Contract bridge: recognition of frozen suit leads declarer to compel opponents to help
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A bad trump break and a frozen suit combined to cause most declarers to fail in this game contract. Can you do better?
West led Q♥. Most declarers won, played ♠AK and then breached diamonds. East took dummy’s J♦ with K♦; West took declarer’s Q♦ with A♦; one or other won 9♦ or 10♦ subsequently. Together with the trump trick, the three diamonds lost meant the contract was down.
Experienced declarers spotted that the diamonds are frozen: if North-South play them, three losers are inevitable; if East-West lead them, this must provide one trick for the declarer. To that end, a plan was formed so that, if trumps broke badly, the diamond position could be resolved.
Winning trick 1 with K♥ in dummy, declarer leads 2♠ to A♠ in hand. When West shows out, East must win a trump trick — but not yet!
Declarer seeks to make leading diamonds East’s only choice. He wins K♠, cashes A♥ and ruffs a low heart in dummy; plays K♣ and A♣ and ruffs the last club in hand. This has eliminated both suits. Now, South plays a trump and East wins, but finds himself endplayed: if he leads a heart or a club, declarer pitches a diamond from hand and trumps in dummy, so losing only two diamonds later.
If East leads a diamond, South follows low and West must play A♦ to prevent dummy from winning. Now, North-South have Q♦ and J♦ intact, and only K♦ to lose.