Competition Problem 125a
South to make five clubs. West leads the ♦5.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Wing-Kai Hon, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Suggested DRs ranged from 3 to 6. Tables
On the ♦5 lead, North plays low and South wins with the ♦A. South returns the ♦2. West must play low to avoid setting up two diamond tricks for North, so North wins with the ♦Q. South ruffs a diamond, cashes the ♣A, and exits with a low club to Eastís ♣K (or ♣J), North discarding a spade. East returns the ♥10 on which South plays the ♥2. West also plays low and North wins with the ♥A. South returns to hand with a diamond ruff and cashes the ♣Q and ♣6. West discards a spade, North comes down to the ♠A5 and two hearts, and East must keep two hearts and the ♠K8. South now cashes the last trump. If West discards:
A. the ♥K, North discards a heart. East must retain both spades and the ♥Q, so he discards his low heart but is then thrown in with a heart to lead into the spade tenace.
B. a spade, North discards the ♠5. If East discards a heart, declarer leads the ♥J to set up a heart in dummy. And if East discards a spade, declarer crosses to dummyís ♠A, and exits with a heart to the ♥K, forcing West to lead to the ♠Q.
1. If declarer wins the opening lead with Northís ♦Q, cashes ♣A and ♦A, and exits with a club, then East returns the ♥Q or ♥10 and the defence will prevail. Declarerís best attempt on the ♥10 return is probably to play the ♥J and to duck in dummy when West plays the ♥K, rectifying the count for a major suit squeeze on East. West must now lead the ♥7 (and not a tempting spade, or indeed anything else) to break up the squeeze.
2. If South plays the ♥J on the ♥10, West covers with the ♥K and best defence will defeat the contract:
(a) If North ducks the ♥K, West continues by leading the ♥7 to break up the impending squeeze on East.
(b) If North wins with the ♥A, declarer continues by ruffing a diamond and cashing two clubs. East discards a spade and two top hearts. Then, on the last club, West discards another spade, retaining the ♥7. If North discards a heart, East unblocks his last top heart, while if North throws a spade, so does East. In either case the defenders come to 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