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Here are two defensive problems. See how you go!

 

North
AJ54
AKQ7
K5
J62
East
K102
J32
Q
AQ10975
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

 

 Note: Matchpoint scoring

 Partner leads the club 8 and dummy plays low. Well, all partner needs is a diamond stopper and a second club to be a real chance to beat this, so you put in the 9.

South wins and cashes the ace, king and queen of hearts, discarding a low spade and starts to run diamonds. Partner shows that he began with 1098 alone...

Rats! Partner has let us down again!

What are your thoughts? Is there some holding that partner can have to make up for his disappointing performance so far?

 

Lawrence
Q873
10864
1098
84
Paulsen
AJ54
AKQ7
K5
J62
Hamman
K102
J32
Q
AQ10975
Hugh Ross
96
95
AJ76432
K3
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
8
2
9
K
3
1
0
5
6
A
2
1
2
0
K
3
9
4
1
3
0
Q
J
6
8
1
4
0
K
Q
2
8
1
5
0
5
2
A
9
3
6
0
J
10
4
5
3
7
0
7

 

This deal comes from Ivan Erdos's Bridge a la Carte, published in 1966. It's on page 102, "A favorite hand of Robert Hamman."

Hamman:

My partner, Mike Lawrence, led the club 8, dummy played low and I played the 9, declarer winning the king....

South cashed the Ace, King, Queen of hearts and started to run the diamonds. At this point it occurred to me that if I am a truly great player, my partner will have the club 4 and hold on to it. If declarer holds that card and I must guard clubs, Mike must guard hearts and that doesn't leave anyone to protect spades. Therefore, I must abandon the club suit as soon as dummy's clubs are exhausted and pray that partner keep that club.

It all ended well when Lawrence did hold the club 4 until the end and declarer made only 6-odd.

 

Very nice!

Still, the deal is arguably slightly flawed for a mean nitpicker might say, "Well, Bob, you could have saved poor old Mike from some torture by winning trick one!"

With that in mind...

... try your luck at defending another deal, this time 7NT:

West
Q108
J965
9754
83
North
AK75
AKQ8
QJ
Q104
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
7N
P
P
P

 

You decide to lead the 8 of clubs. South cashes the Ace, King, Queen of hearts, and starts to run the diamonds, partner having begun with a small singleton. On the third and fourth diamond dummy discards a spade and a club; partner pitches clubs all the way.

What do you discard when the second-last (fifth) diamond is played?

 

Forquet
Q108
J965
9754
83
North
AK75
AKQ8
QJ
Q104
Garozzo
J964
107
3
KJ9765
South
32
432
AK10862
A2
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
7N
P
P
P
D
7NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
8
10
J
A
3
1
0
2
6
A
7
1
2
0
K
10
3
5
1
3
0
Q
9
4
9
1
4
0
Q
3
2
5
1
5
0
J
5
K
4
3
6
0
A
7
4
6
3
7
0
10
9
5
7
3
8
0
8
9

 

This deal comes from Pietro Forquet's Bridge with the Blue Team, published in 1971. It's on page 146 (Gollancz, 1987), Honour Cards Are Not The Only Important Ones.

Forquet:

In a friendly match against a French team I was West and had to face the problem of defending against this grand slam...

[You can follow the play, above]

Forquet:

If on South's 8 of diamonds you decided to let go of that insignificant 3 of clubs, you have just guaranteed the success of the grand slam. This would lead to this four-card ending:

Forquet
Q108
J
North
AK7
8
Garozzo
J94
K
South
32
6
2
D

 

Forquet:

Now on South's final diamond, West has to discard a spade to hang on to the heart guard. whereupon North can let go the 8 of hearts, whose task has been completed, and East becomes squeezed in spades and clubs.

Foreseeing this double squeeze, I jealously guarded my 3 of clubs and instead discarded the 8 and 10 of spades on the last two diamonds. Thus the grand slam was bound to fail.

 

Now isn't that tidier? Not a matter of overtricks but the fate of a grand slam. Yes, it's just wonderful to see Forquet "foresee" that double squeeze. But did he perchance see something much earlier?

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