Competition Problem 99a
by Paolo Treossi
South to make five clubs. West leads a low spade.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Steve Dunn, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Radu Mihai, Wim van der Zijden
The composer derived this problem from one that was published by George Coffin in 1948 but turned out to be unsound. It was No. 82 in Sure Tricks, composed by Kurt Bendix.
South wins with the ♠A and immediately ducks a club all round, North unblocking the ♣9.
A. If West wins and returns (best) the ♠10, South must take this in hand with the ♠J. After a club to the ♣A South finesses the ♣8 and draws the last trump, North discarding the ♠Q! The ♠65 are now equals against West’s ♠9, which wins the next trick. Here is the position, with West on lead and declarer needing the rest:
The play is now heading for a red suit squeeze. West tries to thwart this by exiting on the ♥K, but North wins and leads the ♦Q to the ♦K and ♦A, whereupon the ♠5 and ♠2 squeeze West anyway.
(If East ruffs the spade at trick 3, the red suit squeeze on West is much easier. When North gets the lead in hearts the ♠Q must be cashed and the ♦Q led to transfer the guard to West.)
B. If East wins with the ♣Q at trick 2 and returns (best) a heart to North, several options are available, all involving a triple squeeze on West. For example, North can lead the ♦Q and when East covers with the ♦K, South can either win with the ♦A or duck! In the first case the remaining clubs force West to discard a diamond, allowing North’s ♦7 to be established, and when this card is played West is squeezed again. In the second case the last club subjects West to an inverted repeating squeeze: a spade discard gives two tricks immediately whereas a red suit discard allows North to be entered on the ♠Q to cash the resulting winner, squeezing West again. Alternatively, declarer can immediately draw trumps, again forcing a diamond discard from West, and then lead the ♦10 with similar effect.
Trap: If declarer starts with three rounds of clubs, East wins the third and exits on a heart to North. North tries the ♦Q, but East ducks! Now South doesn’t have entries to set up the spades. If North next leads a low spade, East discards a heart, and when South draws the last trump, West discards a diamond.
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