Competition Problem 104a
by Paolo Treossi
contract is two hearts (don’t ask!). The
x’s are the ♥4 and ♥3.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Radu Mihai. Thanks to Sebastian Nowacki, whose name was originally included, for pointing out my mistake: I had overlooked the fact that in Part B his solution specified a club return from East at trick 3, whereas a heart return is mandatory.
This problem has been derived from a 10-carder by Ivar Andersson, No. 273 in the George Coffin collection.
With such weak trumps, declarer’s only real hope is to pick up four or five tricks in the side suits. The bad breaks are a nuisance but perhaps West can be embarrassed into letting South, with winners, instead of North, with losers, get the lead towards the end. In that case, North must take care not to be put on lead with a trump when holding a fistful of club losers.
However the ♥4 and ♥3 are placed, West’s best lead is the ♦A.
A. North gets the ♥3 and must drop the ♦K on the opening lead. To prevent an overtrick West must now lead another diamond for East to ruff and return (best) a trump, on which West drops the ♥5, North a higher one. The ♠A and ♣A are followed by a low spade! West does best to ruff this high, but North underruffs high! The position is now
South wins the red suit return—if this is the ♥J, North again plays high, keeping the ♥3—and plays high spades until West ruffs.
1. If West returned a diamond and now ruffs high (best), North discards. South wins the trump return and continues spades. When West ruffs, North discards, scoring the remaining trump at trick 13.
2. If West returned the ♥J, and now ruffs with the ♥4, North underruffs again! West thus makes a trick with the ♥2 but that is the last trick for the defence.
(Trap: If North fails to drop the ♦K at trick 1, West switches to a club to defeat the contract! Now the endplay fails because the diamonds cannot be unblocked in time.)
B. West gets the ♥3. Play follows the same course but the ending is now
and West exits with the ♥J. South has to cash the diamond winners now to avoid going two down.
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