Competition Problem 81
to make six hearts against any defence.
The x’s are the ♦6 and ♦7.
South makes the contract regardless of how the x’s are placed.
Describe the play with your chosen layout.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Wim van der Zijden, all of whom expressed appreciation for a fine composition. I'm hoping to present more of this kind from time to time. Suggested DRs ranged from 6 to 8
Statement 3 is true.
Declarer has eleven tricks by establishing the minor suits for the loss of one diamond trick and the best chance of obtaining a twelfth is by a squeeze. That will entail losing a diamond trick to rectify the count. Note that West must play low on the first diamond to avoid giving declarer three tricks in the suit, but West must not be allowed to win the second round of diamonds before trumps are drawn.
West’s best lead is the ♦4, forcing North to win with the ♦J. North’s ♥J is allowed to hold and is followed by the ♥4 to South’s ♥8. South now advances the ♣Q. If West covers, North wins and leads the ♣10, South ruffing East’s ♣J, and now there are sufficient entries to draw trumps and take the spade finesse, forcing West down to ♦KQ and ♣84 so that that hand can be thrown in to lead into North’s ♣97. Therefore West does not cover the ♣Q. The ♦3 comes next, with the intention of ducking in North to put East on play¾clearly West cannot afford to play an honour. If that succeeds, then West will be triple-squeezed on the next round of hearts to North’s ♥A. A minor suit discard gives North or South an extra trick in that suit, so West discards a spade. North’s ♠10 is covered by ♠J and ♠Q and South plays the ♥K and ♥9 in the following position:
♠ 9 ♠ K43
♥ none ♥ Q
♦ KQ ♦ none
♣ K84 ♣ J6
West and North discard clubs on the ♥K, East a spade. On the ♥9 West is squeezed.
A. If West discards a club, North lets go a spade and then a diamond to the ♦A squeezes East.
B. If West discards a diamond, North makes the ♦A and ♣A and South comes back on a spade to score the long diamond.
C. If West discards a spade, North lets go a club and now declarer gets a spade finesse against the ♠K.
This play succeeds if West has the ♦6 but otherwise fails when East drops the ♦10 at trick one. If South tries for a squeeze without the count, West discards a spade on the ♥A and then, when South comes to hand on a spade finesse to draw the last trump, a club.
Vincent Labbé has suggested, and the composer has agreed to, a small change in the layout of the heart suit, exchanging South’s ♥3 with East’s ♥6 so that the deal, when West holds the ♦7, becomes
♠ 976 ♠ KJ43
♥ 10 ♥ Q753
♦ KQ74 ♦ 106
♣ K8432 ♣ J65
When North leads the ♥J at trick 2, having won the opening lead with the ♦J, East must now duck. If instead East covers the ♥J, declarer can win the ♣Q, ♦A, ♣A discarding a spade, finesse the ♠Q and give up a diamond. The last diamond can then be ruffed with the ♥A and East’s trumps picked up by finessing the ♥6.
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