Competition Problem 122a
South to make five clubs. West leads the ♣Q.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Wing-Kai Hon, Radu Mihai, Zoran Sibinović, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Several others submitted solutions but fell into the Trap mentioned below. Tables
This composition was adapted from a slightly unsound problem by Ernest Pawle, published in 1953.
North wins, South unblocking, and leads a spade, South playing the ♠2! If East wins, that player must now lead another trump to prevent declarer getting home with two spade ruffs, five tricks in the red suits and four clubs (losing just a spade and a club). If West wins, that player can alternatively lead a diamond, in which case South wins with the ♦J and leads the ♣2. North's ♣6 wins the second trump. Now:
A. If East won the second trick, Northís trump entries are used to take the diamond finesse and the ruffing finesse in hearts, in either order. The ♦K and ♦A follow. West is forced to discard two hearts because a spade discard allows South to discard the diamond loser on the ♥Q and give up a spade, taking the last two tricks with the ♣10 and ♠Q. Now the diamond loser goes on the ♥Q and a heart is ruffed, reducing West to just the ♠KJ10. South exits on the ♠4 to endplay West.
B. If West won the second trick, North leads the ♥K, covered and ruffed. North is re-entered on the third club.
1. If East discards a spade, then in some order the next tricks are won by the ♦J (if that card is still held), the ♦K, ♦A, and the ♥Q. West has to discard two hearts, so South now ruffs a heart to bring West down to ♠KJ3 over Southís ♠AQ4. South leads the ♠Q to win two of the last three tricks.
2. If West returned a trump at trick three and East discards a high heart (better), North plays the ♥Q.
(a) If East plays low, South discards a spade. North leads the ♦9 to the ♦10 and ♦J. Now the ♣10 forces a spade from East, whereupon the ♠A, ♦A and a heart to Eastís ♥10 forces a diamond lead into the split tenace at trick 12.
(b) If East plays high, keeping the ♥4, then South discards a diamond and comes to hand on a diamond finesse. Now the ♦K and ♦A force heart discards from West, who is thrown in with a heart to lead into the ♠AQ. (South can optionally cash the last club in this sequence. This allows West to discard three hearts, but then East must discard a spade to keep both red suits guarded, so a spade to the ♠Q will have the same effect as in B.1.)
3. If West returned a diamond at trick three and East discards a heart, South can, for example, simply ruff a heart and win a diamond trick in either hand. West is squeezed out of a heart and can be thrown in on the fourth round of that suit to lead into South's ♠AQ.
Trap: If North leads the ♥K at trick 2, East covers and South ruffs high. Declarer's best try is a low spade now, but East wins and returns the suit! North can get two spade ruffs but South will have use the diamond finesse and a heart ruff to be in hand to continue trumps. West wins with the ♣J and returns a heart. Now the ♣3 will win a trick.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015