Competition Problem 131b
With South on lead at no-trumps, North-South to make six tricks.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt, Wim van der Zijden Tables
South cashes the ♥K, on which West does best to drop the ♥Q, and then leads the ♠8.
North leads the ♠8 which either holds or is covered by the ♠9 and ♠J. In either case, South’s ♥Q squeezes East: a spade discard allows South to set up a long spade with ♣A as entry, whereas a club discard allows South to cash the ♣A and exit on a low spade.
A. If West plays the ♠Q or ♠K, North ducks.
1. If West puts East in on the ♥J, South discards the ♠J. South wins the return with the ♦K or ♣Q and leads the ♠6 for the finesse of the ♠10. North’s two spade tricks inflict a minor suit squeeze on East.
2. If West leads a high spade (better), North wins and South drops the ♠J and the ♠10 squeezes East in three suits (and an overtrick is made if East chooses to discard the ♥J).
B. If West plays low, North wins with the ♠10 and exits on a heart to East’s ♥J, South again discarding the ♠J. South wins the minor suit return and leads the ♠6. West is allowed to win this trick and then North’s ♠A squeezes East as before.
The play is essentially the same if West plays low on the ♥K, with South retaining first round control of both minor suits.
Trap: If South leads the ♠6 instead of the ♠8, West plays low. Line B now fails when West plays low again on the second spade! South is thus left on lead with two losers in the minor suits while North “goes to bed” with the ♠A.
The reason why I'm showing so many problems by Paolo Treossi is that in 2011 and 2012 he sent me a large collection of revisions he had made to defective problems that had appeared in Coffin's collections and my columns in British magazines. This particular problem is a revision of one by Alfred P. Sheinwold, which appeared as Problem 143 in George Coffin’s Sure Tricks (1948).
In the original problem West had ♥J7 opposite East’s ♥Q6. In that case West can safely drop the ♥7 under the ♥K and line A fails when West wins the first spade and returns a spade. A heart to East’s ♥Q is no good now as South has to discard one of the minor suit menaces, and if North instead cashes the remaining spade winner, East can safely discard the ♥Q. The solution published in Sure Tricks assumes that West exits on the ♥J after winning the first spade.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015