Puzzle #1

1965 Contest Problem Number 1

by R. W. Wilson

The Bridge World has very strong, and very offbeat, views about the value and form of bridge puzzles--problems based on the mechanics of the game but not the usual at-the-table rules. However, in initiating this department we follow traditional guidelines.

   In a double-dummy problem, both sides play with knowledge of all 52 cards. The problem below was part of an invitational solving contest sponsored by C. D. P. Hamilton, Jr., one of the world's leading authorities on double-dummy problems.

A 7 6 4
Q 4 3
A K 10 4
A 10
K 9 8
Q 6
K 7 6 5 4 3 2

K J 10 7 6 5
J 9 8 7 2
J 9
Q J 10 5 3 2
A 9 2
5 3
Q 8

   Can South make six notrump against any lead and any defense? If so, how? If not, what defense defeats the contract?


by Kit Woolsey

   The six of diamonds lead defeats the contract. The best declarer can do is to take one diamond, one heart and three spades, then throw West in with a diamond. West must concede a club trick, but there are no red-suit entries for a squeeze. Alternatively, if a heart is ducked early to East, a diamond return cuts declarer's transportation.

   If West leads any other suit, declarer can make the contract by ducking a heart to East, later using the heart-ace entry to finesse in spades (unblocking dummy's six and seven) and leading the club queen. If West ducks, declarer finishes the black-suit winners to squeeze East between the red suits. If West covers the club queen, declarer runs spades, catching East in a progressive squeeze: if East unguards diamonds, dummy gets four diamond tricks (two extra winners); if East releases control in hearts or clubs, declarer wins a trick in the suit East abandoned to squeeze East again.

   If West's opening lead is the queen of diamonds, declarer can win in dummy and duck a heart to East. To avoid the progressive squeeze described above, East must return a diamond. South comes to the ace of hearts and runs spades (but without transferring the club control). East is squeezed one trick before dummy.

(Adapted from The Bridge Journal.)


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