Puzzle #16

A Miracle of Rare Device

by Jeff Rubens

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

West leads the heart ten against South's contract of six notrump. How does South fulfill his contract against any defense? Could the contract be defeated by a different opening lead?

Solution

Declarer wins the opening lead in dummy, takes a club finesse, and leads the king of diamonds. If West takes this, declarer can later squeeze East between the minor suits. When West ducks, declarer leads a heart to dummy, takes a second club finesse, cashes the club ace, and runs hearts to reach:

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

On the lead of dummy's last heart, South discards the club three and West is squeezed. If West discards a diamond, declarer can get a diamond trick. If West discards a spade, declarer cashes two spades ending in dummy. East must keep the club king and so must reduce to one diamond, allowing declarer to make a diamond trick from the queen-eight.

An opening spade lead will defeat the contract, because a spade entry to each hand is necessary to manipulate the end-position.