Puzzle 7F12   Main

# Capture the Queen

by Richard Pavlicek

The bidding may make you nauseous, but suppose you’re declarer in this optimistic slam. Obviously your only problem is the trump suit, which appears to contain two inescapable losers.

 6 SouthE-W Vul A K 5 4 K 2 A 5 4 3 A 3 2 WestPassPass North6 EastPass SOUTH3 Pass J 10 9 Q 4 3 Q J 10 9 J 10 9 8 7 6 A K 8 7 6 Q 8 7 6 5 Lead: Q Q 3 2 J 10 9 8 7 6 5 2 K 4

It would be sweet if West would “cover an honor with an honor” when you lead the J, but you know he will play low.

## Solution

The key is not to lead trumps until you eliminate all the side suits. Win the A and ruff a diamond; cross to the A and ruff another diamond; cross to the K and ruff the last diamond. Next play the K, A, and ruff a club.

 6 South A K 5 4 K 2 A 5 4 3 A 3 2 Trick1 W2 N3 S4 N5 S6 N7 S8 S9 N Lead Q 3 2 4 3 5 K 4 3 2ndAK971089107 3rd6 5A 6K 72A 8 4th296107J56J W-LW1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9 J 10 9 Q 4 3 Q J 10 9 J 10 9 8 7 6 A K 8 7 6 Q 8 7 6 5 Lead: Q Q 3 2 J 10 9 8 7 6 5 2 K 4

This leaves the following ending:

 win 3Success 5 4 K 2 — — Trick10 S11 S12 E Lead Q J 8 2ndJ3 9 3rd42? 4th8A W-LW1L1 J Q 4 3 — — 8 A — 8 7 South leads Q J 10 9 — —

Next cash the Q and lead the J (West does not cover) to East’s ace. The forced club return allows you to ruff with the 9 and capture West’s queen no matter what he does — a rare technique called a “smother play.” If West overruffs, you overruff with dummy’s king; if West underruffs, you pitch the spade.