Competition Problem 80
by Ian Budden
South to make four spades. West leads the ♦K.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Chaokai Cheng, Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Suggested DRs ranged from 2 to 7.
Declarer wins the lead with the ♦A, ruffs a diamond, ruffs a low club, ruffs a diamond, and then leads the ♣K (or the ♣J).
A. West plays low. North discards a heart and East ruffs (best). [If East ducks, declarer can just play off his top tricks, for example ♥A, ♠A, diamond ruff, ♠Q, and duck a spade, and East will eventually have to concede a trick to the ♥J.] Declarer wins the next three tricks with the ♥A, ♠A, and a diamond ruff, ending in hand (the order depending on Eastís return at the sixth trick), then cashes the ♠Q, throwing a heart from North. If East plays low, South exits with a spade, throwing another heart from North, and East will have to concede two tricks to Northís jack of hearts and long diamond. If instead East unblocks the ♠J under the ♠Q, South cashes the ♠10, and exits with a low club, eventually scoring the ♣J.
B. West plays the ♣A. North ruffs with the ♠A, and South then ruffs a diamond, cashes the ♥A, and exits with a spade to the ♠K. West must lead a club. If East discards, South will win and exit with a low club, eventually scoring both his remaining trumps. So East does better to ruff and lead the ♥Q, but South can either ruff this or duck and still make three of the last four tricks.
Trap: If South leads the ♣K at trick 3, West ducks!
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: 03 June, 2019