Competition Problem 128b
by Ian Budden
West to lead and East-West to defeat South's contract of five diamonds.
Successful solvers: Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Andries van der Vegt Tables
Only those three solvers spotted the need to lead the ♦10 at trick two when declarer lets the ♣K hold (see line B below). Some solvers tried the ♦K at trick one, but South, takes the next diamond, then plays as in line, using the ♦4 as entry for a heart ruff. On the run of the trumps North discards a heart and a club. West can discard a heart but is squeezed without the count in the black suits on the last trump.
To defeat the contract, West must lead the ♣K!
A. If North wins with the ♣A, declarer then takes the ♥A, leads a high trump to the ♦A, ruffs a heart high, and exits with a second high trump. Whoever wins must lead a club, West leading the ♣9 or East the ♣7. South does best to win with the ♣Q, cross on the ♦3 to the ♦4, ruff a heart, and play the remaining trumps. West must reduce to three spades and a club other than the ♣J, while East discards hearts, coming down to ♠Q7, a heart and a club. Having already lost one trick, declarer can make only two out of the last four, with the ♠A and ♠K.
B. If North ducks, West must switch to the ♦10! Against any non-trump lead declarer can score the ♥A and ♣Q and use North’s minor suit aces as entries to ruff out the hearts. Now whoever has the top trump is thrown in with it for either a ruff-and-discard or a trick-conceding spade lead. And if West leads the ♦K at trick 2, then North’s ♠K can serve as the second entry for the heart ruffs and East is thrown in after all the black suit winners have been cashed.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015