declarer may have S J-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C Q-J-10-x*, in which case it gifts the contract (declarer will finesse to pitch a diamond). Note that partner’s signal on the S A is useless, as he would play low with S x-x-x or J-x.

*This gives East S x-x-x H x D A-Q-9-x-x-x C A-x-x, which is not a one-bid in the default system (even including the C 10). In fact, it’s almost a textbook weak two-bid, vulnerable in second seat.

Therefore, first place goes to the S 3, after which declarer is history — and he’d better put up the king, else he’ll be down two. Curiously, the S 3 shift may even work when declarer has S J-x-x, as he is almost sure you have the ace, so he may hop with the king to block the suit when East has S Q-x.

Second place would seem to belong to the S A, which works just as well in the diagram (assuming a spade continuation); but a closer look shows otherwise. Leading spades is necessary only when (1) South has S x-x-x and C A-Q-J, A-Q-10 or A-J-10; else a passive defense is just as good. In contrast, ace and another spade costs the contract when (2) South has S J-x and C Q-J-x-x. Case 1 has 4×3=12 holdings; Case 2 has 4×6=24. This must be adjusted, as Case 1 permits any five hearts to the ace (5×12=60); while Case 2 must be H A-K-Q-x-x (3×24=72). Thus, there are more failing holdings than successful ones.

Consequently, second place must go to a passive defense, which includes the D 10, H 2 and S Q. Admittedly, the last feels about as passive as the Merry Widow killer jumping from a moving train; but in essence, it’s no different. Declarer will either make or fail depending on the club layout and S J location. Rather than pick a Psycho-logical favorite, they’re ranked by the voting.

With three effective ties for second, the S A has to settle for a close fifth. Some days are like that.

Last and worst by far is to lead a club. Not only does this have no possible advantage, but it gifts a trick when South has C A-Q. With a hand like S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-Q-x, South has no legitimate chance with any other defense.

While irrelevant to the problem, declarer probably erred at trick one by not playing the D K, as a spade shift by East is less likely. I say “probably” because there’s a lot of cat and mouse involved. East will wonder why declarer played the D K, and the obvious reason is that he doesn’t want a spade shift and is happy with a club or more diamonds; hence, East has a strong clue. The point is that it’s not all black and white like Shadow of a Doubt; but all considered, the D K looks better. Call it an expert error.

Comments for the S 3

Barry Rigal: We need a second spade trick before it goes on a club, e.g., if South has S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-Q-10.

Rob Stevens: To defeat this, South must be 3=5=2=3 without the S J. Leading the S Q blocks the suit; and S A and another [allows] declarer to finesse with 2=5=2=4 and the S J. A low spade preserves our options.

Wuping Lu: South may have S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-Q-J.

Jordi Sabate: … The [main] possibility to make five tricks is to find partner with S J-x. …

John Lusky: This works if partner has S J-x or the C A. Other spade plays either risk losing our other diamond trick (if South has S J-x) or make it impossible to unscramble our spade tricks in time.

Jim Munday: I can see four tricks: two diamonds, one spade and one club. I need partner to hold an ace or the S J to have a chance, and a low spade caters to either case. Partner will not know to attack spades if I continue diamonds; so I must lead them myself. The S Q blocks the suit when partner has S J-x… The S A works when partner has S J-x; but I’m committed to continue regardless of partner’s card, which allows declarer to shake a diamond loser when holding S J-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C Q-J-10-x.

Joon Pahk: If partner has the C A, we’re beating this anyway. If he has the S J, I need to get spades going right away in case declarer has strong clubs.

Julian Wightwick: Hoping partner has S J-x. This switch is necessary if South has C A-Q-J, A-Q-10 [or A-J-10].

Charles Blair: I hope to see, once again, your cartoon of a blackboard, on which is written “Always lead fourth best.”

I aim to please, but a player of your caliber
may choose the fourth-best club.

Steve White: Chances seem nearly impossible unless partner has S J-x, then we may score two spades, two diamonds, and a club. If partner had a stiff spade, he would have overtaken and shifted. If partner somehow has the C A instead, we’ll still get five tricks.

Leonard Helfgott: … Partner [probably] needs the S J to set the contract. A low spade is best, as it might induce declarer (with S J-x-x) to rise with the king…

David Grainger: I need to develop a fifth trick before the C K gets knocked out… South may have something like S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-Q-J.

Adrian Barna: Playing South for S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-Q-J. Leading the S A and a low spade also works, but it fails if South has S J-x [and partner has the C A].

Dean Pokorny: … If I continue diamonds, partner will not know to switch to spades with S J-x H x D A-Q-x-x-x-x C Q-x-x-x.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible East hand: S J-x H x D A-Q-x-x-x-x C 10-8-6-3. I need to set up a second spade trick before declarer can pitch a spade from dummy on the third club. …

Bruce Neill: … I need to open spades early if South has S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-Q-10. Leading the S A could let declarer pitch his diamond loser with S J-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C Q-J-x-x.

Jean-Christophe Clement: Hoping partner has the S J, and trying to get two spade tricks before clubs get going.

Imre Csiszar: This is necessary if East holds S J-x H x D A-Q-x-x-x-x C Q-x-x-x…

Will Engel: Playing partner for S J-x H x D A-Q-x-x-x-x C 10-x-x-x, or so.

Thijs Veugen: Hopefully, partner has the S J, so we can win two spades, two diamonds and the C K.

Leif-Erik Stabell: I must switch to a spade in case South has S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-J-10, or similar. The S Q is interesting and might make South misguess — but it’s fatal on this layout if he covers.

Tong Xu: South probably has something like S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-Q-10.

Travis Crump: The danger of a second diamond is that…partner will lead a third diamond trying for a trump promotion, giving away the timing. The S A risks a diamond going on the third spade [when South has S J-x]; the S Q threatens to block the suit when partner has S J-x.

Kauko Koistinen: Four defensive tricks are obvious, and the setting trick must come from spades when partner has S J-x. If I continue diamonds, partner will lead a third diamond to try for a trump promotion (or shift to clubs), giving declarer nine tricks with something like S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-Q-J.

Xavier Dantan: Partner’s diamond trick, my S A and C K cannot disappear, but a spade might be discarded from dummy on South’s club winner. …

Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: It is necessary to develop spades when South has S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-Q-10.

John Reardon: I must lead a spade (not the S Q) in case South has S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-Q-10. The low spade preserves my options.

Okan Ozcan: We need two spades, two diamonds and a club to defeat this, so I hope partner has S J-x.

Brad Theurer: This maintains the option to develop a spade trick if South has S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-Q-J, or to [cash out] if South has S J-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C Q-J-10-x.

Rob Wijman: I won’t continue diamonds, because partner will play a third round. In clubs we have only one trick, so we need two from spades; partner may have the S J.

Neelotpal Sahai: Looking for two spade tricks, apart from two diamonds and a club. I must shift to a spade; only question is which. I rule out the S Q, as it may [block the suit] later. Choosing the S 3 gives some amount of deception.

John Auld: Playing partner for S J-x.

Prabhakar Oak: South has five hearts and two diamonds. The contract can be set only if partner has S J-x or the C A.

Barry White: We need two spade tricks.

Franco Chiarugi: South may have S x-x-x H A-K-9-x-x D x-x C A-J-10,…so I have to play a spade to assure two spades, two diamonds and a club — down one if declarer plays the S K, or down two otherwise.

Sebastien Louveaux: We need an extra trick in spades, so I hope partner has S J-x. Leading low ensures that I can cash two spades when on lead with the C K. Our second diamond trick can wait.

Carsten Kofoed: Our fifth trick must come in a black suit. South can’t have a singleton spade, so I lead low hoping partner has the S J.

Mark Chen: I need to be active and set up a spade trick in case South has S x-x-x H A-K-Q-x-x D x-x C A-J-10. If I continue diamonds, partner may try for a trump promotion.

Baron Ng: South may have S x-x-x H A-K-x-x-x D x-x C A-Q-10.

Wei Victor Zhang: If partner holds S J-x, we can win two spade tricks.

Douglas Dunn: Looks like partner has D A-Q, so he’s [unlikely] to have another ace; but maybe the S J. TopMain

Problem 2

Rubber Bridge Both Vul

West
You

1 H
2 H
North


Dbl
3 H
East


Pass
Pass
South

1 D
2 D
3 NT (AP)

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

You lead the H K, partner plays the three, and South the five. Your next lead?

LeadAwardVotesPercent
S K1014220
H J734347
C K616322
D Q5406
C 94213
S 41162

Continuing hearts seems pretty obvious — indeed, if only all your leads were this easy. But then, the Master of Suspense never directed a film without a plot twist, and a sense of uncertainty permeates the air. Could it really be right to shift? Wait a second… Doesn’t declarer already have nine tricks? He should have A-K sixth in diamonds and the H A for his bidding, so your concern is only about overtricks — hardly worthy of Hitchcock.

But wait! Dummy’s diamond holding seems a bit too sparkling, hinting of evil, like the diamond rings Uncle Charlie carries around. The open-end straight flush is a good poker hand to draw to as well! Could the diamond suit be blocked? Yes! All partner needs is D J-x, and declarer cannot use his two long diamonds — unless he concedes a diamond, but that would leave him only eight tricks. Consider a plausible layout:

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

Declarer has a plan. On the second heart, he will discard a diamond (ducking again); then another diamond goes away on the H A, allowing the suit to run free and clear. Declarer can even do this on his own; e.g., if you switch to the D Q, he will win and lead the H 10 (pitching a diamond), then when he wins the D A, he can jettison dummy’s last diamond on the H A to unblock the suit.

The Pinochle Defense

To defeat the contract, you must switch to the black suit that can establish three tricks for the defense, and spades is the answer. In short, you need partner to have a pinochle (S Q and D J). If declarer ducks the S K, you will continue with the S J. If he ducks again, however, you will mastermind another plot twist and shift to the C K. Take that! No matter how declarer struggles, he cannot come to nine tricks.

What if partner has the C J instead of the S Q? Wouldn’t the C K switch then work as well? No, because the club suit is blocked. Declarer can win the C A, cross in diamonds, and concede a heart; then all you can win are two clubs. Alternatively, if declarer has S Q-x and H A-10-x-(x), he can duck two clubs. The bottom line: You need partner to have the S Q, so play for it.

What if South has just a doubleton heart, say, S Q-x H A-5 D A-K-x-x-x-x C J-x-x? Illogical, as this gives partner H 10-7-4-3, with which he would encourage a heart continuation. Partner would know declarer has only two hearts, so he would hardly turn you off by playing the H 3.

When South has D A-K sixth* as expected (and the obvious H A), no other lead has a chance. Counterplay exists only when South is missing the D K in a slim opener like S Q-x-x H A-x-x D A-J-x-x-x-x C x, or S Q-x H A-10-x-x D A-J-x-x-x-x C x, in which case a non-spade lead may succeed. These hands are further diminished because 3 NT is a dubious bid (especially on 6-4 shape), which is evidenced by 5 D being cold. Differences among the H J, D Q, C K and C 9 are small, so they’re ranked by the voting.

*I consider it implausible for South to have only five diamonds, as an expert would then prefer to rebid 1 NT or a three-card spade suit.

Worst of all is the S 4, after which I don’t believe there is any layout to beat the contract legitimately — though with Uncle Charlie lurking, I can’t be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Comments for the S K

Barry Rigal: Could South have S x-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x with no D J? If I play a second heart, he ducks (pitching a diamond) and can unblock his nine tricks. … I think I need partner to have the S Q to set this.

Rob Stevens: Clearly, 3 NT is cold unless diamonds are blocked; then we need to have three cashing tricks when declarer leads another low heart. The club blockage leaves no choice but to play partner for at least S Q-7-x-x.

Wuping Lu: South may have S x-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x.

Jordi Sabate: If South has six diamonds, I need partner to have D J-x, so the suit will block. But then, a passive defense allows declarer to play a small heart then the H A (pitching a diamond each time) to unblock the suit. So I have to be active, and partner needs at least S Q-x-x-x.

John Lusky: Declarer might have S x-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x,…and be struggling to overcome the diamond blockage, in which case the S K works if partner has as little as S Q-7-x-x. Another possibility is that partner has the D K (South having the S Q and C J), in which case I don’t think we can beat 3 NT if South is 2=3=6=2, and he might have rebid 1 NT with that pattern anyway. The S K also works if South is 1=3=6=3 or 1=4=6=2…

Jim Munday: Even if South has only five diamonds, I need partner to hold a black-suit honor, lest I be strip-squeezed. There is a very real chance that South’s diamond suit is temporarily blocked by partner’s D J-x; then a second heart will be fatal, as declarer can duck (pitching a diamond) and pitch another on the H A to unblock the suit. Declarer can arrange this himself, so I must threaten to win five tricks our way. Clubs are not good enough…due to blockage;…so I’ll play partner for S Q-7-x-x or better. Declarer must duck spades twice, then a club shift will set up our fifth trick…

Joon Pahk: Hoping to establish two spade tricks…before declarer can unblock dummy’s diamonds.

Julian Wightwick: If South had only five diamonds, the H A and a black honor, he would probably rebid 1 NT. Therefore, I will play him for S x-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x (or similar), in which case diamonds are blocked until another heart is ducked. …

Charles Blair: I need to assume more than blockage in diamonds.

Steve White: Declarer likely has six diamonds, but maybe they’re blocked. Declarer must duck the first two spades (I hope) lest we establish enough tricks to beat him, then I’ll lead a high club…

David Grainger: Continuing hearts will allow declarer to unblock dummy’s diamonds…if partner has D J-x. … Partner probably needs the missing quacks to beat this, and spades is the key suit [to attack].

Lajos Linczmayer: I hope South has S x H A-10-5 D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x-x, so diamonds are blocked. If I play one more heart, declarer pitches a diamond and ducks.

Bruce Neill: Declarer looks to have six diamond tricks and three aces; but if partner has D J-x, the suit blocks. A heart continuation lets declarer throw two diamonds from dummy to unblock. We need to set up three black winners, so I hope partner has S Q-x-x-x; then declarer can’t afford to duck a heart.

Perry Groot: Best chance is that diamonds are blocked: South with D A-K-x-x-x-x and partner with D J-x. The S K is the only shift that may set up five tricks before declarer has nine.

Will Engel: Hopefully, if South holds S 9-8 H A-10-x D A-K-6-5-3-2 C J-x, partner with S Q-7-3-2 won’t signal with the seven to show he likes my lead. :)

Would it make you feel any better if he overtakes
your S J with the queen to return a heart?

Jonathan Mestel: My clubs are too strong!

Thijs Veugen: The diamond suit may be blocked — unless I lead hearts (or diamonds). Clubs have no future because of the blocking C 9; so I hope partner has the S Q…

Leif-Erik Stabell: I need a bit from partner, and S Q-x-x-x H x-x-x D J-x C x-x-x-x would be ideal. I can’t continue hearts and let declarer unblock diamonds.

Thibault Wolf: … If declarer has D A-K-x-x-x-x, a heart continuation helps him unblock the suit; so I have to shift, and the S K seems best. Dummy’s D 10-9-8-7 may be a trap, but I like to fall in. :)

Tong Xu: Hoping partner has D J-x and the S Q.

David Caprera: Diamonds are blocked if declarer has S 9-x H A-10-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C J-x, and a second heart (ducked) allows him to unblock.

Jerry Fink: On the reasonable assumption that diamonds are blocked, I must act immediately to set up three [black] tricks before declarer unblocks diamonds on [hearts]. The club suit is blocked for us, so my only hope is to find partner with at least S Q-x-x-x.

David Lindop: Best hope is that partner has D J-x, blocking the suit; but declarer can discard two diamonds on hearts if I continue. Partner having the C J won’t be good enough, since declarer can win the C A, and our clubs are blocked; so I need partner to have at least S Q-7-x-x.

Kauko Koistinen: Declarer’s diamonds are blocked if partner has D J-x; but if I continue hearts [or lead the D Q], declarer can pitch blocking diamonds from dummy. … I need to [set up] three black tricks, and clubs won’t do (even if partner has C J-8-x-x); so partner must have at least S Q-7-x-x. If declarer ducks two spades, I will shift to the C K.

Martin Byrne: To prevent the impending unblock [of diamonds on hearts]. If I switch to clubs, declarer could block our suit in revenge.

Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: When declarer has S 9-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C J-x, this will beat him, as diamonds are blocked. If he has S Q-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x [and I lead the C K], our clubs block.

John Reardon: Declarer has nine top tricks if he can cash them; however, if he holds S x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x-x-x, this switch will defeat him.

Rainer Herrmann: To beat the contract, I need partner to have D J-x and the S Q — but not the C J. Declarer will try to discard diamonds from dummy on hearts.

Tim DeLaney: I hope South has S x-x H A-10-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x, or similar, so diamonds are doubly blocked. The S K sets up three tricks, preventing South from ducking another heart to untangle diamonds. If South ducks two spades, I shift to the C K.

Dale Freeman: Playing partner for at least S Q-7-x-x. I think declarer has six diamonds and three bullets, but diamonds are blocked.

Bas Oosthoek: To set up enough tricks before declarer gets rid of two blocking diamonds on his hearts.

Len Vishnevsky: It looks like declarer has H A-x-x, so he should have six diamonds to rebid 2 D instead of 1 NT. If he has something like S Q-2 H A-4-3 D A-K-6-5-4-3 C J-2, 3 NT is cold; but if partner has the S Q, the S K shift will set the contract. If I continue hearts, he can unblock diamonds.

Sebastien Louveaux: Bidding and early play point to South having the H A and six diamonds; if D A-K-x-x-x-x, dummy’s blocking spots can be discarded on hearts… So I need to decide which black suit to develop, and spades is the answer, merely needing S Q-x-x-x. If spades are ducked twice, I’ll lead the C K.

Carsten Kofoed: My clubs are too good, and I can’t defeat 3 NT if South has the S Q. If South has S 9-x H A-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C J-x, we can take five tricks before diamonds can be unblocked on hearts.

Baron Ng: South may have S x-x H A-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x C J-x.

Emmanuel Amiot: … If South has the S Q, I am sunk anyway.

Roger Sun: If partner has D J-x, the diamond suit is blocked — until declarer is able to pitch two diamonds on hearts. … If partner has the C J, clubs will block; so partner needs the S Q…

Amiram Millet: To cater for partner holding S Q-x-x-x H 10-3 D J-x C x-x-x-x-x. If declarer ducks, I go on with the S J. TopMain

Problem 3

Rubber Bridge E-W Vul

West
You

Pass
Pass
North

1 D
1 NT
4 H
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
South

1 S
3 H

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

You lead the C Q (ducked in dummy), partner plays the seven, and South the two. Your next lead?

LeadAwardVotesPercent
C 101018826
C J923933
H 4616222
D A511015
S 104203
S 5161

“Worked so well, I’ll try it again” is the obvious strategy after winning the C Q, but then you have visions of Hitchcock — or doubt that I would even use this problem if a club continuation were right. Aha! Maybe my plot is to engulf you with Hitchcock and blind you to reality. But then; what is reality? Somewhere in the mansion at Mandalay lies the answer (oops, wrong film).

South is likely to be 5-5 in the majors, though 5-4 is possible*, but his minor-suit pattern is unknown. Partner’s C 7 signal is attitude, not count. (For those who think attitude is foolish when the queen wins, see December 2001 Problem 1.) Therefore, it’s not clear how many clubs you can win; but it is clear that a club lead can wait if something is more urgent.

*Most experts would use “new minor forcing” with five spades and four hearts, reserving the jump to show 5-5; but this is moot. While NMF is included in the default system, specific details about when to use it are not; so you can’t conclude that South must be 5-5.

Dummy’s spade holding suggests declarer will have to ruff a spade or two (barring S A-K-Q-x-x), as your S 10-9 will promote to master rank after partner’s K-x or Q-x falls with dummy’s jack. Therefore, a trump shift comes to light as an alternate defense. Consider a plausible layout:

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

Suppose you switch to a trump at trick two, taken in dummy. Ineffective. Declarer’s play flows easily: S A-K; spade ruff; club ruff; spade ruff; club ruff; draw trumps, then win the last spade. If South’s minor-suit lengths were reversed, a trump shift would work fine, as declarer could not reach his hand for a second spade ruff. C’est la vie.

Now suppose you continue clubs, ruffed by South. If declarer continues as above (ruffing two spades), he will reach this position with the lead in dummy:

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

A dead end. If declarer overtakes the H J with the queen, hoping to keep control, he discovers the H 9 doesn’t fall; then West ruffs the good spade and exits with a club. If declarer instead leads toward the D K, West can return a trump to reach the same impasse, or a diamond to promote the H 9.

A club continuation is looking much better. If South is only 5-4 in the majors, it is just as effective — unless South has D K-Q-x, in which case no defense works with hearts lying friendly. The only real question is which club (jack or 10). It’s probably academic in this case, but I see no reason to violate the standard expert practice of leading the 10 next. Continuing with the jack indicates a short holding (at most three), and partner may worry about Q-J doubleton; but overtaking to give you a ruff is far-fetched, since declarer would hardly know to duck twice with 10-x-x. The C J gets a close second.

Shifting to a trump must settle for a distant third, as it was difficult to find a layout where this works and a club continuation fails. There is a case: If South has S A-7-4-3-2 H Q-x-x-x D K-Q-x C 2, a second club allows a dummy reversal; while a trump shift (or anything else for that matter) will set the contract. Nonetheless, catching partner with S K-Q doubleton is like winning the lottery.

Fourth place is a close call between the passive S 10 and the attacking D A. The latter may seem unnecessary; but if declarer has S A-K-Q-x-x H Q-x-x-x D Q-x-x C 2, he has 10 tricks (dummy reversal) if you don’t take three diamonds with a ruff. Conversely, if South has the guarded D K, leading the ace may give away the contract. Rather than pursue this in greater detail, I’ll yield to the voting, which overwhelmingly preferred the D A.

Leading a low spade is clearly worst (if not egregious), as declarer will deduce that you wouldn’t lead from a high honor in his first suit; hence, the S 8 from dummy may force partner’s queen or king. Nothing like a freebie!

Comments for the C 10

Barry Rigal: … I assume 3 H can be 5-4 shape and was forcing. So long as we cash our clubs, I can’t see game making — if it can be set. What am I missing?

Rob Stevens: If I lead a heart and declarer holds S A-K-Q-x-x H 10-x-x-x-x D K C x-x, he will probably just cash H A-K then [run spades] to discard clubs. A heart lead will defeat S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K C x-x; but so will three rounds of clubs…

Wuping Lu: South may have S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x.

John Lusky: I need to tap declarer if he has S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x, making it impossible to enjoy his long spade. Playing the C 10 next eliminates any chance that partner will play me for Q-J doubleton, and South a hand like S A-Q-10-9-x H Q-10-9-x-x D C 10-x-x, or S A-Q-10-9-x H Q-10-9-8 D A C 10-x-x; but partner probably should not [overtake], since declarer would have to be inspired to duck the second club…

Jim Munday: Declarer should be 5-5 in the majors, something like S A-Q-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x. A major-suit shift is not enough, as declarer has the entries to set up the long spade; a diamond is also fatal. I must tap declarer to kill the long spade, and the C 10 will clarify the suit for partner if it proves critical.

Joon Pahk: … Even if declarer ruffs, it’s a good idea to remove his hand entries before he can get spades going.

Julian Wightwick: Takes away an entry to declarer’s hand (in case he has S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x) and shows partner I have the C 10, which might avoid an accident later on.

Steve White: I need to force declarer if he has S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x. (South is not marked with the C 9, since partner didn’t know I had the 10).

Leonard Helfgott: I’ll let declarer do his own work. [Maybe] partner will score his H Q on a spade overruff. [Leading] a diamond risks declarer holding D K-x.

Adrian Barna: Destroying declarer’s timing if he holds S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x.

Dean Pokorny: An immediate club force is needed when declarer holds S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x.

Lajos Linczmayer: Partner may have C A-9-7-6-3, as [he would not signal with the nine] when South may have C 10-x. If declarer has, say, S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x, I must continue clubs to prevent him from establishing spades — so this time I vote for the obvious.

Imre Csiszar: The obvious lead appears best… Declarer may hold S A-K-Q-x-x and H 10-x-x-x-x; then if clubs aren’t cashed, he may play H A-K intending to discard clubs on spades. If we cash our clubs, he will see no reason to reject the heart finesse.

Perry Groot: It seems best to force declarer, removing an entry that he needs to establish spades. The C 10 seems better [than the jack] as it [clarifies the layout], and I want clubs continued if dummy’s king is played.

Jonathan Mestel: Attacking entries when South has S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x. Could partner really go wrong if I led the C J? I have more than a shadow of a doubt that I’ve missed the point here…

Thijs Veugen: I must continue clubs, in case South has something like S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x, to destroy his communication to set up the spade suit. The C 10 makes things clear for partner.

Thibault Wolf: If declarer has S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x, continuing clubs is important to leave him with only one more hand entry (club ruff). I hope for a trump promotion of the H 9.

Martin Byrne: Declarer can’t do everything — unless I help him. Partner shouldn’t have a problem with the systemic C 10.

Xavier Dantan: South should be 5-5,…so we have only three minor winners and need a spade (or heart) trick. I [probably] need a spade honor from partner. … Continuing clubs may be fatal to declarer’s communication. A heart shift loses our timing advantage.

Paulino Correa: South should be strong with 5-4 or 5-5 in the majors, …maybe S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x; …then only a club continuation is successful. … Another pleasant surprise would be S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x D K-Q C x-x, but beating the contract then will be easy…

Ron Landgraff: Pedestrian; but what is better? Best chance is that declarer has only four hearts and handling difficulties. South’s jump in hearts warns against partner having much more than the C A.

Tim DeLaney: There’s [little] hope unless partner has a spade honor, but leading spades does declarer’s work. … Leading a trump fails if South has S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D C x-x-x. So I lead the C 10, eventually intending to force declarer in a minor. Declarer cannot crossruff or set up spades, because my H 9 will be promoted. The C J would needlessly conceal the C 10 from partner; why confuse him?

Neelotpal Sahai: Club ruffs are hand entries for declarer to ruff spades. The C 10 is better than the C J, as it denotes the honor sequence [to partner].

John Auld: Declarer may try to ruff two spades and enjoy his long spade (with H Q-10-x-x-x). Forcing in clubs disrupts his entries.

Len Vishnevsky: Declarer has something like S A-K-4-3-2 H Q-10-8-5-2 D K-3 C 2, and I have to tap him before he sets up spades. …There’s no danger partner will misread the C 10.

Amiram Millet: Partner may have S K-x H x-x D Q-10-x-x C A-9-7-x-x…

N. Scott Cardell: Partner has the C A. If I switch to a major, declarer with S A-K-J-x-x H 10-8-x-x-x D K C x-x will cash H A-K, planning to leave the H Q out and discard two clubs on spades;…but if I continue clubs, he should take the losing heart finesse. … Leading the D A gives declarer his 10th trick with an ordinary hand like S A-K-Q-x-x H Q-x-x-x D K-x C x-x. Worst is the S 5, as it might pickle partner’s queen.

Comments for the C J

Charles Blair: If declarer is 6=5=1=1, perhaps he will play me for four hearts and S K-x-x.

Leif-Erik Stabell: South didn’t bid 4 H over 1 NT, so may be slam interested with (1) S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x-x D K-x C x, or has only four hearts with (2) S A-x-x-x-x H Q-x-x-x D K-Q-x C x, (3) S A-K-Q-x-x H Q-10-x-x D Q-x-x C x, or (4) S A-K-x-x-x H Q-10-x-x D K-x-x C x. Hand 1 is defeated by a club; Hand 2, a trump; Hand 3, a diamond; and Hand 4, anything but a diamond. A trump is passive but gives declarer the right tempo in Hand 1, a likely layout. A diamond is sometimes needed but more often fatal — and partner might have discouraged clubs with good diamonds. A club might assist with a dummy reversal (South 5=4=3=1) but keeps most options open. I prefer the C J, in case declarer has a guess in diamonds and misreads the C 10 as suit preference. TopMain

Problem 4

Rubber Bridge None Vul

West
You

1 H
2 H
North

Pass
Dbl
3 S
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South

1 C
1 S
4 S (AP)

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

You lead the H K, partner plays the 10, and South the six. Your next lead?

LeadAwardVotesPercent
H 91010214
C 4938854
H 38659
D Q59814
S A4689
S 2141

Leading your singleton is obvious, right? If not on the opening lead, surely now. Evidently, from the majority vote. The problem, of course, is how to get partner in to get a club ruff, and his H 10 does not provide an answer. While partner might have the H A, the 10 is a routine play from H 10-4 (declarer holding up with A-J-6).

Well, which is it? The H A with partner? Or a Bath coup by declarer? The bidding certainly favors the latter, as South has most of the missing high cards. And so does restricted choice: With H A-J-6* declarer’s spot card is forced, which makes it about twice as likely as a chosen spot from H J-6-4. Another clue is that South is likely to be short in diamonds (probably a singleton), suggesting that East’s only high card will be the D K, not the H A.

*Some respondents felt that declarer would win the ace with H A-J-x, but I don’t buy it. Declarer is in a precarious contract and may need all the tempo advantage he can muster, e.g., to cope with a 4-1 trump break. Even if West has seven hearts (unlikely), a second-round ruff is not necessarily fatal on most layouts, and winning the first trick may leave an insurmountable task anyway.

Further evidence against the H A with East is that with H A-10-x, an expert would almost always raise to 2 H over the negative double, except perhaps with 3=3=3=4 shape and no other high card. Even H A-10 doubleton is a long shot, as East would sometimes overtake* (especially with S 10-x-x to bring the 10 into play) rather than duck and hope West shifts to a singleton he may not have.

*East cannot (or should not) pause to consider this carefully, as any deliberation tells West he has the ace. If East does huddle, West is ethically bound to play as if East had H 10-x. If you think East should then tank with H 10-x to force West to do the right thing, you may end up like Uncle Charlie.

While far from a shadow of a doubt, or even a reasonable doubt, all indications point to a layout like this:

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

After winning the H K, suppose you lead the C 4. Declarer will realize the futility of setting up clubs (you must have a singleton for such a switch), so he’ll probably win the C A (capturing an honor), cross to the D A*, ruff a diamond, and lead a spade. Suppose you take the S A, preserving your hopes for a ruff. What can you do? Nothing. Declarer can ruff another diamond, draw a second trump, and concede a diamond to establish the last.

*Also reasonable is to lead a trump first. Suppose West wins and returns a trump (probably best); win the D A; ruff a diamond; cross to the C K; ruff a diamond; ruff a club; draw the last trump, and exit with a diamond to endplay West.

Now consider the play with a heart continuation. This seems to help declarer, completing his Bath coup, but in truth it is diabolical — or Diabolique, another great mystery film but non-Hitchcock. Logical play is to start with a low spade*, which you take with the ace to lead a third heart. Curtains. Whether declarer ruffs high or discards, there is no path to 10 tricks. Try it. I won’t go into the many variations, as it’s frustrating.

*Declarer can succeed by this line: D A; ruff a diamond; low spade, taken by West who leads a heart; ruff high; ruff a diamond; cash the S K; cross to the C K; draw the last trump, then lead the C 9 to the 10 (or duck to endplay East if he splits). Even so, this is grossly double-dummy. Declarer has no tip-off to the 5-1 club break, so normal play is to establish clubs.

Another factor against a club shift is that it’s like an alarm bell, pinpointing the distribution. In contrast, a heart continuation, even if wrong in theory, is unrevealing, and declarer may have to play double-dummy to capitalize. Sometimes, the best way to get a ruff is not to try for it. Like a Hitchcockian plot twist, give declarer a little Rope to establish his suit — then bang.

As to which heart, the nine is correct as suit preference for diamonds.* If declarer pitches on the third heart (in the diagram) and East ruffs, you don’t want him to blow the defense with a club return.

*Some would argue that West could lead the H 3, then give suit preference on the next round, but this is wrong. The first chosen card is primary, so a mixed offering of the H 3 then the H 9 would suggest slight preference for clubs. Also, partner might be ruffing the second heart, so the message may be urgent.

A close second goes to a club shift, a sound defense that needs only to find partner with the H A (or C A). While some will argue this deserves 10 (so what else is new), look at the bright side: In Al Roth’s days, it would score zero. In fact, I once made a perfect score on Al’s quiz with all zeros. Shut up; I heard that.

Despite the H 3 being equivalent in theory to the H 9, the message it delivers may cause partner to err. Therefore, I’ve demoted it to a close third. A case could be made for its deceptive value, hoping to convince declarer you have club strength, but this is doubtful. Declarer would view any advertisement of strength in his bid suit with Suspicion and probably see through it. In any case, I have far more sympathy for the club shift to earn second place.

Other leads are basically passive, posing no immediate threat and leaving declarer to his own devices. Fourth place goes to the D Q, which at least retains hope for a club ruff. Leading trumps loses this hope, though ace and another has some merit. Leading the S 2 first, however, boggles the mind to find any justification.

Comments for the H 9

Barry Rigal: Trying to weaken dummy’s trumps by leading a third heart later.

Rob Stevens: If partner has the H A, a club easily sets the contract; but that doesn’t leave declarer with much. A likely South hand is S K-10-x-x H A-J-x D x C A-x-x-x-x; then an unlikely heart continuation temporarily gives a trick, but declarer will have to ruff the third heart anyway. Now my hearts are set up, and declarer cannot succeed [barring double-dummy play].

Lajos Linczmayer: If South has S K-10-x-x H J-x-x D K-x C A-Q-J-x, I should switch to the C 4; but I expect he has H A-J-6, and partner has the C A or D K. … Shifting to spades may result in a heart-diamond squeeze or a diamond throw-in. I prefer to continue hearts then kill the H A…

Perry Groot: The C 4 seems the obvious switch, which is right when partner has the H A or C A; however, this is highly unlikely given the bidding. A heart continuation is probably into H A-J, but a third heart [nullifies] the H A, and may kill a possible squeeze in the process; e.g., when South has S 10-x-x-x H A-J-x D K C A-J-10-x-x.

Jonathan Mestel: Playing South for something like S 10-x-x-x H A-J-x D K C A-Q-x-x-x. Leading the H 3 might suggest a club void.

True, and leading the S 2 might suggest
a mental void.

Thijs Veugen: I will lead a third heart later to guarantee three spade tricks when South has S x-x-x-x H A-J-x D K-x C A-x-x-x. The H 9 shows diamond values to partner.

Bill Cubley: Now partner knows I have diamond cards…

John David Phillip: I would have led the singleton club in the first place! [Now it seems wrong].

Zoran Bohacek: This seems safer than a club, which will lose a trick in some layouts. Choice is between the H 9 and H 3.

George Klemic: Why do I get the feeling that the solution is to play partner for S K-10-x and continue hearts for a trump promotion?

Comments for the C 4

John Lusky: Partner appears to have one ace or king, and either H A-10-x, A-10 or 10-x. … If partner has the H A, I need to play a club now; and it also works if partner has the C A. If partner’s high card is something else, perhaps he can convey that by playing a low spot on the first round of clubs, then I can shift gears to a passive defense.

Jim Munday: My best chance is for partner to hold the H A. Partner can defeat the scissors coup [if South has H J-x D K-x] by ruffing the third diamond. Can partner hold H A-10-x and not raise? It’s possible, particularly with sterile distribution. The club lead also succeeds on several other layouts.

Steve White: Best chance is that partner has the H A and can use it to give me a club ruff. This is somewhat contraindicated, since he didn’t raise hearts; but he could be 3=3=3=4 or 3=3=2=5 with no honor except the H A.

David Grainger: If partner has the H A (or C A), this will beat the contract — as long as partner ruffs the third diamond (South having H J-x D K-x) or plays the D 10 on the second round if South is 4=2=1=6 and [overtakes] a stiff D K.

Manuel Paulo: If [partner has the H A], I need a club ruff to set the contract. If South holds S K-8-x-x H A-J-6 D 10 C A-8-x-x-x, or S 10-8-x-x H A-J-6 D K C A-Q-8-x-x, I must lead a heart; but declarer [might] not try a Bath coup with either hand.

Bruce Neill: Our agreement is that partner will play high from 10-x at trick one; but declarer might win with A-J-x, not risking a 7-1 break. If partner has H A-10 doubleton, he can deduce to keep his heart entry to give me a club ruff.

Will Engel: I don’t expect partner to have H A-10-x, so I’ll play South for something like S K-10-x-x H J-x-x D K C A-Q-J-10-x.

Jerry Fink: Relying on partner to hold a club trick is too dangerous. Without a heart raise, partner most likely has two…hearts; and if H A-10, I have enough time to get a club ruff…

Brad Theurer: This wins if partner has the C A (unlikely), or if he has H A-10 and correctly retained his entry… Partner is unlikely to have H A-10-x (no raise); but if he does, I’m sure he will prevent declarer’s scissors coup attempt (with S K-10-x-x H J-x D K-x C A-Q-J-x-x) by ruffing the third diamond.

Amiram Millet: Partner may have S x-x-x H A-10 D K-x-x C x-x-x-x-x, so I’ll get a club ruff later…

Comment for the H K

George W. Bush: I know I already played that card, but I’ll lead it again. Defense is nicer, when you do it twicer. If it wins again, I’ll try for three… um… La dee dah, dee dah, dee dee. TopMain

Problem 5

Rubber Bridge N-S Vul

West
You

1 S
Pass
North


2 C
5 D
East


3 S*
All Pass
South

1 D
4 D
*weak

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

You lead the S K, partner plays the eight, and South the three. Your next lead?

LeadAwardVotesPercent
C J109213
S A836951
D 67416
C 26264
H 7315421
H Q1436

What could be more obvious than leading the S A next? It’s not going to cash, of course (partner must have four spades for his weak jump raise), but it will erase dummy’s spade threat forever, in case you need to guard hearts in the endgame. It’s kind of like the police nabbing a suspect with a bloody knife in his hands after a stabbing. Could his guilt be more obvious? Perhaps not, but in Hitchcockian fare, the obvious may be an illusion; parallel lines may cross; and leading the S A may sign your death warrant.

What are declarer’s tricks? For his 4 D bid, South surely has at least six strong diamonds, which must be solid in view of dummy; and he probably has the C A to justify his aggression. That makes 10 tricks. If South has C A-x-x, he has 11 (clubs break), so you must hope for C A-x (likely since South might have raised clubs with three), giving South 1=4=6=2 shape. Partner must have the H K to have a chance. Consider a likely layout:

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

Suppose you defend routinely by leading a second spade, ruffed. After drawing trumps, declarer could eliminate clubs, then lead ace and another heart (hoping for honor-doubleton in either hand), or lead the H J and duck (hoping for H K-Q in the same hand). Much better, based on the implied 6-4 spade break (East would surely jump to 4 S with five), is to play East for club length and a heart honor. Draw two trumps ending in dummy and lead a low heart, which East must duck (else expose a finesse) to the jack and queen; West returns the C J (best) to the ace. Declarer wins the H A (Vienna coup) and runs trumps to reach:

South leads
S
H 3
D
C K Q 9
S 10
H 8
D
C 3 2
TableS
H K
D
C 10 8 6
S
H 10 5
D 10
C 7

Turn out the lights; the party’s over. On the last trump, a heart is thrown from dummy, and East is squeezed. In effect, you wasted your turn leading the S A, when you could have prevented the squeeze.

At trick two, you must shift to a club. Any club will do as the cards lie, but the jack is correct in case South has C A-8. When you gain the lead with the H Q, a second club will remove the entry necessary for the squeeze. (The H A entry is useless to declarer, as East will simply keep what dummy keeps.)

A club shift is also necessary when South has H J-9-x-x, as the same squeeze develops. If East hops with the H K (from K-10-x), declarer can run the H J to force a cover, then squeeze East with the H 9 threat.

Several respondents mentioned the danger of a club shift when South has a hand such as S 3 H K-10-x-x D A-K-J-10-x-x C 10-x. Certainly true, but I discount this, as few experts would bid 4 D on minimal values with nothing in clubs. (I would pass, as partner might be bidding 3 NT next.) Bidding 4 D should show extras, or at least a hand that improved with the 2 C bid (note how much nicer C A-x looks in the diagram).

From discussion so far, one would think the C 2 deserves second place, but closer scrutiny proves otherwise. Besides losing to C A-8, it also loses when declarer has a singleton club (1=4=7=1 shape), as he will duck in dummy (one pitch doesn’t help); then East will win the ace (even with C A-10-8-x-x) expecting West to have a singleton. Wouldn’t you? Therefore, it is better to make a passive lead (S A or a trump), ranked second and third by the voting; and the C 2 must settle for fourth.

Curiously, if the contract were six diamonds, the S A would be the winner, as failure to erase the S Q threat allows a squeeze when South has S 3 H K-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-x.

Leading a heart is worst by far. This can never be necessary to establish a heart trick (declarer must have the C A or H K), so all it does is minimize your chance to win heart tricks. Between the H 7 and H Q, low is certainly better. Leading the queen is like saying: If there’s any way to make 5 D, this should do it. Well, maybe not, as Fritz could top that by leading a low spade.

Comments for the C J

Barry Rigal: Trying to break up a squeeze when South has S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-10-9-x-x C A-x; and the jack in case of C A-8.

Rob Stevens: Breaking up the squeeze when South holds S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C A-8.

Wuping Lu: South may have S x H K-x-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x-x C 8.

Jordi Sabate: South must have the C A, so I need partner to have the H K and C 10-x-x-x. Problem is to protect against declarer having H J-10-x-x, as he will lead a heart from dummy (partner must duck) and play for divided honors, later squeezing partner. I have to lead clubs twice to break the squeeze, and I lead the C J first in case South has C A-8.

John Lusky: Necessary to protect partner from a heart-club squeeze if declarer has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-10-x-x C A-8 and starts hearts low from dummy.

Jim Munday: Partner’s S 8 suggests a heart card, and I’ll need him to hold the H K to defeat the contract. … Partner is susceptible to a rounded-suit squeeze when declarer holds something like S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-J-10-x-x C A-x. To kill the squeeze, I must lead clubs twice (once now, once when in with a heart), and the C J first lest declarer have C A-8.

Joon Pahk: … Maybe South has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8, and I need to save partner from a heart-club squeeze.

Leonard Helfgott: Partner needs either the C A or the H K (more likely) to defeat this. I must attack clubs to destroy a squeeze position (hoping partner has C 10-x-x-x), as anything else allows declarer with H J-10-x-x or J-9-x-x to [succeed]. …

David Grainger: Partner can only have one high card, so the only shape declarer might fail with is 1=4=6=2, lacking the H K. I must play the C J, in case declarer’s spot is the eight; and when declarer leads toward his H J-10-x-x (or J-9-x-x), another club will break up the squeeze on partner.

Dean Pokorny: If South has S x H K-10-9-x D A-K-J-x-x-x-x C 8, only the C J shift destroys a potential throw in against partner.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible East hand: S J-8-7-2 H K-9-x D x-x C 10-7-6-4. If I lead the S A or D 6, declarer has an easy task: [squeeze described]. To protect partner’s C 10, I lead the jack.

Lajos Linczmayer: If South has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-10-x-x C A-8, we can win two heart tricks — [provided] I protect partner’s C 10 and prevent a heart-club squeeze.

Bruce Neill: If South has S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-x, I can’t afford to defend passively. [Squeeze described]. To defeat the squeeze, I must break communication in clubs — leading the jack in case South has C A-8.

Jean-Christophe Clement: To break the club-heart squeeze if South has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8.

Imre Csiszar: This can hardly be beaten unless we win two hearts, possible if South is 1=4=6=2 lacking the H K and C 10. If he has the critical holding: H J-10-x-x C A-8, only the C J beats 5 D. [Play described].

Perry Groot: To prevent a squeeze when South has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C A-8.

Will Engel: If declarer has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-9-x-x C A-8,…partner will be squeezed if I don’t [lead a club], and I can’t afford to lead a small club. …

Jonathan Mestel: Maybe South has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8, then this breaks up a heart-club squeeze.

Thijs Veugen: Necessary when South has S 3 H K-10-9-x D A-K-J-x-x-x-x C 8, allowing partner to win and escape with a spade.

Leif-Erik Stabell: I must prevent partner from being squeezed with S J-x-x-x H K-10-x D x-x C 10-x-x-x, or similar.

Thibault Wolf: To avoid a heart-club squeeze against partner, if South has S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C A-x.

Tong Xu: To avoid an endplay when South has S x H K-J-9-x D A-K-x-x-x-x-x C 8. Partner can win the C A and exit safely.

David Caprera: If South has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C A-8, I need to break up the rounded-suit squeeze.

Jerry Fink: Declarer may have a working heart-club squeeze against partner (who will have to duck the first heart led from dummy), unless I Sabotage communication…

David Lindop: [Little] chance if declarer has seven diamonds or three clubs, so I will assume he has something like S 3 H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-10-x-x C A-x. I need to switch to a club to stop partner from being squeezed,…and the jack caters to South having C A-8.

Kauko Koistinen: If declarer has S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8 and I continue spades or shift to diamonds, he will draw trumps ending dummy and play a small heart. [Squeeze described]. To break communication, I must play the C J, then another club after winning the H Q.

Martin Byrne: Protecting partner from the impending rounded-suit squeeze.

John Reardon: This is the only defense if South has S x H J-x-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8, danger being that partner could otherwise be squeezed in hearts and clubs.

Rainer Herrmann: This is needed if declarer has something like S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-x-x-x-x C A-x, else he will play a low heart from dummy then squeeze partner in clubs and hearts.

Brad Theurer: Beginning the process of breaking transportation for a rounded-suit squeeze against partner (South having, say, S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-x). Only the C J will do when South has C A-8.

Tim DeLaney: If declarer has S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-x, he will have to duck a heart to put pressure on partner in the rounded suits. I need to lead clubs twice to sever communication — and not the C 2 first, as it gives away a trick to South’s C A-8.

Dale Freeman: Playing partner for H K-9-x and C 10-x-x-x. The C J followed by another later breaks up the squeeze on partner.

Neelotpal Sahai: If declarer has something like S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-J-10-x-x C A-x, it is important to play a club now and again when I win a heart trick.

Franco Chiarugi: If declarer has three clubs, a heart can be pitched on the fourth club, and the contract is made; so I have to play him for S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-x. If I do not attack communication immediately (with the C J of course), declarer can squeeze partner…

Carsten Kofoed: Often it won’t matter, but if South has S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8, it’s necessary to attack with the C J to break the heart-club squeeze against partner.

Douglas Dunn: Looks like there is only one spade trick. If South has something like S x H J-10-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-x, partner is going to get squeezed — unless I play clubs twice.

N. Scott Cardell: … Declarer must have six or seven good diamonds and the C A. If he has three clubs or seven diamonds (or H K, H J-10-9 or C 10), we are up the proverbial creek; so I’ll give him 1=4=6=2 distribution. The critical hand is S x H J-9-x-x D A-K-J-x-x-x C A-8 (or H J-10-x-x), [play described], in which case I must lead the C J. If declarer runs his trumps immediately then leads to the H A, I trust partner to unblock the H K… TopMain

Problem 6

Rubber Bridge Both Vul

West
You

Pass
Pass
Pass
North


1 H
2 NT
4 H
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South

1 D
2 S
4 C*
6 D (AP)
*Gerber

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

You lead the C K, partner plays the seven, and South the four. Your next lead?

LeadAwardVotesPercent
D 101013819
C 5722932
D 3613218
S 75345
H K412718
H 83659

South is a virtual bidding machine, forcing to game, then driving to slam after a baby-food check for aces. Poor North; it seems he could stop the bidding in 1 D or 6 D but nowhere in between. ‘Tis ever thus. Many times one is faced with a choice of overbids or underbids, having no way to find out if partner has the right hand. Therefore, I would not conclude that South needed only the H A for slam; more likely, he was hoping for a smidgen more and was disappointed. Been there, done that.

The auction suggests South has solid diamonds (probably at least A-K-Q-J-x-x) with four spades (probably A-K-Q-x). Further, he could hardly have two fast losers in the unbid suit, so a singleton club is virtually assured. This leaves South with two hearts, or a seventh diamond and one heart. Consider the following layout, which seems likely.

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

South is strong enough to open 2 C but rightly chose 1 D (I think) to avoid a clumsy sequence like: 2 CD; 3 D 3 NT; 4 S… help! By opening at the one level, at least he got to show spades at a reasonable level, though in the end he was compelled to overbid, else an excellent slam could be missed (e.g., opposite the H K and C A).

On the surface, it seems that declarer is destined to lose a heart trick and go down — but a superficial analysis is seldom right in a Hitchcock film, nor is it here. You are in imminent danger of being squeezed. Suppose you do the obvious and lead another club. Declarer will ruff, cash one trump, S A-K and ruff a spade, ruff a club, and lead all his trumps to reach:

South leads
S
H A 10
D
C J
S
H K 8
D
C Q
TableS J
H J 9
D
C
S Q
H Q 4
D
C

Next comes the S Q, and you can stamp yourself D.O.A. (along with Edmond O’Brien?). Your club continuation was poison, helping declarer isolate the club threat against you, and sealing your fate.

What about a spade switch? No, the S 10-9 poses another danger, giving dummy an entry in spades (whether East covers or not) to ruff one club; then a spade ruff provides an entry for a second club ruff. Curtains.

A heart shift is certainly fatal, which leaves only the trump suit. Careful! A low trump won’t do, as the trick can be won in dummy, allowing two club ruffs as before. The top award goes to the D 10, which can only be won by South. This leaves only one entry to dummy (spade ruff) without touching the H A, so declarer cannot isolate the club threat. Partner, of course, will play low if one club is ruffed.

The winning choice is a standout, as I couldn’t find any layout where another lead defeats the slam and the D 10 doesn’t. If you’re thinking that partner could have D Q-J doubleton, please! Nowhere did I say that Fritz was South. Beware October!

A distant second place goes to the mundane C 5, which is superior to other also-rans. For example, if South has S A-K-J-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4, a club continuation is fine — declarer can’t ruff two spades (your D 10 scores), and he can’t finesse in spades without removing the H A. Leading the D 3, S 7 or a heart allows declarer to succeed.

A close third goes to the D 3. While losing in my previous examples, it gains over a club continuation in a few cases. For instance, if South has S A-K-x-x H x D A-K-Q-x-x-x-x C 4, a second club leads to a double squeeze after ruffing a spade and another club; while the D 3 (or anything else) defeats the slam. Similarly, if South bid like a maniac with S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-x-x-x C 4, a club is fatal, while a low diamond is fine.

Fourth place goes to the S 7, which is worse still, creating an extra entry when South has S A-K-Q-x or A-K-J-x. This also reveals the spade lie and allows two finesses when South has S A-K-8-x or A-Q-8-x with 4=1=7=1 shape.

Worst is to lead a heart: “Take me, I’m yours!” There is little difference between the H K and H 8 if South has a singleton queen (he would hardly duck); but if South overbid with S A-K-8-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4, only the H 8 allows him to succeed (via a spade-heart squeeze). If South has S A-K-J-x H x D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C 4, a heart lead may appear better than the D 10, as it gives declarer the losing option to ruff two spades. No! Declarer should stick to his original legitimate chance (spade finesse), since the alternative could have been foiled by a trump shift.

Extra credit: If you defeat 6 D in my example deal, how many points do you score? Did I hear you say 100? Sorry! This is rubber bridge, so South will claim his honors for a washout. Score is zero. No doubt South was aware of this with his aggressive bidding. Al Roth would be pleased, too.

Comments for the D 10

Barry Rigal: Could declarer really have S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x? This time I’ll protect myself against a squeeze.

Rob Stevens: This succeeds when South has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x. The H K will break up the impending double squeeze when South has S A-K-x-x H x D A-K-Q-x-x-x-x C x; but so does the D 10 by preventing declarer from isolating the club menace.

Isolating the club menace is easy…
Bar him from the clubhouse.

Jordi Sabate: South has a singleton club. If I play a club or allow two club plays from dummy without using the H A, declarer will eliminate partner’s clubs and squeeze me (if he has H Q-x). Playing the D 10 is the only sure way [to prevent this].

John Lusky: If we can beat this, South must have taken a chance on getting help from partner in hearts or spades. He could have (1) S A-K-Q-J H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, (2) S A-K-8-x H x D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x, or (3) S A-K-J-x H x D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x. The D 10 works against Hand 1 and 2, while a low diamond allows declarer to ruff two clubs and set up a squeeze; but declarer makes on Hand 3 with a spade finesse. The H K obviously fails against Hand 1; succeeds against Hand 2; and gives declarer a losing option to ruff two spades (unless the S Q comes down) on Hand 3 — but declarer should reject that option when the defense does not play to limit spade ruffs.

Jim Munday: South has bid strongly and should hold something like S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x. Squeeze chances are present, so I must not let declarer isolate the club guard. He has one entry (spade ruff), and I must not give him another. A heart is out, as is a club; a spade creates a second entry (S 10-9) as does a low diamond (D 9). That leaves the D 10…

Joon Pahk: If declarer has something like S A-K-8-x H Q D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x, the H K also works; but I don’t want to give away the contract if he has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x.

Julian Wightwick: If South has S A-K-8-4 H Q D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x, a club continuation sets up a double squeeze, as does the D 3 allowing the D 9 entry; and a spade picks up the suit. The H K works but will look foolish if South has solid spades and H Q-x.

Charles Blair: Playing South for S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x.

Steve White: I don’t want declarer to squeeze me in hearts and clubs. This limits him to one club ruff (only one dummy entry outside hearts), so he can’t isolate the threat.

Leonard Helfgott: If I allow declarer two [club ruffs] when he holds S A-K-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-8-x-x-x C x, or S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-8-x-x C x, he will isolate the menace and squeeze me. …

Dean Pokorny: If South has S A-K-8-x H Q D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x, either the H K or D 10 works; but the D 10 is better, because he sometimes will hold an unusual S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible South hand: S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4. Leading hearts is obviously wrong; if I lead a black suit or a low trump, declarer is able to ruff two clubs in hand, then I’ll be squeezed in the rounded suits.

Lajos Linczmayer: Declarer’s most likely hand is S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, so I must not give him a 12th trick in hearts or an extra entry to dummy.

Bruce Neill: If declarer has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, a heart at trick two is sudden death; and anything but the D 10 is slow death…

Jean-Christophe Clement: To break the heart-club squeeze if South has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-x-x-x C x.

Imre Csiszar: If declarer has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, he can make 6 D on a heart-club squeeze if he can ruff out partner’s C A while preserving dummy’s H A. The D 10 lead protects against this. Strangely, if South has S A-K-Q-J, a spade lead is just as good.

Perry Groot: A safe exit, which may be necessary if South has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x.

Will Engel: To avoid the ignominy of being squeezed when declarer has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-8-x C x. If I lead a low diamond, declarer has enough dummy entries to get rid of partner’s clubs.

Jonathan Mestel: This time, the heart-club squeeze is on me.

Leif-Erik Stabell: Denies dummy a second entry, in case South has something like S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4.

Tong Xu: This restricts dummy to one entry (besides the H A), so partner can keep his C A to prevent me from being squeezed.

David Caprera: Preventing declarer (with S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-x-x-x C x) from getting an extra entry to dummy to isolate the club threat.

Jerry Fink: This time, I am the one about to get squeezed in hearts and clubs. Any other lead may give away the position immediately, or create a second dummy entry, enabling declarer to ruff out partner’s C A.

David Lindop: If declarer has something like S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4, I have to avoid being squeezed in hearts and clubs. The D 10 is necessary to avoid giving declarer two dummy entries to isolate the club menace.

Kauko Koistinen: Declarer’s hand is something like S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-8-x C x, and he can squeeze me if able to isolate the club guard. [Play explained].

Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: I won’t give dummy two entries when declarer has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x…

Paulino Correa: South has a singleton club, of course, suppose with S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4. [Losing options explained]. Leading the D 10 does not allow a second dummy entry and destroys the squeeze.

John Reardon: Looks as though the danger is a double squeeze when South has S A-K-x-x H x D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x; however, he may have bid this way with S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x. Either way, the D 10 wins. There’s no way South would have bid like this with S A-K-Q-x-x H x D A-K-x-x-x-x C x, where the D 10 costs.

Okan Ozcan: I think declarer has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, in which case anything but the D 10 allows him to make. [Play described].

Brad Theurer: Declarer should have something like S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, in which case a rounded-suit squeeze threatens if he can ruff two clubs to isolate the menace. …

Tim DeLaney: South probably has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, or similar. Danger is a heart-club squeeze against me, for which declarer must ruff two clubs to exhaust partner of clubs. [Play described].

Rob Wijman: If declarer has something like S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-8-x C x,…I must not allow him to ruff two clubs lest I become victim to a heart-club squeeze.

Nico Klaver: … If South bid 2 S with S A-K-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x-x C x, either a club continuation or a low diamond leads to a squeeze.

Nigel Guthrie: Hoping to prevent clubs from being ruffed twice for a squeeze.

Bas Oosthoek: To prevent isolating the menace when South has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x.

John Auld: An expert South has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x, or very similar. (Other doubleton hearts make the hand uninteresting.) The D 10 prevents declarer from reaching dummy twice to ruff clubs, then squeezing me.

Franco Chiarugi: South must be very strong to use Gerber after the weak answer of 2 NT — probably close to a 2 C opening: S A-K-J-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x. Leading the [D 3 or S 7] allows me to be squeezed, but the D 10 limits entries to dummy…

Mark Chen: Playing South for S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C x. I need to prevent a second entry to dummy,…else I will be squeezed in hearts and clubs.

Javier Carbonero: Preventing declarer from isolating the club threat.

George Klemic: No free dummy entries!

Roger Sun: If declarer has S A-K-Q-x H Q-x D A-K-Q-J-x-x C 4, this prevents him from eliminating partner’s club guard.

Bill Powell: To prevent declarer from isolating the club menace. TopMain

Final Notes

Comments are selected only from those scoring 47 or higher (top 232) in this contest or in the previous Overall Top 100 and above average here. For each problem, I only included comments that supported the winning defense, except for some insightful runner-up views on Problems 3 and 4, which were close. This might seem biased, but I feel it’s the most practical way to ensure solid content and to avoid potential embarrassment by publishing comments that are off the mark. Of all the eligible comments, I included about 80 percent. Inclusion of a comment does not necessarily mean I agree with it, but generally they are all worthy. If you supplied comments that were not used, I thank you for the input.

Comments are quoted exactly, except for corrections in spelling and grammar. If I use only part of a comment, an ellipsis (…) shows where text was cut. In some cases I have inserted text [in brackets] to supply an omitted word or phrase, or to summarize a cut portion. Comments appear in the order of respondents’ rank, which is my only basis for sequencing.

I am confident that my lengthy study of these problems (combined with the input of your comments) has determined the best defensive plays in theory. Nonetheless, it is possible that I overlooked something. Anyone who wishes to debate the analyses, or feels there is a reason for a scoring adjustment, is welcome to e-mail me (richard@rpbridge.net).

I hope you enjoyed the contest, as well as the memory of perhaps the greatest director of all time. Curiously, Shadow of a Doubt was Hitchcock’s personal favorite of all his films, yet its critical acclaim was mediocre (for Hitchcock). Thanks to all who entered, and especially to those who offered kind remarks about my web site. Before leaving, you can help the police pick the culprit out of this lineup:

Jim Munday: Tough set. I hope my errors will at least constitute reasonable doubt.

Barry Rigal: Hope I haven’t Hitch-cocked up too many of these!

David Lindop: “You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else.” –Uncle Charlie

Rob Wijman: I have more than a shadow of a doubt on most of my answers — but hey, what else is new?

Mike Frentz: I don’t think I’ll be getting Vertigo looking down from my perch atop the scores!

Joseph Dimuro: Does this remark even exist, beyond a shadow of a doubt? TopMain

Acknowledgments to Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt
(1943) starring Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright.
© 2007 Richard Pavlicek