Main     Puzzle 7F12 by Richard Pavlicek    

Capture the Queen

You will be spared from the bidding, but you find yourself in an optimistic slam. Obviously your only problem is the trump suit, which appears to contain two inescapable losers.

6 H by South

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

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

How can 6 H be made?

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Solution

The key is not to lead trumps until you eliminate each of the side suits. Then you can put East on lead with the H A and capture West’s queen with a rare technique known as a “smother play.”

Win the D A and ruff a diamond; cross to the S A and ruff another diamond; cross to the S K and ruff the last diamond. Next play the C K, C A, ruff a club and cash the S Q to reach the ending shown in the diagram:

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

Lead the H J (West does not cover) to East’s ace. The forced club return allows you to ruff with the 10 and capture West’s queen no matter what he does. If he overruffs, North overruffs with the king; if he underruffs, North discards a spade.

Do you see how to defeat the slam? West has to lead a trump on the opening lead! Bridge can be a crazy game sometimes.

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© 1993 Richard Pavlicek