Competition Problem 85
West to lead and East-West to defeat South's two no-trumps.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Sebastian Nowacki, Wim van der Zijden.
[Since I first posted the solution below I have modified line A.1 to take into account the possibility of South cashing a third diamond. Thanks to Steve Bloom for pointing this out to me.]
West must lead the ♣Q or ♣J and East must let it run.
A. If South ducks, West must switch to a heart.
1. If North plays high, East must win with the ♥A and, when South plays high on this trick, return a diamond. South wins two or, better, three diamonds and enters North on a heart to lead a spade (best) but East wins with the ♠A and returns a spade or heart. South makes a spade and two hearts but East discards a spade, so the ♦Q is declarer’s seventh and last trick. (Taking all three diamonds before crossing to North on a heart is “better” because East must discard a spade on the third—a heart obviously gives North two entries in that suit and the long club must be retained so that East’s last two cards will be the ♠A and a club winner, should declarer play to eliminate West’s clubs and hearts and exit on a diamond.)
2. If North plays the ♥7, East must cover with the ♥8. When North gets the lead in hearts and plays a spade, East wins with the ♠A, cashes the ♥A if still held, and exits with a spade. Again East discards a spade on the last heart and South cannot make a trick with the ♣K.
B. If South takes with the ♣K, the best chance is to play a heart to the ♥K and the ♥7, but East ducks both. South cashes two diamonds and exits on a third heart, but East plays the ♣A and a club to West, who returns a diamond. South cannot now make a trick with the ♠K.
Against any other defence declarer can make both black suit kings in addition to three tricks in each red suit.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2012
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017