Competition Problem 119b
South to make five no-trumps against any defence.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Abby Chiu, Wing-Kai Hon, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
Declarer has eleven top tricks but will only be able to cash out if West leads a minor suit, as this allows declarer to unblock the ♦K before coming back to the South hand with the ♠A. West therefore does best to lead a major suit.
A. West leads the ♥Q. North plays low, and so must East. South discards a low diamond. West must now switch to a spade.
1. West leads the ♠K, which is allowed to hold the trick. South wins the spade continuation and cashes seven rounds of clubs to reach this three card ending:
South cashes the last club. If West discards the ♠Q, North discards his last heart and makes the last two tricks with the ♦K and ♠9. So West throws a diamond. North discards the ♠9, and East is squeezed in the red suits.
2. West leads the ♠6. which is covered by the ♠9, ♠10 and ♠A. South now starts running the clubs.
(a) If West at any stage discards down to just one spade, South must immediately lead the ♦3 to the ♦K and throw West in with a spade, forcing a lead to South’s remaining winners.
(b) If West retains two spades, South cashes seven clubs to reach this four card ending:
South cashes the last club. To prevent the spade throw-in (or, now, declarer’s alternative option of setting up a long spade in North) West must discard a diamond. North discards a spade. East must discard the ♥J. Declarer now crosses to the ♦K, and throws East in with a heart to force a lead to the ♦A.
3. West leads the ♠8, on which North plays low. If East plays the ♠7, South ducks, wins the spade continuation and play continues as in line (i). If East plays the ♠10, South wins and play continues as in line (ii)(b). There is no need to guard against West unblocking his high spades as the ♠9 has been retained in dummy.
B. West leads a spade. Declarer ducks. If West continues with the ♥Q, which holds, and then another spade, South wins and play reverts to line A.1. If the defence lead another spade to the second trick, South wins and runs the clubs, leading to a throw-in on one or other defender on the lines of A.2.
Note: Declarer must take care on the play of the spades in line A. West will be able to unblock in spades and so defeat the contract if:
This hand is based on a deal from Practical Bridge Endings by Chien-Hwa Wang. In the original version the contract was just 3NT and declarer was able to make it by means of the squeeze described in line A.1 (referred to by the author as a ‘nosittej double squeeze’ i.e. the reverse of a jettison double squeeze) when the defence, despite having no communication problems, failed to cash the top tricks available to them.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015