Competition Problem 111a
South to make six hearts. West leads the (a) the ♦7, (b) the ♣K.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
(a) North wins and leads the ♠J, covered by the ♠Q and ♠K. Declarer draws trumps by finessing, ending in South.
A. If West discards a club, South plays a club to the ♣Q and ♣A, then ducks a spade to West’s ♠10 to force a club lead away from the ♣K. If West plays the ♣K, South ruffs, crosses to the ♦A and discards the diamond loser on the ♣J, which subjects East to a ruffing squeeze. If West instead leads a low club, North plays the ♣J and can now either lead the ♣4, squeezing East immediately, or cash the ♠A first, ruff the club and cash the last trump, again squeezing East.
B. If West discards the ♠10, South cashes one more trump, North discarding a spade, and leads a club, ducking when West pays the ♣Q. West has to lead into North’s ♣AJ and East is squeezed as before.
(b) North wins with the ♣A and South ruffs a club, East discarding a diamond. There are now several paths to the following six-card ending:
For example, South could have played the ♥J to ♥K and ♥A, then the ♥8 to ♥9 and ♥10, a diamond to the ♦K, the third club, ruffed as East discards a spade, and a spade to North’s ♠A. (Several other orders of play are available to achieve the same effect.)
In this position, North leads the ♠5.
C. If East plays low, South lets West win the trick. The club return lets South ruff as North discards a diamond loser and then the remaining tricks are won by the ♦A, ♥Q, ♠K and ♠4.
D. If East rises with the ♠Q, South wins the trick. North makes the ♠J and ♥Q, then leads the ♦2. East wins with the ♦J but now either South makes the last two tricks with the ♦10 and ♠4 or North does with the ♦A and ♦6.
Other plays by East and West, such as not covering the ♥K, not covering the ♥8, East discarding two diamonds instead of a diamond and a spade, or East ruffing one of the clubs in front of South, only make things easier for declarer.
From Paolo Treossi: The original problem, which appeared in 100 Problemi di Bridge by Enzo Mingoni, was concerned with part (a) only and turned out to be cooked.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2014