Competition Problem 55
South to make three no-trumps against any lead.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden
This is Problem 398 in the main archive, composed by Andrew Prothero. Vincent Labbé noticed that the problem is slightly more interesting when Prothero’s layout is rotated through 180° so as to put West on lead.
A. If West leads a spade, North must play the ♠8 and South must drop the ♠K! East does best to return a diamond, which South wins with the ♦A.
1. If West plays low, South leads the ♣J, which holds, followed by the ♣10 to the ♣Q and ♣K, which also holds. Three rounds of hearts follow, North discarding clubs, and West is put on play with the ♦K. Two rounds of spades now would squeeze East in three suits, so West tries to exit on a low spade, relieving East of that pressure. However, North ducks the ♠5!
2. If West plays the ♦K, declarer wins two clubs as before, then one or two hearts before exiting on the third club. West’s red suits can now be eliminated before South leads a spade to gain entry to North on the ♠J.
B. If West leads the ♦K, South wins, plays two rounds of clubs and one of hearts, then exits on the third club. If East now leads a low diamond, South ducks it to West’s ♦10. In any case South will drop the ♠K under East’s ♠A or, if necessary, lead the ♠K. Eventually North will gain entry on the ♠J as in A.2.
In A, if South fails to drop the ♠K at trick 1, East returns a diamond and West drops the ♦K under South’s ♦A. As before, South wins the ♣J, North the second club. East covers the ♥10 and West plays high, preserving the ♥6. South cashes the ♠K and another heart, but West plays high again. South tries exiting on a low diamond. If North has discarded a diamond, West wins with the ♦10 and exits on a heart. If instead North has discarded a club, East overtakes, cashes the ♣A, and exits on a low diamond. If South plays low North will lose the last two tricks in spades; otherwise, South has two red suit losers.
In A, if South ducks the first diamond, West wins and leads a low spade.
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: 11 March, 2017