Competition Problem 72
South to make five no-trumps against any lead.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Satyanarayana, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Actually, of these only Rajeswar Tewari dealt with the "best" defence of leading a spade and ducking the first two hearts, forcing declarer to notice that a club must be cashed before North's remaining major suit winners. It's a nice point but a very small one, so I've chosen to give Rajeswar Tewari a bonus Star Point rather than make it a DR8.
Best defence is for West to lead the ♠10 to ♠J and ♠K, for East to return the ♦K to South's ♦A, and then for West to duck both the ♥Q and ♥8 that follow. Still on lead, South must now make the key play of cashing a top club before taking a third heart finesse. East is squeezed on the last heart in the following position:
(North has optionally cashed the ♠A for simplicity.) A spade discard is immediately fatal. On a diamond discard South comes to hand on the ♣A to throw East in with a diamond. On a club discard North advances the now good ♣8 to squeeze East again. If East unguards spades, North keeps the lead to cash spades. If East discards a low diamond, then South overtakes to throw East in on the ♦Q. Finally, if East jettisons the ♦Q, then the ♣8 holds and North plays ♠Q and another spade on which South discards a diamond and the ♣A, taking the last trick with the ♦J.
On a minor suit opening lead South wins and immediately plays on hearts. As soon as North gets the lead the ♠Q is led, taken by the ♠K. If East now switches to the other minor suit the above ending can be reached. On the other hand, if East leads a second club, then the throw-in is easier after North’s hearts force East down to three spades and ♦KQ.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2011
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017