Competition Problem 126b
South to make seven no-trumps. West leads the ♣Q.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Wing-Kai Hon, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
North wins with the ♣K and leads the ♠J, followed by the ♠10 when the ♠J holds. East does best to cover the second spade so that South has to cross on a diamond (the ♦6) to the ♦A for the finesse against East’s ♠9. We now have this ending, with South on lead:
The ♠A, on which North discards a club, triple-squeezes West.
A. If West discards a heart, three rounds of hearts squeeze West again. A diamond discard gives North three diamond tricks to go with South’s ♣A, whereas as club discard means that North two diamond winners (the ♦9 being overtaken by the ♦10) will squeeze East before South in the black suits.
B. If West discards a diamond, North finesses and runs the diamonds, the second of which triple-squeezes East, who has already thrown a heart on the first one. A spade discard makes South’s ♠4 good for the thirteenth trick and a heart discard allows declarer to come to hand on the ♣A to make three heart tricks by leading the ♥J. So East has to unguard clubs, but now declarer has a choice of further squeezes:
1. South can discard two hearts on the diamonds, forcing West to discard a heart while East throws another club. Now a club to the ♣A completes a non-simultaneous double squeeze, catching East in the major suits.
2. Alternatively, South can discard a club and a heart. This gives West a safe discard in clubs, but a club to the ♣A squeezes East in the majors anyway because the pinning threat in hearts has been retained.
C. Finally, if West unguards clubs at trick six (so declarer is still two tricks short), South runs the ♦9. Retaining the lead, South now leads the ♥J to isolate the guard of that suit in East when West covers. North’s ♦Q, on which South throws a heart, now begins a repeated squeeze on East: whichever suit East unguards, the established winner in that suit squeezes East again.
Note that line C fails if South carelessly leads the ♦9 at trick four.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015