A subtle defensive problem by Barry Rigal
Love All. Dealer North.
S QT84 S 632
H JT3 H Q865
D A7 D KQJ54
C 9842 C 5
Versace (Italy) plays 4S from the South seat after Gromoeller (Germany) had bid diamonds in the East and go quietly down one.
In the Closed Room, this was the auction:
West North East South
Lanzarotti Reps Buratti Rohowsky
Pass Pass 2C
Pass 2H(1) Pass 2S
Pass 3H Pass 3S
Pass 3NT All Pass
(1) 5-7 HCP
3NT by North was the final contract - which of course, is trivially down one on a low diamond lead - but Buratti could not see through the back of the cards and led the DQ, showing either D KQJ or D QJ without the ten.
Lanzarotti ducked this and overtook the DK with the Ace. (Had he overtaken the first diamond Reps might have false carded on the second round of diamonds, with the D6 or even the D9, to leave East with a very difficult problem.
Buratti now found the crucial switch to the HJ, and Reps won the Ace to play the D6.
This was the position:
S QT84 S 632
H T3 H Q86
D -- D J54
C 984 2 C 5
Buratti won the DJ, and the key to the defense was that Lanzarotti pitched a heart. This allowed Buratti to exit with a spade, and declarer could do nothing.
If he wins the Ace, cashes four rounds of clubs and exits with the SJ, West can win and play a heart and declarer has
to concede a heart at the end.
If Reps only takes three clubs, then West can win any spade and exit with a club to dummy to collect another spade trick at the end.
But if Lanzarotti had pitched an apparently harmless club on the DJ, Reps can succeed if he reads the position. Say Buratti plays a spade now. Reps wins the Ace and plays three clubs. In this ending, declarer has five tricks.
S QT8 S 63
H J3 H Q8
D -- D 5
C -- C --
Reps exits with the SJ, and West must win his Queen. He can either concede the rest to dummy or lead a heart and allow
declarer to take his two red suit winners, to pitch the spade losers from dummy.