Competition Problem 128a
South to make six no-trumps against any lead.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Wing-Kai Hon, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Wim van der Zijden Tables
Several solvers fell into the trap I describe in line B below.
A. If West leads the ♦K, the first five tricks are won by the ♦A, ♣A, ♥A, ♣10 finessed, ♣Q, giving this position with North on lead:
The next club squeezes East out of a spade: a heart concedes the 12th trick immediately and a diamond allows Northís diamonds to be established so that West has to lead away from the ♠K to prevent North from making the diamond winners. West discards the ♠9. South advances the last club, on which East is again forced to discard a spade. North can discard either a spade or the ♦3ósay the latter. Then ♠A, ♥Q, ♦Q and another diamond endplays East.
B. If West leads a low diamond, the play goes ♦J, ♣A, ♥8 to the ♥A, ♣10 finessed, ♣Q, ♣2 to South and the last club. West is forced down to three three spades and three diamonds in this position, with South on lead:
A heart to Northís ♥Q squeezes West. A diamond discard leads to an easy throw-in in that suit, so West discards a spade. It now looks as if West can be thrown in with a spade after South makes the ♠A and ♥J, but thatís a trap, as West can discard the ♠K on the ♥J! Instead, North must lose a diamond to West, simultaneously endplaying that player and squeezing East! South discards from the opposite suit to East so as to take the last four tricks on a spade return from West.
C. If West leads the ♥K, North drops the ♥Q and South wins. A club to the ♣A is followed by the ♥8 to Southís ♥9, a club finesse and the top club, leaving this position with North on lead:
The next club wrings a spade from East, who must keep three diamonds to protect West from and endplay in that suit. West discards a diamond, then a middle spade on the last club. East has to discard another spade. Now the ♥J squeezes West. If West discards the ♠J, North throws a diamond and South leads the ♠Q to take the last four tricks with the ♠A, ♠3, ♦Q and ♦A. If West discards a diamond, North discards a blocking (!) spade. Now North makes two diamond tricks and leads a spade to the ♠Q. West wins with the ♠K but has to lead from ♠J2 into South ♠A3 at trick 12.
The play in this line isnít 100% precise as South can score the ♥J earlier, such that it is instead the last club that squeezes West at trick 8.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015