Competition Problem 49
composed by Steve Bloom
presented for solving in March, 2009
What lead or leads defeat South's contract of four no-trumps, and how?
Successful solvers: None. Nobody found the defence following the ♠2 lead.
West must lead the ♠2 or the ♥K.
A. If West leads the ♥K and North takes with the ♥A, East must discard the ♦Q! If East fails to do this, discarding instead a spade, North leads a diamond and declarer contrives to lose two diamond tricks to East one way or another, East returning a spade on each occasion. On the fourth diamond, won by South, East is squeezed without the count in the black suits (North having discarded two hearts). On a club discard South's clubs are established with the remaining top spade as entry; on a spade discard South cashes that spade, crosses on a club to make North's spade winner, then plays clubs such that East loses the last trick to the ♣J.
B. If West leads the ♥K and North ducks, East might as well discard the ♦Q right away, though this could be delayed. In that case West must switch to a spade at trick 2 (if East had discarded a spade at trick 1, West can lead either a spade at trick 2 or a diamond to East's ♦Q). If West mistakenly continues hearts at trick 2, North wins and South discards a diamond. Whatever East has discarded, North can now lead a diamond and play to make two diamond tricks, losing one to East. In addition South will make three club tricks by force and an extra trick with either North's long spade or the fifth club, depending on East's discards.
C. If West leads the ♠2, South's best try is to play the ♥Q, ducking West's ♥K. East must discard a spade and West must now switch to a diamond, East playing the ♦Q. Declarer crosses on a club and cashes the ♥A, but now East discards the ♦A and no pressure can be applied.
D. If West leads a diamond, South plays to take four rounds of diamonds, winning two and losing two. Several orders of play succeed¾for example, South has the option of winning or losing the opening lead regardless of East's card. Typically, the last red suit winner squeezes East in the black suits.
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