Competition Problem 120b
by Wim van der Zijden
leads the ♦J
against South's contract of four spades.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Abby Chiu, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, F.Y. Sing, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen. Those who failed mostly fell into the trap described below. Tables
North plays a low diamond and Southís ♦A captures the ♦K. The fortunate distribution in spades allows trumps to be drawn by leading the ♠Q and then, when this is covered by the ♠K and ♠A, the ♠9, pinning the ♠8. The ♠7 draws Eastís last trump. West does best to discard a club on this trick, leaving the following position, with South on lead:
South cashes another spade, North throwing a club. If West discards a club North can be entered on a diamond finesse to lead the ♣Q, after which Southís ♣8 can be established after a heart loser has been discarded on the ♦Q. However, if West discards a heart, then South must play the last spade before taking a diamond finesse. Now West must discard another club, keeping two hearts to prevent an easy throw-in against East. North discards a club (not a diamond!) on the last spade and after the diamond finesse advances the ♣Q to Eastís ♣K, pinning Westís last club.
A. If East immediately returns a heart, Westís ♥K is allowed to hold. The ♥A wins the next trick and then the lead of the ♦3 throws West in for a diamond lead into Northís remaining tenace.
B. If East cashes the other club winner, West and North both discard low diamonds. Now after a heart to the ♥K and ♥A the lead of the ♥2 brings about the coup de gr‚ce: if East plays low, Northís diamond tenace takes the last two tricks, whereas rising with the ♥Q swallows the ♥J and gives South the last two with the ♣8 and ♥9!
Trap: If North discards a diamond instead of a club on the last spade, then line A fails. However, North might try winning the heart and leading the a club. In that case East wins with the ♣A and returns the suit, West discarding the ♥J! And if North leads a heart instead, East rises with the ♥Q and returns a heart. In either case South has to lead from a minor tenace at trick twelve and East wins the last two tricks
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015