Competition Problem 23
by Hugh Darwen
South to make three hearts. West leads the ♥7.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Simon Cheung, Dick Yuen.
South wins the opening lead with the ♥K and immediately loses a spade. Best defence is for West to win and attack clubs. North plays high (to guarantee an entry to that hand) and East plays ♣A and another club. Taking the second club in North, South ruffs a spade and plays three rounds of diamonds. On a trump return now East is easily kept to just one more trick, South gaining the lead on the ♥10 to force East with a diamond. East therefore exits on a spade. The ruff must be taken in North, South discarding the ♣K. A club from North leaves East helpless in spite of the powerful trump holding. South ruffs or overruffs, then leads a diamond. If East still has three hearts, North ruffs with the ♥A and leads a club to promote South's ♥10; otherwise North discards.
Other defences make life easier for declarer. For example, if a trump or spade is returned at trick 3, South can optionally cash one top diamond before leading any club. If a diamond is returned, South wins and leads a low club, leading one way or another to the ending described above.
If South leads a club at trick 2, East can either win and return the suit, or duck! In either case, North's entry is used up prematurely.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2007
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017