Competition Problem 10
by Hugh Darwen
South to make five diamonds. West leads the ♣Q.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Helge Leonhardsen, László Majoros, Bircan Öztürk, Andrew Prothero, Daniël de Lind van Wijngaarden, Wim van der Zijden.
Overall winner, 2005: Jean-Marc Bihl (28). Runners-up: Steve Bloom, Andrew Prothero. The competition ran from June to December. In future it runs from January to December.
Some solvers overlooked the need for Line B below. Because of that, the DR is a little higher than most expected.
Declarer aims to endplay West in clubs so as to make ♣6 score the eleventh trick. How this endplay is reached varies significantly according to when West chooses to play the red kings.
South wins the first trick, North unblocking the ♣7, and leads the ♥Q.
A. If West covers, North wins and leads another heart, covered by East (best) and ruffed by South, who now advances the ♦Q.
1. If West covers, North ducks! South wins the trump continuation in hand and leads a spade, North finessing. North's third heart is allowed to hold, South discarding a spade. South ruffs the last heart, crosses to North on a spade, draws the remaining trumps with the ♦A, and runs the ♣9 to West, who is thus endplayed.
2. If West ducks, the ♦Q holds and declarer takes the spade finesse. (Trap: If declarer instead leads another diamond, West plays the ♦K!) The third heart holds as in A.1, and then South ruffs the fourth heart and advances the ♦J. West's ♦K is allowed to hold, and then North wins a spade and a diamond before running the ♣9 as in A.1. (If West leads the ♣J when in on the ♦K, South wins and, after crossing on a spade and drawing trumps, establishes the ♣6 by force.)
B. If West ducks, the ♥Q holds and South advances the ♦Q.
1. If West covers, North wins and leads another diamond, South finessing the ♦9. Either immediately or after a third round of trumps, South leads a spade and makes an avoidance play, losing either the first or the second round of spades to West's ♠K. The ♦J (if South hasn't played it earlier) and North's major suit aces bring South down to three clubs and a trump and force West to keep three clubs (otherwise South sets up the long club) and a heart. South ruffs a heart and leads the ♣3 to guarantee two tricks in that suit.
2. If West ducks, South continues with a low trump to North's ♦A.
(a) If West plays the ♦K, North leads a third trump to South's ♦J. Play now follows B.1.
(b) If West plays low, South gets two heart ruffs, using the spade finesse as the entry for the second. North is entered on a second spade and, having cashed the ♥A at some stage in this sequence, throws West in on ♦K, South discarding a spade. South captures the ♣J with the ♣A and leads the ♣3 to set up the ♣6.
It makes no material difference in line A if East ducks the second heart or covers the third.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2014
Date last modified: 03 June, 2019