Puzzle #2

The Case of the Doubleton Jacks

by Jeff Rubens

   The previous puzzle was a double-dummy problem of the traditional form. It displayed some interesting play variations and a final result that was not obvious at first glance. A positive feature was that it did not depend on verification of the outcome of numerous variatons and subvariations. In fact, it lacked only one of the prime aspects that we believe a double-dummy problem could have, a technique that can be applied in practical play. The new puzzle incorporates that idea.

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

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


   South can make the contract. The most testing defense is an opening spade lead from West. On any other lead, South can win, drive out the club ace, win the return, cash any remaining heart honors in dummy, reenter the South hand with a spade, and run the remaining black-suit winners, squeezing East between spades and diamonds. (A spade lead, followed by a spade continuation when East wins the ace of clubs, denies South the transportation to cash dummy's top hearts.)

   After a spade lead, South wins, cashes one high heart, then establishes clubs. To evade the squeeze described in the previous paragraph, East must return a spade after winning the ace of clubs. South wins, then runs clubs, discarding the remaining heart honor from dummy, and catching East in a three-suit squeeze that gains two tricks: If East ever discards a diamond, dummy's diamonds are winners; alternatively, if East establishes South's spade eight or heart jack, declarer can cash that new winner to squeeze East again.

(Adapted from The Bridge Journal.)


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