Competition Problem 54
South to make three hearts. West leads the ♥J.
Successful solver: Only Wim van der Zijden gave a complete solution. Several others gave Line C correctly but missed out the distinct and interesting Line B.
South threatens to make five hearts, the ♦A, the ♠Q (eventually), the ♣K, and a club ruff. Of these, the club ruff is clearly the only one the defenders can prevent, hence the trump lead. Now South must hope for the minor suit sevens and the long spade in North to play their parts, as indeed they will …
At trick 1 North must play the ♥Q! East wins and returns the suit, South unblocking. North wins the second heart with the ♥A and loses a spade to the ♠A, South unblocking again.
A. If East returns a diamond to ♦K and ♦A, North’s diamonds can be established by ruffing, West’s ♦98 being pinned when North leads the ♦10. The ♥5 and, eventually, the ♠Q provide the required entries to North.
B. If East cashes the ♣A and then leads a third trump, South wins in hand and plays two more rounds of trumps. West is triple-squeezed and does best to discard two diamonds, baring the ♦K, but now North’s ♦107 are equals against East’s ♦Q. North also discards diamonds, then wins the ♦A and leads another diamond, covered by East and ruffed by South. The ending is now:
When South leads a spade West has to duck (had North discarded a spade earlier, West would win and put North in on the ♠Q for East to get a diamond trick). North wins the ♠Q and ♦7 and now a spade to West’s ♠K provides a stepping-stone to South’s ♣K.
C. If East leads a trump, South wins and cashes two more, triple-squeezing West.
1. If West discards two diamonds as before, North discards a diamond and a spade. The position is now:
After a diamond to the ♦A, then the ♦10, covered and ruffed, South leads a spade. If West wins and returns the suit, East has to bare the ♣A and is thrown in with it to lead away from the ♦6. If instead West ducks the spade, North wins, cashes the ♦7 and exits on either minor suit so that East loses a trick to the ♣K.
2. If West discards two spades, North discards two diamonds and will make two spade tricks.
3. If West discards two clubs, South leads the ♠10 to ♠J and ♠Q and North leads a club. East does best to duck but South wins with the ♣K and leads another spade to establish North’s ♠8. The defenders can make only the ♠K and a club, the clubs being blocked.
Trap: If North plays the ♥A at trick 1 and exits on a spade, East wins and underleads the ♥K!
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2009
Date last modified: 03 June, 2019