Puzzle 7F75   Main

# What’s Trump?

by Richard Pavlicek

Timothy Tenace arrived at the club early for his regular game with Grover. As soon as he walked through the door, he spotted his nemesis Professor Freebid holding court at a corner table.

“Come here, Timothy,” called the Professor. “You’re just the guy we’ve been looking for! We’re creating a bridge puzzle and need to test it on a pigeon, er, I mean a reputable player.” The professor shoved a napkin with a diagram toward Timothy.

“South leads and cannot win all the tricks.”

 E-W win 1 A 2 A Q 10 Q 5 3 8 4 K J 9 J 4 2 7 Q 10 5 6 5 10 6 South leads 5 K J 9 3 4 K 7

“That’s 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.”

## Solution

“Well, let’s see.” Timothy studied the napkin. “In notrump declarer has one spade, two hearts with a finesse, two diamonds with a finesse and two clubs. That makes seven, and it looks like a simple squeeze against West in the minors. Yes, eight tricks are easy in notrump.”

“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. That’s it! Clubs are trumps.”

“Good try,” consoled the Professor, “but you’re overlooking something. In clubs, there is no ordinary trump coup against one opponent, but there’s a coup in tandem, known as a Devil’s Coup.

 win allSuccess A 2 A Q 10 Q 5 3 Trick6 S7 N8 N9 N10 S Lead 4 A A 2 K 2nd9675? 3rdQ 35J 4th5J84 W-LW1W2W3W4 8 4 K J 9 J 4 2 7 Q 10 5 6 5 10 6 South leads 5 K J 9 3 4 K 7

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 West’s 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 it’s down to hearts and diamonds. A trump coup looks easier in diamonds, so I’ll 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 don’t even need the diamond finesse.

 win allSuccess A 2 A Q 10 Q 5 3 Trick6 S7 N8 S9 N10 S11 S Lead 4 10 5 2 K 7 2nd968524 3rdA 3A93Q 4th5J74610 W-LW1W2W3W4W5W6 8 4 K J 9 J 4 2 7 Q 10 5 6 5 10 6 South leads 5 K J 9 3 4 K 7 Win the rest

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.”

 win allFailure A 2 A Q 10 Q 5 3 Trick6 S7 N8 N9 S10 N Lead 4 A 2 K A 2nd975 J!6 3rd1059 Q 3 4th58410K W-LW1W2W3W4W5 8 4 K J 9 J 4 2 7 Q 10 5 6 5 10 6 South leads 5 K J 9 3 4 K 7 Lose the last trick

“For example, suppose you finesse the 10, cash 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. “I’ll remember this the next time I forget which suit is trumps.”

### What the F…?

“Wait a second!” Timothy hollered. “There’s something fishy about this puzzle. Indeed… You’re nothing but a bunch of crooks!”

What caused Timothy to make such an accusation?