Competition Problem 115a
South to make six clubs. West leads a club.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Ian Budden, Abby Chiu, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
Even though fewer people solved 115b, the consensus was that 115a was a particularly difficult problem.
South wins in hand with the ♣Q and leads a heart, which West must obviously duck. North wins and leads a second top heart, South discarding a spade.
A. If West wins and leads a club, South wins in hand and takes either two or three more rounds of trumps before leading a spade to North, discarding a spade on the good heart, coming to hand on a spade, and executing a simultaneous double squeeze with the last club. The play is similar if West leads a spade at trick 4.
B. If West wins and leads a diamond, South gets two diamond ruffs and eventually squeezes East in spades and diamonds. North can play the ♥K at any time, including playing it as the final squeeze card.
C. If West ducks again, the count can no longer be rectified by losing a heart trick—so long as East has carefully unblocked the ♥10 and ♥9. Instead, declarer tries to lose a spade trick to West for the same purpose, but East can foil that plan by rising with an honour on North’s ♠2. Now the ♠10 comes into effect. South wins with the ♠A, crosses to the ♣K, ruffs a heart, and wins two more trump tricks, North discarding a diamond and a heart. This is the position with East to discard:
East must discard a diamond to prevent South from establishing a long spade. South leads the ♦6.
1. If West plays the ♦4 and East has kept the ♦5, North plays low and East, on winning with the ♦Q, is endplayed, such that North gets two tricks in either spades or diamonds.
2. If West plays the ♦7 or ♦K, or if East has kept ♦QJ instead of ♦Q5, North wins with the ♦A and leads the ♦3. If East wins, North gets two spade tricks; otherwise the ♦8 is good.
Trap: In C, declarer cannot succeed by ruffing a heart at trick four and drawing trumps. East discards diamonds, coming down to four spades and two diamonds. The ♦A, diamond ruff and a spade to the ♠10 now endplays East, but the spades are blocked when East returns the ♠6.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2014