Puzzle 7F15   Main

# The Old Insurance Play

by Richard Pavlicek

After a wild auction with no way to ask about aces, you take a desperate stab at 7 NT. Seven spades would have been more sensible, but anyone could make that contract. East doubles for a club lead (dummy’s suit) while West frantically searches all over the table and on the floor to find one. With this kind of luck, you should have redoubled!

 7 NT× SouthBoth Vul — K 2 A Q J 8 K Q J 10 9 8 7 WEST4 Pass North5 Pass EastPassDbl South7 NTAll Pass 2 Q J 9 8 7 6 5 4 K 9 7 6 — 10 7 5 4 10 3 2 A 6 5 4 3 2 Lead: Q A K Q J 9 8 6 3 A 3 10 5 4 —

Still unable to find a club, West wisely leads his long suit. Which heart honor do you win at trick one, and how do you make this contract?

Warning! It is harder than it looks.

## Solution

At first sight the contract looks easy; declarer has two top hearts, eight spades and three diamonds with the finesse. But this is an illusion. Declarer cannot win three diamond tricks because of entry problems; the finesse must be postponed until the end (else declarer will be locked out of hand) and it cannot be repeated. If you played out the deal in typical fashion, you would discover the frustrating ending in the diamond suit.

The solution is to win the opening lead twice — call it an “insurance play” to guard against losing the first trick. That’s right; North’s K and South’s A must both be played at trick one. This sets the stage to put pressure on West as spades are run.

 7 NT× South — K 2 A Q J 8 K Q J 10 9 8 7 Trick1 W2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S Lead Q A K Q J 9 8 6 2ndK!2 4 5 6 7 8 9 3rd10 7 8 9 10 J Q K 4thA!45710 2 3 4 W-LW1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8 2 Q J 9 8 7 6 5 4 K 9 7 6 — 10 7 5 4 10 3 2 A 6 5 4 3 2 Lead: Q A K Q J 9 8 6 3 A 3 10 5 4 —

This leaves the following ending:

 NT win allSuccess — 2 A Q J 8 — Trick9 S10 S11 N12 S Lead 3 4 2 5 2nd J6 69 3rd 8J3Q 4th 52 73 W-LW1W2W3W4 — J K 9 7 6 — — — 3 2 A 6 5 South leads 3 3 10 5 4 —

When declarer leads his last spade, West is caught in an entry squeeze. He cannot pitch a diamond, lest the heart is pitched from dummy, and the 10 wraps up the rest; so assume he lets go his last heart. Declarer now pitches a diamond from dummy, and the simple diamond finesse is repeated using the 3 as a reentry to hand.

 Puzzle 7F15   Main Top   The Old Insurance Play