Competition Problem 19
by Jeff Richmond
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♥6.
Successful solvers: To my dismay, only four solutions were submitted, and of these only Steve Bloom's was correct. I suppose it therefore has to be DR8.
North must play the ♥Q! (If North plays low, so does East, and now the hearts can be established regardless of which defender next gets the lead. For example, if South plays on spades and East gets in on the ♠Q, then East exists safely on a club and West continues the attack on hearts after scoring the ♦Q.)
A. If East covers, South ducks, wins the second heart, crosses to North on a club and leads a diamond. East does best to play the ♦9, which South covers with the ♦10 to force West to win the trick. West exits with a club to North, who leads a second diamond. East wins with the ♦A, South dropping the ♦7. Declarer wins the ©A and ♦K, crosses to the ♦6, cashes North's remaining top club and can now win two of the last three tricks either by leading the ♠Q or by throwing West in with a club.
B. If East ducks (better), North leads a diamond. East plays low and South wins with the ♦K and loses a diamond. South wins the heart return and leads a club to North, West playing the ♣8 (to preserve the ♣2, which might be needed to avoid a throw-in later). The ♠Q is covered by the ♠K and ♠A, followed by three more rounds of clubs. West can do no better than win the fourth club and cash the ♣2, but South keeps ♠10-9-7 and must make two of the last three tricks with them.
Note that in Line B, if South leads the ♠10 at trick 7 (after winning trick 6 with the ♠A), West wins with the ♠J and returns a high club. Now West can avoid the throw-in by playing the ♣2 under North's ♣3, leaving North on play with three red suit losers. Similarly, if South fails to play a second round of diamonds immediately after wining the first with the ♦K, but instead leads a club to North to advance the ♠Q, East will cover. If South now exits belatedly on a diamond, East overtakes the ♦Q and leads a spade to the ♠9 and ♠J. West now leads a heart to ♥J and ♥A and can again beat the throw-in by preserving the ♣2.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2006
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017