Puzzle 7F35   Main

The Tell-Tale Double

by Richard Pavlicek

Can you take advantage of West’s ill-judged double to make this slam?

 6 NT× SouthNone Vul K J 3 3 2 A K A Q J 10 9 8 WestPassPassDbl NORTH1 2 3 NTPass EastPassPassPassPass South1 2 NT6 NTPass A 10 8 7 K 9 8 10 9 8 K 6 5 6 5 4 7 6 5 4 7 6 5 4 7 2 Lead: 10 Q 9 2 A Q J 10 Q J 3 2 4 3

Assuming the defense is perfect (unlike the bidding), how can 6 NT be made?

Solution

Declarer’s problem is to get to his hand twice to repeat the club finesse. Note that if a high spade is led from dummy, West will hold off his ace to prevent declarer from reaching his hand with the queen. There seems to be no way around this, and the defense should prevail.

Hold the presses! Declarer has a clever maneuver available:

 6 NT× South K J 3 3 2 A K A Q J 10 9 8 Trick1 W2 N3 N4 W Lead 10 K J!? 2ndA54 3rd43Q! 4th28A W-LW1W2L1 A 10 8 7 K 9 8 10 9 8 K 6 5 6 5 4 7 6 5 4 7 6 5 4 7 2 Lead: 10 Q 9 2 A Q J 10 Q J 3 2 4 3 West is endplayed

First cash the top diamonds to unblock the suit, then lead the J from dummy and overtake with the queen. Thanks to the crucial 9, West has no effective defense; if he wins the A, any return allows you to finesse clubs twice for 12 easy tricks.

If instead West ducked the Q, you would be in your hand to take the club finesse, return to the A, cash your remaining diamonds, and repeat the finesse.

 Puzzle 7F35   Main Top   The Tell-Tale Double