Ted's Bridge World Problems

Down for the Count

by G├ęza Ottlik


South to make 5
Opening lead: 6

This is yet another venture into the remarkable world of the knockout — wherein a defender is squeezed in three suits, including trumps.

Although west had six winning choices, his partner bid spades, so he leads one.  Declarer wins the ace and promptly ruffs a spade with the king!  West already is squeezed.  A diamond discard would enable declarer to set up the game-going trick in diamonds, and letting go a heart would allow the establishment of dummy's fourth card in that suit.  West is forced to "discard" a trump.

The Q is led and, if west plays low, follow with the jack.  Topping the K with the ace, declarer ruffs a spade with the Q!  West is no better off than before; he is compelled to discard another trump.

If declarer still has a heart, he cashes it, then leads a diamond.  If west takes the ace to lead a trump, declarer wins in hand and plays a diamond to the ten, enabling him to ruff a diamond in dummy.  So west ducks the diamond lead (not that it matters anyway).  By now you know the drill: win the K and ruff a spade with the ten!

This final blow knocks west down for the count.  He still cannot afford a red discard, so he must let go of yet another club.  Now trumps are drawn in one round, and declarer enjoys a diamond ruff at his leisure, having effectively executed a dummy-reversal with a 6-2 fit!

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