Puzzle 7F30   Main

Minor Endplays

by Richard Pavlicek

After two routine bids, East’s raise to 4 created a stampede. South probably should have settled for a profit, but he was enamored by the spade void into a brash 5  bid. This contract appears destined to fail, despite the favorable club position.

 5 SouthN-S Vul Q 3 2 K 2 A Q 9 8 A Q 10 2 WEST1 Pass North1 NTPass East4 Pass South5 A K 6 5 4 Q 8 6 10 2 K J 4 J 10 9 8 7 10 9 K J 6 4 8 6 Lead: K — A J 7 5 4 3 7 5 3 9 7 5 3

The only hope to make 5 seems to be to catch East in an endplay. His diamond holding certainly looks ripe for it, but it’s a lot easier said than done.

Can you find the winning line looking at all four hands?

Solution

To make 5 it is necessary to catch East in two endplays (you noticed my plural title, didn’t you?), the first time to break the club suit. A club lead by East may seem useless (declarer can win four clubs on his own), but it is needed to allow declarer to win the fourth round of clubs in dummy, which is crucial for an eventual diamond endplay.

 5 South Q 3 2 K 2 A Q 9 8 A Q 10 2 Trick1 W2 S3 N4 E5 N6 S Lead K J! 2 6 3 A 2nd2Q10788 3rd7K4K 5 8 4th 396A4 4 W-LW1W2L1W3W4W5 A K 6 5 4 Q 8 6 10 2 K J 4 J 10 9 8 7 10 9 K J 6 4 8 6 Lead: K — A J 7 5 4 3 7 5 3 9 7 5 3

Ruff the opening lead and table the J, queen, king; then duck the next heart forcing East to win. He cannot lead a spade (you would just discard a diamond) so assume he leads the 6, seven, king, ace. Ruff a spade, then draw West’s last trump to reach this ending:

 win 6Success Q — A Q 9 Q 10 2 Trick7 S8 N9 S10 N11 S Lead 9! 2 3 Q 3 2ndJ 9 5J2 3rdQ510 79 4th84 106J W-LW1W2W3W4L1 A 6 5 — 10 2 J 4 J 10 9 — K J 6 8 South leads — 7 7 5 3 9 5 3 East squeezed, lose 1

Lead the 9 to pin East’s eight; assume West covers with the jack and you win the queen. Now lead the 2 to your precocious five, then your last club to dummy’s 10, which squeezes East. If he keeps two spades and two diamonds, you can set up a diamond while you have a trump left. If he keeps one spade and three diamonds, ruff the spade and then endplay him by finessing in diamonds.

Note that it would make no difference if East led the 8 earlier (South plays the nine) or if West failed to cover. Declarer can always win the fourth club in dummy after East breaks the suit.

 Puzzle 7F30   Main Top   Minor Endplays