Competition Problem 112a
is in three spades.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Wim van der Zijden. Tables
There are eight clear tricks and the ninth will come from a diamond ruff unless trumps are led and continued when South plays on diamonds. That means that in each layout East must use two entries to lead trumps and prevent the diamond ruff. If East uses the diamond entries for trump leads, then in (a) this exposes West to a throw-in, averted in (b) as West plays high on the first two diamonds. In (c) Northís ♥107 become equals against Westís ♥J6.
(a) North plays the ♠Q, East the ♠2, and South the ♠7. A heart follows.
A. If East wins, the spade return (or one top diamond followed by a spade) gives North an entry in that suit which is used to cash the ♥K and give South a heart ruff. South plays one or two more spades as necessary to come down to this (assuming no round of diamonds has been taken):
Now come a club to the ♣K and a further heart. If East discards a club, South discards a diamond, ruffs the second diamond and leads the ♣Q to pin the ♣J. If East instead discards a diamond, then South ruffs the heart and exits on a diamond. Whoever wins the second diamond has to lead a club and concede a trick in that suit. This ending arose in a hand reported by Sathya Bettadapura at http://bridgewinners.com, inspiring this problem.
B. If East lets the ♥Q win, South loses a diamond to East and North wins the low trump (best) return,. Assuming West discards a club (best), North leads the ♥K and South ruffs Eastís ♥A. A second diamond is lost to East and the ♠K return squeezes West in this position:
A club discard lets both ♣K and ♣Q score, while a diamond gives an immediate throw-in in that suit; so West throws a heart, but the next trump continues the squeeze, wringing a diamond from West. Now a club to the ♣K is followed by a heart ruff and a diamond to West who has to lead away from the ♣A.
If West discards a diamond on the second round of trumps, then there are several routes to success but North must not now lead the ♥K. Simplest is for declarer to continue playing trumps, squeezing West out of another diamond and then triple-squeezing East.
(b) With the ♦6 and ♦7 swapped line B fails when West keeps the ♦6 in the above end position, discarding the ♦Q on the ♠A. To be sure of reaching this position, West must lead a spade, East must duck the first heart, West must play high on the first two diamonds, and East must return a low spade after the first diamond. (If East returns the ♠K after the first diamond, then North is on lead on the third spade and South ruffs a low heart. The penultimate trump forces both defenders down to one diamond, one heart and three clubs and whoever wins the diamond must either open the clubs or set up Northís ♥K with ♣K entry.) On the third spade West discards the ♦Q, followed by the ♦6 if South plays another spade.
(c) When North has the ♥7 and West the ♥6, declarer plays as in (a). Now if West discards diamonds as in (b), then a club to the ♣K is followed by the ♥10 to Westís ♥K. West is endplayed and must either let South make a club trick or lose a heart to Northís ♥7.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2014