Competition Problem 131a
South to make five no-trumps against any lead.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Radu Mihai, Zoran Sibinović, Dick Yuen Tables
West’s only apparently safe lead is the ♦Q. North wins and leads a low club (not the ♣A—see the Trap below).
A. If East plays low, South covers with the ♣9 and West wins. Now the only safe return is a club, but North wins and cashes the ♥K (or plays a diamond to the ♦J and then cashes the ♥K).
1. If West plays the ♥5, a heart is ducked to West, who now has to lead a spade. South makes two spade tricks, triple-squeezing East. If East discards a red card, then the ♥A, ♦A and North’s established red suit winner squeezes West again. If East instead discards a club, then the ♣K and ♣3, on which North discards a diamond, subject East to a criss-cross squeeze in the red suits.
2. If West plays the ♥J, then North leads the ♥10, which holds. Now a spade is lost to West and the spade return squeezes East as in A.1. (If East covers the ♥10, South can win and lead the ♠Q with much the same effect.)
B. If East rises with the ♣J, South wins and plays a heart to the ♥K.
1. If West plays the ♥5, North cashes the ♣A and leads the ♥4 (not the ♥10, or East will cover!) and South plays low. South now gets two spade tricks as before and again East is triple-squeezed, this time without the count. Here is the position, with South leading the ♠A:
If East discards a red card, then South cashes a winner in that suit, crosses to the ♦A, cashes North’s red suit winner, and leads the ♣5, scoring the ♣9 and a red suit winner. If instead East discards a club, then South loses a club and wins the diamond return with the ♦J. North discards a diamond on the good ♣9 and East is criss-cross squeezed as in A.1.
2. If West plays the ♥J, North leads the ♥10. Whether or not East covers, South will subsequently set up a trick for the ♣9, then lose a spade to West. For example, if East covers the ♥10, South wins, plays a club to the ♣A and a club towards the ♣9 (or, if West still has the ♣10, a club, ducked and the ♣10 overtaken by East). East wins and returns a heart to North’s ♥9 and now a spade is ducked to West. East discards a club on the spade return but is then squeezed when South cashes the ♣9, North discarding a diamond.
Trap: If North cashes the ♣A at trick 2, East plays high. South wins with the ♣K and leads a low heart, but West rises with the ♥J and East covers the ♥10! Now North is short of a safe entry for setting up 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