Competition Problem 126a
by Sebastian Nowacki
South to make four no-trumps against any red suit lead by West.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Wing-Kai Hon, Radu Mihai, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden
A. If West leads the ♥5, North plays the ♥9 and Eastís ♥J is allowed to hold! East does best to switch to the ♦J, which runs to Northís ♦Q. North cashes the top clubs and then leads a spade, South finessing against Eastís ♠10. West does best to win this trick and return the ♠K, taken by Northís ♠A as South drops the ♠J. South comes to hand on either a heart or a club to lead a spade, North finessing the ♠6. Northís last spade forces East to discard the ♦2, whereupon South comes to hand on the remaining heart or club and throws East in on the last club so that Northís ♥A10 take the last two tricks.
B. If West leads a low diamond, North wins with the ♦Q and East drops the ♦J. North leads a low spade for the finesse and West wins. West does best to return a club to North, who leads the ♥10 to the ♥J and ♥K. The ♠J goes to the ♠K and ♠A, whereupon North cashes the ♠8!
1. If West plays the ♠4, North cashes the other top club and throws West in with a spade. If West now plays the ♦A and another diamond, East is squeezed, whereas a low diamond lets South win with the ♦K and play the ♣10 and another club.
2. If West drops the ♠7, North cashes the ♠6, South throwing a heart. East also does best to throw a heart but in any case North can now underlead the ♣K to throw West in for a diamond lead as in B.1. Note, however, that when West now plays the ♦A and another diamond, North must discard the ♣K!
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015