Competition Problem 51
actual play, contributed by Yong Hao Ng (Singapore)
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♠10.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Sebastian Nowacki, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden
This hand, with very minor modifications to make the play 100% precise, arose in tournament play in Singapore. It was analysed by Yong Hao Ng and solved in ten minutes by Jinzhou Loo.
North covers the ♠10 with the ♠Q and South’s ♠A captures the ♠K. Declarer leads the ♣8 to ♣9 and ♣Q, followed by the ♣3 to South’s ♣J, which is allowed to hold (best). A third club puts West on play, East discarding a diamond. West does best now to continue spades, but South lets the ♠9 hold.
A. If West leads a third spade, South wins as cheaply as possible, North discarding a heart, East another diamond. A heart is ducked to West, who does best now to lead a second heart, won by North’s ♥A. North cashes the ♣K, squeezing East out of yet another diamond. Now a diamond to the ♦K is followed by another diamond, forcing a heart lead from East at trick 12 into North’s ♥108 tenace.
Trap: In the above line declarer must not cash the master spade at trick 11, as that would allow East to discard the ♦A!
B. If West puts North in with a club, South discards a diamond. A diamond to the ♦K followed by another diamond puts West back on play. The ♥J is obviously fatal and a spade into South’s tenace squeezes East out of a heart, allowing a heart to be ducked to establish North’s holding. West therefore leads the ♥K, but North wins and now the ♥Q followed by a diamond puts East in for a heart lead to North. (In this line South can optionally cash the ♠J at trick 11.)
If West wins the third club and immediately leads a fourth, South discards a diamond. Now North has the option of leading a diamond or running the ♠7. In either case the play is similar to the main line.
If East overtakes the ♦Q in line B and leads a heart, North wins with the ♥A and throws West in with a heart for a spade into South’s ♠J6 tenace. If East returns a diamond instead of a heart, declarer can choose which major suit to endplay West with.
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: 03 June, 2019