Competition Problem 98a
What is West’s best lead against South’s six no-trumps and how is the contract made against that lead?
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Clint Fyke, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Radu Mihai, Daniël de Lind van Wijngaarden, Wim van der Zijden
It’s the passive ♣Q! Any other lead merely helps declarer to achieve the following solution less precisely.
North plays the ♣K and South overtakes with the ♣A (!) to lead a low spade. West must play low to avoid being subjected to an easy squeeze in spades and diamonds, so North wins with the ♠K. South comes to hand on a club to the ♣8 and ♣10 and leads the ♥10, covered by West and North. North wins two more heart tricks, South discarding either two spades or a spade and a diamond, and then South plays the remaining clubs via a finesse of the ♣7. West must keep two spades to prevent North from establishing the suit and so is forced to discard a diamond. North wins two diamonds and at trick 12 East is thrown in on the ♥9 to provide a stepping-stone to South’s now good ♦J.
On a low diamond lead the same ending can be reached by overtaking the ♣K at trick 2, but now South can lead either a heart or a spade. However, South’s discards on the hearts must now be a spade and a diamond, the spade being needed in case West keeps one spade and three diamonds at the end.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2013
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017