Main     Puzzle 7E79 by Richard Pavlicek    

Major Fantasy

As South, you open the bidding 1 H and quickly arrive in 6 H after a lively, competitive auction. Alas, down one.

6 H by South

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

North is quick to criticize, “Why didn’t you open one spade? With two six-card suits, bidding the higher suit is routine; then we’d get to six spades.”

“You’re just playing results,” argued South. “Surely, suit quality counts for something, and opening one heart stands out a mile.”

Down one stands out a mile too,” countered North.

“If it would make you feel any better,” quipped South, “Six spades would be down as well.”

What are the exact East-West hands?

TopMain

Solution

It is easy to construct layouts where one of the slams fails. For example, 6 H can be defeated if West holds S A-8 and East holds the H 8; but then 6 S would be a simple make. Similarly, 6 S can be defeated if West has the H 8 and East has the S 8; but then 6 H would be ice-cold.

Only one layout allows both slams to be defeated:

6 H by South (or 6 S)

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

Against either slam, West leads a club for East to ruff (or overruff dummy); then in spades, West scores the S 8 on any return.

“Oh well,” South lamented. “It was a good save, as West was cold for his 6 C bid.”

“Why save?” nagged North. “With a club stopper, all you had to do was bid six notrump and we’d be plus a bundle.”

“Good point,” agreed South. “And if I could tie you up with a stopper in your mouth, I’d have an even nicer bundle.”

TopMain

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek