Main     Puzzle 7F39 by Richard Pavlicek    

Unblock Buster

Partner’s 6 C bid was right on the money — but no-o-o. You had to be a pig and correct to 6 NT. One thing is for sure: You will never hear the end of this board if you go down. Matchpoints be damned. Either make this slam against any defense, or incur partner’s wrath forever.

Problem
6 NT S
H A 10 9 4
D A K 9 5 4
C A J 10 9
None Vul

West

Pass
Pass
All Pass


North
1 D
2 H
6 C


East
Pass
Pass
Pass


South
1 S
3 C
6 NT
S 4 3 2
H K Q 6 5
D Q 10 2
C 5 4 3
Table S Q J 10 9 8 7
H 8 7
D 8 7 6
C Q 2
Lead: H K S A K 6 5
H J 3 2
D J 3
C K 8 7 6

The lucky diamond lie allows you to win five diamond tricks if you can get to your hand twice to finesse, but that’s the problem. You have only one entry, so somehow you must elicit the opponents’ help.

How can 6 NT be made?

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Solution

You must win the H A, else a club shift would be fatal. Suppose you continue with the H 10, hoping to create a heart entry to hand. West will duck. East will also defend shrewdly by unblocking the C Q on the first round, lest he be endplayed with that card as a stepping-stone to your hand. Opponents can see four hands too!

The only winning line is to lead the C A at trick two to force East to commit himself. If he unblocks the queen, next cash the C J.

Solution
6 NT S
H A 10 9 4
D A K 9 5 4
C A J 10 9
Trick
1. W
2. N
3. N
W 3 L 0
Lead
H K
C A!
C J
2nd
A
Q!
2
3rd
7
6
7
4th
2
3
4
S 4 3 2
H K Q 6 5
D Q 10 2
C 5 4 3
Table S Q J 10 9 8 7
H 8 7
D 8 7 6
C Q 2
S A K 6 5
H J 3 2
D J 3
C K 8 7 6

From the position at right, lead the H 4 and play the three from hand. Unblock that! If West wins the trick, you will have the H J entry to hand. If East wins the H 8, he is forced to put you in hand with a spade (else assist with a diamond lead) and you can easily win the rest. The North hand will be high, as the two remaining hearts go away on your top spades. North
leads
S
H 10 9 4
D A K 9 5 4
C 10 9
S 4 3 2
H Q 6 5
D Q 10 2
C 5
Table S QJ10987
H 8
D 8 7 6
C
S A K 6 5
H J 3
D J 3
C K 8

Variation: If East fails to unblock the C Q, next lead the H 10 to force West to duck. Then sacrifice a club trick to stuff East on lead.

Trap: If East keeps the C Q and you win a second club with your king, you will fail. If you finesse diamonds once and then try the heart-duck endplay, East will return a diamond to lock you in dummy.

I guess this proves that you knew how to bid all along — on your own planet.

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© 1996 Richard Pavlicek