Puzzle 7F46   Main

# Slam Dunk

by Richard Pavlicek

Being dealt a seven-card suit, you feel a Goren-given license to preempt, but it might have been wise to check the vulnerability first. Alas, partner has no way to check your sanity, so he checks for aces and puts you in slam. Justifiably, 6  seems unmakable as the cards lie.

 6 SouthN-S Vul K 10 K 10 9 8 A K 9 8 A K 6 WestPassPassPass North4 NT6 EastPassPass SOUTH3 5 Pass Q 3 2 Q J 7 6 Q J 7 Q J 7 J A 5 4 3 2 10 6 5 5 4 3 2 Lead: ? A 9 8 7 6 5 4 — 4 3 2 10 9 8

With West able to lead whatever he wants, can 6 be made against best defense?

Overbidders, place your bets!  Would you rather play or defend?

## Solution

Suppose West leads the Q, killing an entry to dummy and retaining the option to unblock diamonds. Declarer has 11 tricks with the double club finesse, and a trump loser seems inevitable. Is there a squeeze for 12? Perhaps a double ruffout squeeze in the red suits? No, because of entry problems; West will not allow the third club to be won in dummy, and when in with the Q he will remove your diamond entry.

A different tack is required.

 6 South K 10 K 10 9 8 A K 9 8 A K 6 Trick1 W2 N3 S4 N5 S6 N7 S Lead Q 8 8 9 9 10 10 2ndK2J3Q47 3rd5 4K 5A 66 4th26273J4 W-LW1W2W3W4W5W6W7 Q 3 2 Q J 7 6 Q J 7 Q J 7 J A 5 4 3 2 10 6 5 5 4 3 2 Lead: Q A 9 8 7 6 5 4 — 4 3 2 10 9 8

Win the K and ruff a heart; then double-finesse and win three club tricks, using each dummy entry to ruff another heart. This will be the ending:

 win 5Success K 10 K A 9 8 — Trick8 S9 N10 S11 S Lead 3 K A 4 2ndJA27 3rdA 7108 4th6QJ10 W-LW1W2W3L1 Q 3 2 Q J 7 — J A 5 10 6 5 South leads A 9 8 7 — 4 3 — Win the rest

Next lead a diamond to the ace and ruff the last heart. If West kept the J, cross to the K and exit with a diamond to endplay West in trumps. If West unblocked the J, cash the A and exit with a diamond to East; then West’s Q will be smothered on the return.

Could West have altered the outcome by leading the Q or Q? No, declarer can reach the same ending.

### A slam dunk?

Yes, but depending on interpretation. If you chose to defend, you were correct. West can “dunk” the slam with a trump lead. Declarer must commit whether to win the ace or king, then West can unblock or not in diamonds to foil any endplay. No squeeze works either.

Down one — and just deserts for the 3 opening.

 Puzzle 7F46   Main Top   Slam Dunk