DECLARER PLAY PROBLEM #17

Rubber bridge
West dealer
Neither side vulnerable

 NORTH ♠ Q 8 3 2 ♥ 6 3 2 ♦ Q 10 ♣ J 8 5 2 SOUTH ♠ A J 10 9 4 ♥ A K 7 ♦ 9 4 2 ♣ A 6
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
1 Pass1
Double2 PassPass
2 3 3 Pass
PassPass

West leads the king, ace and jack of diamonds; East plays the five and then the three.

Plan the play.

Solution

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

TRANSFER THE RUFF. Faced with four sure side-suit losers, South must avoid losing a trump trick. Unless the king of spades is singleton (only a small chance), South must finesse. The bidding and early play mark East with two diamonds and four hearts. So, South can force an entry to dummy for the trump finesse by discarding a heart from dummy on the third round of diamonds, a loser-on-loser play. Later, declarer enters dummy with a heart ruff to lead spades. Care must be used in finessing trumps to retain the lead twice in dummy in case of a four-zero split. Declarer can lead the eight (playing his own four), then the queen; or, declarer can begin with dummy's queen (playing a middle spade from the closed hand), then the spade eight.

If West leads a fourth round of diamonds, South should ruff in dummy, discarding his losing club unless East overruffs.

(Based on a deal and analysis from the 1963 National Intercollegiate Par-Hand Bridge Tournament by William S. Root and Lawrence Rosler.)

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