Ted's Bridge World Problems

The Old Salt

by George Coffin, with Ted Muller


West declares 4 against the lead of the K.

Dummy's club ace is ruffed by south, who returns the heart king.  How does declarer guarantee the contract?

This problem is somewhat flawed by the conditions.  In real life, should south hold the diamond ace, then declarer could lead a diamond to the king for a tenth trick; whereas, if north has that card, then a diamond return by south at trick two could defeat the contract off the top.  Additionally, a dedicated reader has observed that an alternative solution was available by way of an endplay on north; so the club spots have been rearranged to render the composer's elegant suggestion the only line that is guaranteed to work.

The heart return is ruffed high, and two more trumps are drawn.  Now declarer leads the 5, and north falls victim to a classic Morton's Fork Coup.  If he grabs the Q, then there are enough winners to discard three of declarer's diamonds; the clubs are unblocked, and the 9 is used as an entry to dummy.

Alternatively, if north ducks the club lead, then declarer's remaining club is dumped on the A.  Thereafter, two diamonds might be lost; but a crossruff handles the remainder.

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