Ted's Bridge World Problems

Moon Rocks

by G├ęza Ottlik


South to make 6 against any defense.

This brilliant construction embodies a number of special features, including a concept that author Hugh Kelsey termed the "lunar menace" — that is, a winner seemingly stranded on the entryless "moon", accessible only with the assistance of the defenders.

West liked the hand he picked up; he might still have liked it when he found himself on lead against a slam.  Little did he know that he was endplayed at trick one!

A red-suit lead would give up a trick in that suit, so west has to lead a spade.  Declarer ruffs with the seven, then advances the 9.  This effects a Morton's Fork Coup a play which gives LHO a Hobson's choice of grabbing the ace and giving a diamond trick, or holding up to his later disadvantage.

West ducks, the diamond queen wins, and a spade is ruffed with the eight.  The 9 is played to the ace, and the 6 is returned.  If RHO plays low, dummy wins, ruffs a spade, and draws east's last trump; if the 6 is covered by the queen, declarer wins the king, plays the three to the five, then ruffs a spade.  Either way, east is stripped of his spade control.

This is the position:


The lead of the last trump forces west to discard a spade in order to guard the red suits, as dummy sheds a diamond.  West is thrown in with the A to lead a heart, but wait!  Being no fool, he leads the J to block the suit.  Only now does the necessity of declarer's foresight become evident; winning the heart in hand, south plays back to the 10 to enjoy his moon rocks!

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