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A foresighted, double-dummy defense
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West
432
A82
AKQJ96
J
North
976
10842
Q105432
East
KQ1096
54
753
A97
South
AJ875
KQJ103
K86
W
N
E
S
P
1
2
P
2NT
3
3NT
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Opening lead: A.

What do you think: 4 makes or goes down?

 

NOTE: This deal came up in the finals of Ankara Teams Championship in 2005. Although a double-dummy contract may not be interesting for everyone since a software can handle it faultlessly, I still find this one worth putting forward. I made use of the Deep Finesse in analyzing it.

4 goes down. Yet, it takes 9 correct MOVES consecutively made by either West or East, whosever turn it is.

West
432
A82
AKQJ96
J
North
976
10842
Q105432
East
KQ1096
54
753
A97
South
AJ875
KQJ103
K86
W
N
E
S
P
1
2
P
2NT
3
3NT
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Trick 1: Declarer ruffs A with K.

Trick 2: Declarer puts down K. East should duck this (MOVE 1). [Declarer should not have a  in hand to reach good s in dummy when A is taken. So, A should be ducked twice.]

Trick 3: Declarer plays 6. West should ruff this (MOVE 2). [If West does not ruff, since East has to duck it (as said above), then declarer can collect 10 tricks via crossruff.]

Trick 4: West should play a  (MOVE 3). Declarer discards a  from dummy, East gives Q, and A wins. [If West does not play a  now to force declarer later to ruff in dummy (shortening dummy’s trumps), there is no way to set 4.]

Trick 5: Declarer plays 8. West should pitch a , not a  (MOVE 4). East wins A. [If West pitches a , (since East has to play K at trick 6) declarer can score J and then get to 10 tricks by crossruffing.]

Trick 6: East should play K (MOVE 5). Declarer ruffs with 6 in dummy. [As noted in Trick 4, the defensive plan is to shorten dummy’s trumps.]

This is the position in the last 7 cards. EW took 2 tricks; North is to play.

The position now (EW took 2 tricks, North is to play):

West
A8
KQJ96
North
97
108
543
East
1096
54
75
South
J87
QJ103
D

Trick 7 - VARIANT 1: North plays a good . East should discard a  (MOVE 6). Declarer ruffs with Q. West should also discard a  (MOVE 7). Note that if East ruffs or discards a  on the good , the contract can be made.

    Trick 8: Declarer plays J. West should ruff with 8 (MOVE 8). Declarer overruffs with 9.

    Trick 9: Declarer plays another good . East ruffs (MOVE 9). And declarer has no good move left.

 

Trick 7 – VARIANT 2: Declarer plays 7 and puts up Q from hand. West should duck this, baring her/his A (MOVE 6).

    Trick 8: Declarer plays J. West discards a  (MOVE 7).

    Trick 9: Declarer plays a . West pitches another  (MOVE 8). Declarer ruffs in dummy.

    Trick 10: Declarer plays a good . East ruffs with his/her last  (MOVE 9). And 4 is down.

 

On one hand, it is the most foresighted (9 tricks ahead) and most cooperative defense I’ve ever noticed in a table deal. On the other hand, the theme seems pretty simple: to prevent declarer from reaching dummy's good s while in trump control. No fancy stuff, no squeeze, no endplay... Well, perhaps what complicates it is the crossruff threat.

NOTES:

(1) On 2 lead, it seems to be easier to set 4 because now the crossruff threat is eliminated. However, still the defense should be careful. Now, declarer wins K, plays a , and East ducks it. Declarer continues with a second ; West should not ruff this and East should not win A. Or, if East wins A, (s)he should return a  right away and West should not ruff this...

On A lead: declarer unblocks K. Now, West should play a  immediately. For other leads, the same logic works out for the defense.

(2) If declarer's s were AJT32, 4 could be made on A and J leads. However, if declarer had AJT82, it could be made on A, J and A leads. [On A lead and a return (only chance), now declarer follows a different line to put East into trouble!]

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