Main     Puzzle 7F46 by Richard Pavlicek    

Slam Dunk

Being dealt a seven-card suit, you feel a Goren-given license to preempt, but it might have been wise to look at the vulnerability first. Partner has no way to check on your sanity, so he checks for aces instead and puts you in 6 S. Appropriately, this overbid seems unmakable as the cards lie.

Problem
6 S S K 10
H K 10 9 8
D A K 9 8
C A K 6
N-S Vul

West

Pass
Pass


North

4 NT
6 S


East

Pass
All Pass


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

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

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

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Solution

Suppose West leads the D 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. A squeeze for 12? Perhaps a double ruffout squeeze in the red suits? No, because entries are lacking; West will not allow the third club to be won in dummy, and when in with the S Q he will remove your diamond entry.

A different tack is required. Win the D K and ruff a heart; then double-finesse and win three club tricks, using each dummy entry to ruff another heart.

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

From the ending, lead a diamond to the ace and ruff the last heart. If West kept the D J, cross to the S K and exit with a diamond to endplay West in trumps. If West unblocked the D J, cash the S A and exit with a diamond to East; then West’s S Q will be smothered on the return. South
leads
S K 10
H K
D A 9 8
C
S Q 3 2
H Q
D J 7
C
Table S J
H A 5
D 10 6
C 5
S A 9 8 7
H
D 4 3
C

Could West have altered the outcome by leading the H Q or C Q? No, declarer can reach the same ending. A slam dunk!

Well, dunk this. If you chose to defend, you were right. If West leads a trump, declarer must commit to winning the king or ace, then West can unblock or not in diamonds to foil any endplay. No squeeze works either. Down one, and just deserts for the 3 S bid.

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© 1997 Richard Pavlicek