Competition Problem 102a
composed by Jean-Marc Bihl
West to lead and defeat South's four spades. Show why this play is necessary.
Successful solvers: None! Several solvers found the correct defence but nobody found the correct line in B.1 below. In fact, Dick Yuen was the only person even to attempt this line, the defence of ruffing in with the ♠Q being less than obvious apparently, but unfortunately he exited on a diamond instead of a trump, allowing West to win, return a red suit winner, then ruff in with the ♠A when South leads another club.
West must cash the ♠A and then lead the ♦K! Declarerís position is now hopeless, but what if West had done something different at trick one or two?
A. If West plays ♠A and ♠Q, there is more than one line to success. For example, declarer could simply duck a club at trick 3, win the diamond return, and play ♣A, ♣Q and ♣10, North discarding diamonds. If East exits on a trump, Southís black suit winners squeeze West; otherwise North will get a diamond ruff and can arrange to be on lead at trick 12 for a trump coup against Eastís ♠108.
B. If West starts with the ♦K, declarer plays, in some order, the ♣A, a club ruff, ♥A and ♥K, ending in hand to lead a low club.
1. If West ruffs with the ♠Q, North overruffs and exits on a trump to Westís ♠A. West can cash a diamond but the next lead in either red suit fixes East. If East ruffs in, South overruffs and plays two more rounds of trumps to force a club lead into the ♣Q10. Otherwise, East discards a club and South ruffs low; then ♣Q and ♣10 force East to ruff and lead away from ♠108.
2. If West discards, North ruffs and leads a heart, South ruffing low or overruffing East. Now comes the ♣Q, which West does best to ruff with the ♠Q. North overruffs and exits on a diamond to West. North-South have made eight tricks and South must make two more trump tricks whatever the defence does now. For example, if West cashes the ♠A and East ruffs the next lead, South simply discards the club loser and is left with ♠J and another spade.
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: 03 June, 2019