Competition Problem 30
by Ian Budden
West to lead and East-West to defeat South's contract of three no-trumps.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Mike Hou, Vincent Labbť, Helge Leonhardsen, Leigh Matheson, Andrew Rollo, Steve Rose, Erke SuiÁmez, Pengcheng Wu, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden.
The only lead to defeat the contract is the ♠A.
For the first three tricks West plays ♠A, ♠Q, and another spade, and East throws the ♣KQ. South wins the third trick with the ♠J and leads a heart. West covers (otherwise declarer can duck in dummy and set up hearts), North wins, and East unblocks an honour (otherwise a second heart can be ducked to East). South comes back to a minor suit ace and leads a second heart. Again West covers, North wins, and East unblocks.
South re-enters hand with the other minor suit ace, and then leads the ♦J. West must throw a spade. (If West throws the ♥6, North overtakes and leads a heart on which South sheds the ♦10, and Eastís forced diamond return gives declarer the rest). North plays low. South's last hope is to lead a third diamond to North's ♦Q, but this time West sheds the ♥6. (If West discards another spade, North exits with a heart and West will eventually have to lead into the club tenace.) Declarer must now surrender.
Many solvers missed that last point, West's discard of the ♥6. Nobody mentioned the subtle point about leading the second diamond from South with the intention of overtaking it if and only if West discards the ♥6 prematurely. I feared an outcry if I rejected all the solutions for that reason, but I hope composer Ian Budden is chuckling nonetheless!
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