Competition Problem 57
(a) South to make three no-trumps when West leads the ♠5.
(b) How can the contract be defeated on a different opening lead?
Successful solvers: F.Y. Sing, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden
On the lead of the ♠5 North plays the ♠9 and East wins, South discarding the ♣2. Suppose East returns a heart, South’s ♥K being allowed to hold. In that case South continues with ♦A, ♦K, and ♦J, West doing best to discard three hearts. North plays middle cards on the first two diamonds but overtakes the ♦J to lead the ♠Q, South discarding a club. East wins and returns the ♣J, taken by South’s ♣Q. South now advances the ♦4 for a seesaw squeeze. If West discards:
A. a club, North plays the ♦3 so that South can cash the ♣A before leading the ♦2 to squeeze West again¾West is thrown in on whichever major suit jack is now bare.
B. a spade, North overtakes and leads a low spade to West’s now bare ♠J, setting up the ♠10 with an entry to it on the ♦3.
If West wins the first heart and returns a club (best), South wins and plays five rounds of diamonds, ending in North. West is forced to discard a club to keep two of each major suit, whereupon South comes to hand on a heart and advances the ♣9, pinning the now bare ♣8. East wins with the ♣J but even if the ♣K is still guarded it cannot win another trick because South will have ♣A5 as a tenace over the ♣K4.
If East returns a diamond instead of a heart at trick 2, South can win and immediately lead the ♥K, leading to one or other of the two lines already described.
If East returns a club at trick 2, South wins while North discards a spade. The ♥K is allowed to hold and then North is entered on the ♦Q to lead a low spade that West must win. South discards a diamond, being sure to keep a low one for a further entry to North later. West is endplayed in three suits (a club lead allows declarer to set up the ♣5).
To defeat the contract West must lead a middle spade at trick 1 and if South discards a club as above East must return a high club at trick 2. Now when North exits on a low spade East can rise with the ♠6 to win the trick and exit safely on a diamond. And if declarer tries to foil that defence by playing three rounds of diamonds before exiting on a spade, South is squeezed on that spade exit! A heart discard is immediately fatal and a club discard allows the suit to be established. So South discards a diamond, but the defenders simply play three rounds of spades. North thus makes the ♠Q but now it is not possible to score the two remaining diamonds as well as the ♣A.
If South discards a diamond at trick 1, regardless of which spade West has led East returns a red suit and the seesaw squeeze is no longer available.
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: 15 April, 2017