Competition Problem 70
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♦10.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Satyanarayana, Rajeswar Tewari, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. (Nobody mentioned the subtle point about West's discard on the ♣A at trick 4, but I suppose a solution has to be regarded as correct if it gives the correct line anyway.)
Top solver for 2010 was Rajeswar Tewari with 45 Master Points. Wim van der Zijden came second with 39.
Declarer appears to have nine tricks by establishing spades, but the diamonds are blocked and repeated diamond leads from West must be avoided because they would destroy any possibility of a favourable end position. Accordingly, care must be taken to make sure East wins one of the spade tricks South must lose. However, this must not be the first spade, because then West will duck the second, forcing South to come to hand on a diamond to continue spades¾then West will be able to set up two diamond tricks while still holding the ♥A.
South wins the first diamond with the ♦A and plays a spade to the ♠Q. South ducks the second spade, allowing East to win with the ♠J and return the ♣K. South takes this with the ♣A and West does best to discard a heart! (This prevents South from unblocking the diamonds before knocking out the ♠A, as West will then lead a fourth diamond to establish two tricks in that suit while the ♥A is still held.) West wins the next spade, North discarding a club, and exits on a diamond to South’s ♦K. South now cashes the spade winners, North discarding clubs.
A. If both defenders keep three hearts, the position is this:
North overtakes the ♦J and puts West in with the fourth diamond, at the same time squeezing East in hearts and clubs. The menace cards are North’s ♥9 and South’s ♣7.
B. If West instead keeps three diamonds and two hearts, we have this:
South cashes the ♦J, forcing East to discard a club. East is put on play with a club, North discarding a heart. The ♥J to ♥Q and ♥A leave West with the choice of letting North’s ♦Q win the ninth trick for declarer or giving away two heart tricks.
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: 11 March, 2017