Puzzle #15

Inferential Problem

by Nils Traane

 NORTH ♠ A Q 6 4 ♥ A 4 2 ♦ A K 8 ♣ 8 7 6 SOUTH ♠ 8 2 ♥ K J 9 8 7 ♦ 10 9 7 ♣ K J 4

South declares a heart contract after West showed 11-13 high-card points and some 4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2 distribution. West, who has the best poker hand, leads a spade that is not an honor, and South can make 12 tricks against any defense.

What is the full deal, and how does South make 12 tricks?

#### Solution

 NORTH ♠ A Q 6 4 ♥ A 4 2 ♦ A K 8 ♣ 8 7 6 WEST ♠ K J 3 ♥ 10 6 5 3 ♦ Q J 3 ♣ A 3 2 EAST ♠ 10 9 7 5 ♥ Q ♦ 6 5 4 2 ♣ Q 10 9 5 SOUTH ♠ 8 2 ♥ K J 9 8 7 ♦ 10 9 7 ♣ K J 4

Declarer can make 12 tricks against the most challenging defense with spade queen, heart king, heart nine (covered) to the ace, heart jack, diamond ten (covered) to the ace, spade ace, spade ruff, and the last heart, dummy discarding a club. Then, after two diamond tricks ending in dummy (by leading the nine of diamonds), East is forced to keep his last spade, so he must reduce to two clubs, allowing declarer to make two club tricks.