Competition Problem 127a
is declarer in five no-trumps.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Wing-Kai Hon, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Zoran Sibinović
Promotion: Zoran Sibinović, who joined us quite recently, is promoted to Problemist with this result. Tables
North needs the ♠8 and the ♣6.
A. Suppose West leads the ♦9. North covers with the ♦10 and South captures Eastís ♦J. The ♣Q is allowed to hold and is followed by the ♣8 to the ♣9 and ♣10. North cashes the ♠A.
1. If West plays low, a spade is conceded to the ♠K.
(a) If West returns a club, North wins two club tricks, South dropping the ♣7 under the ♣A, bringing East down to two spades, two hearts, and two diamonds. A heart is led for a finesse of the ♥9, followed by the ♥J is this holds. Thus South wins two out of three heart tricks on the third of which North discards a diamond and East is subjected to a criss-cross squeeze in spade and diamonds.
(b) If West returns the ♥K, South wins and leads the ♥J. West does best to win and return a club but South will then have a club entry to score the ♥9, North discarding a diamond, and the same criss-cross squeeze is reached, with either the ♥9 or the last club as squeeze card, depending on which club West returned.
2. If West drops the ♠K, South comes to hand on the ♠Q and leads the ♣7 so that North can again retain the lead with the last club. Again South finesses the ♥9 and now the hearts subject East to a squeeze and throw-in. Forced down to a spade and two diamonds, East is put on play with the spade to lead into the split tenace in diamonds.
B. Suppose West leads the ♥K. South wins with the ♥A and leads the ♣Q, followed by another club when that holds. Several lines of play are now available but against best defence they all involve ducking a spade to East, which can be achieved thanks to Northís ♠8. The endings are similar to those in A.
If North holds the ♣7 instead of the ♣6, line A.1(b) fails because East can always prevent South from obtaining the lead on the third or fourth round of clubs.
If North holds the ♠7 instead of the ♠8, line B fails when West plays low on the second club. Southís best try is to duck a spade immediately, but West wins with the ♠8 and returns the ♦9.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015