Main Puzzle 7F75 by Richard Pavlicek
Come here, Timothy, called the Professor. Youre just the guy were looking for. Weve been creating a bridge puzzle, and we need to test it on a pigeon, er, I mean, a reputable player. The professor shoved a napkin with the diagram toward Timothy. South leads, and he cannot win all the tricks.
A Q 10
Q 5 3
K J 9
J 4 2
Q 10 5
K J 9 3
Whats trump? asked Timothy.
Thats the problem! answered the professor. You must tell me. The only information you have is that South is on lead, and best defense will always win a trick. You must determine which suit, if any, is trumps.
Very good, acknowledged the Professor.
If spades are trumps, it plays just like notrump after drawing trumps, so we can rule that out, added Timothy.
Right again! said the Professor. Two down, three to go.
Hmm, thought Timothy. In each of the other suits it looks like the defenders can win a trump trick. Aha! I think I can develop a trump coup in diamonds, maybe in hearts, too. Therefore, the trump suit must be clubs. Thats it! Clubs are trumps.
Good try, consoled the Professor, but youre overlooking something. In clubs, there is no ordinary trump coup against one opponent, but theres a coup in tandem, known as a Devils Coup. Win two diamonds with a finesse, cash the A, finesse in hearts, and lead the K. What can West do? If he ruffs high, overruff with the queen, finesse the 7, and ruff your last heart in dummy. If he ruffs with a spot, overruff cheaply and lead the Q; East must ruff high to have any chance, so you overruff, then Wests jack is trapped. Finally, if West discards the K, pitch the diamond from dummy and lead your last heart; again the defense is helpless to win a trick. Powerful clubbies there!
I see, said Timothy. So its down to hearts and diamonds. A trump coup looks easier in diamonds, so Ill guess that hearts must be trump for the defense to prevail. Am I right?
No, but your close, bemused the Professor. In hearts, you can easily win all the tricks; in fact, you dont even need the diamond finesse. Win the A, ruff a diamond, cross to the A, finesse in hearts, and win two clubs ending in dummy. The answer, of course, is that diamonds are trumps.
It may seem like a trump coup will work in diamonds, continued the Professor, but it runs aground because West can sacrifice his trump trick and leave you short of winners. For example, suppose you win the A, finesse in hearts, and lead the K; West simply ruffs (losing his trump trick) but you are left with a club loser no matter what you do.
Interesting, replied Timothy. Ill remember this the next time I forget which suit is trumps. Wait a second! Theres something about this ending that seems fishy. Hmm yes, indeed. You are nothing but a bunch of crooks!
What caused Timothy to make such an accusation?
© 1978 Richard Pavlicek