Competition Problem 69
to make four spades.
West leads the ♣K.
Successful solvers: Leigh Matheson, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden
North wins and cashes the top diamonds, South discarding a club. South ruffs a club and exits on a low heart!
A. If East wins with the ♥J and leads a minor suit, South ruffs and leads a trump. If West ducks, North wins and gives South a ruff in the other minor suit. A heart is now lost to East and South ruffs the return with the ♠J. West can make no more than the ♠A. So West rises with the ♠A and crosses to East with a heart for another diamond lead, but South ruffs with the ♠J to catch West in a peculiar kind of squeeze in this position:
If West underruffs, the major suit kings and a cross-ruff take the rest. If West discards a club, North draws trumps and scores the ♣10; and if West discards a heart, South has the choice of ruffing the losing club or discarding it on the good ♥10.
B. If East wins with the ♥A (!) in order to return the suit, South wins with the ♥K and exits on a third heart. Noting East ♠3 over North’s ♠2, West tries the effect of a fourth heart, but North ruffs high and South comes to hand on a minor suit ruff to advance the ♠9. West can make only the ♠A.
If South leads a trump instead of a low heart at trick 5, West rises with the ♠A and leads another diamond, which South ruffs to give this position:
If South now leads a heart, East wins with the ♥J and leads a fourth diamond. South ruffs with the ♠J but West discards the ♣Q!
If South instead crosses to North on a trump for a heart lead towards the ♥K, East takes care to discard a club, not a diamond. Now if East is allowed to get in twice on hearts, repeated diamond leads eventually promote West’s ♠10. [Note that if East discards a diamond instead of a club, North must lead a heart. East does best to win with the ♥J (not the ♥A) and lead a diamond, which South ruffs high. If West now discards the ♣Q, the last trump is drawn and North leads a heart to East, who has to give a trick to the ♣10. If West instead discards a heart, South exits on a low heart to the ♥A, ruffs the club return, and cashes the ♥K. North’s remaining trump takes the last trick.]
This trap obviously applies equally well when the ♠7 and ♠8 are swapped. Additionally, line B now fails when West covers the ♠9, so East must win the first heart with the ♥A, not the ♥J!
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2010
Date last modified: 03 June, 2019