Competition Problem 108b
by Ian Budden
South to make five clubs. West leads the ♦K.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Bülent İyidoğan, Abby Chiu, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Dick Yuen, Dyah Yulianto, Wim van der Zijden Tables
South wins the ♦A, leads the ♣Q to the ♣A, ruffs a diamond high (West unblocking an honour), leads the ♣4 to the ♣7, ruffs another diamond high (West unblocking another honour), leads the ♣2 to the ♣3 (West discarding a high spade), and ruffs the last diamond. South then cashes the last club in this position:
A. If West discards a heart, North discards a spade. If East too discards a heart, South exits with a heart, wins the spade return with the ♠K, and exits with another heart, winning the last two tricks with the ♠A and the long heart. So East discards a spade. Declarer now cashes ♠A and ♠K. If West unblocks both his remaining honours, South makes the ♠4; otherwise West is thrown in with the third spade and is forced to lead to the ♥K.
B. If West discards a spade (an honour is best for the moment), North discards a heart, as must East. South leads a low spade to the ♠A and returns a spade from North. If West’s last spade is the ♠2, declarer makes a third spade by finessing through East’s ♠Q, so West does better to retain an honour. Now if East plays the ♠Q on the second spade, South wins, crashing West’s honour, and makes a further trick with North’s ♠8; and if instead East plays low, the trick is ducked to West. West must return a heart and declarer will make both major suit kings.
Trap: If declarer leads a low trump to the ♣A and proceeds to ruff only two diamonds, accurate defence will defeat him. West continues to unblock in diamonds and discards two spades and then a heart on the clubs, while East discards hearts and retains the ♦10.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2014