Ted's Bridge World Problems

Trojan Horse

by Ted Muller, from Terence Reese


South to make 6
Opening lead: K

In his classic Reese on Play, the author presented a deal which theme was that a defender should beware the offer of a cheap trump trick.  He further contended that there was only one winning line of play, which statement unfortunately was incorrect on several counts.  This fact disturbed me, for Reese was (and remains) my all-time favorite bridge writer, and I had not previously caught him in an analytical error.  My deal merely purports to "purify" the original problem.  Adjustments to the spade and diamond spots provide a matrix in which there is but one winning line.

At trick two, a low diamond must be led from dummy!  Subsequently, declarer arranges to ruff another diamond low, draw the trumps, then use the king of hearts to access dummy's established diamonds for twelve tricks.  This solution is not at all difficult, provided that one does not greedily try for an overtrick.

The trap is for declarer to play diamonds from the top.  When south ruffs the third round of the suit, west can defeat the contract by refusing to overruff, choosing instead to discard a heart!  Should declarer later try to lose the next round of diamonds to east, west would discard his remaining heart, then trump east's heart return for the setting trick.

If declarer discards on the third diamond, he cannot ruff a diamond later without suffering an uppercut; west eventually would score a trump trick.

Playing off even one high diamond originally would be similarly fatal.  Also, any attempt to ruff two clubs in dummy would result in the dreaded trump promotion, leaving declarer at least one trick short depending upon actual play.

Note: Although the winning tactic succeeds against any choice of opening lead, the safety play is unnecessary if west starts with a spade or a diamond.

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