Competition Problem 93
South to make five clubs. West leads the ♠4.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Wim van der Zijden.
Declarer appears to have eleven tricks so long as West can be confined to just one trick in trumps. However, confining West to just one trick in trumps clearly entails two trump leads from the South hand, which is a bit short of entries. Using the first round of diamonds as an entry blocks the suit, especially if East rises with the ♦Q, whereas overtaking the ♠Q gives up one of those eleven tricks. However, in the latter case communications are a little more fluid and, as we shall see, pressure can be brought to bear against East in the three side suits.
South wins the first trick with the ♠K and plays three rounds of trumps: the ♣7 to the ♣J (best) and ♣A, back to the ♣K, then the ♣3 towards Northís ♣1096. West might as well win the third. If West now leads a heart, North simply ducks and whatever is next led an easy squeeze against Eastís red suits eventually ensues. On any other exit from West North wins, in some order, the ♠A, ♦K and the ♣109. East cannot afford more than one diamond discard, so the position is like this, with North about to lead the last club:
A diamond discard is immediately fatal.
A. If East discards a heart, so does South. North cashes the ♥A and plays a diamond to the ♦J, whereupon East is thrown in with a spade.
B. If East discards the ♠J, South comes to hand on the ♦J and leads a heart for an avoidance play: if West plays low, so does North and now East must either lead away from the ♦Q or give the rest to North in hearts. If West instead rises with the ♥9, then North wins and, as East must keep the ♥K to beat Southís remaining heart, that hand is thrown in with a heart.
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