Competition Problem 76
by Steve Bloom
South to make two no-trumps against any lead by West.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Sebastian Nowacki, Satyanarayana
A. If West leads a diamond, North wins and knocks out the ♣A. East does best to switch to spades but on winning the first spade West switches back to diamonds, North winning. South now wins two heart tricks, finessing the ♥Q, forcing West to part with two spades. South cashes the ♠A and advances the ♣J, followed by a low club if this holds. West can make only one club trick in addition to the two spade winners.
B. If West leads the ♠K and continues the suit, South knocks out the ♣A. If East now returns a heart, South wins with the ♥A! Now the ♣K followed by three rounds of diamonds fixes East. Best, perhaps, is to exit with a low heart, but North wins with the ♥9 and leads a fourth diamond, South discarding the ♥Q. Now North will make the ♥J and the fifth diamond.
Other variations in the defence lead to one or other of the above lines of play.
If, in A, North plays low at trick 1, East wins with the ♦Q and returns the suit.
If, in B, South wins the first heart with the ♥Q instead of the ♥A, aiming to discard the ♥A on the fourth diamond, East can safely exit with the ♥K after winning the third diamond.
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