Competition Problem 133a
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♠J.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Wim van der Zijden Tables
Declarer aims to endplay East in clubs such that when North makes a trick with the ♣K, West is squeezed in three suits.
North wins the first trick and leads a heart, South playing low. East does best to continue the suit to South’s ♥A. South then cashes one top diamond.
A. If East drops the ♦Q, South exits on the ♦2, establishing a tenace in the suit. The next three tricks are won by the ♥J and North’s top spades, South discarding a low club, to give this ending with either North or South on lead:
A club is played, North contributing the ♣5 and South the ♣6!
1. If East wins, the next trick makes North’s ♣K a winner and triple squeezes West.
2. If the ♣6 wins, West does best to discard a spade but South exits on the heart and North jettisons the blocking diamond so that the ♦K5 take the last two tricks.
(Actually, if South is on lead, then West must have exited on a spade after winning the second diamond, in which case North could simply have led any club immediately and the ♣6 is irrelevant. But the above play is necessary if West exits on a heart.)
B. If East still has the ♦Q, North is entered on a spade and will lead a club lower than the ♣K, either immediately or after cashing the last top spade on which South throws a club. East must take this trick.
1. If East still holds the ♦Q and plays it, South ducks to force a club lead up to North’s ♣K. Even if East does not cash the ♣A, West is triple-squeezed.
2. If East plays the ♣A and then the ♦Q, South ducks and West has already been squeezed.
3. If East plays ♣A and another club, South discards a diamond and West is squeezed.
4. If East plays a low club, North wins and, assuming West has discarded a diamond in preference to giving away the ninth trick immediately, South plays ♦K and another to establish the ninth trick in diamonds with the ♥J as entry.
Traps: If South wins the first heart and leads another, East wins and returns a spade. Declarer can now cash the top diamonds and try to throw East in with a club, but East plays the ♣2 to put paid to that idea! And if North plays a higher club on the first round of that suit in line A, or advances the ♣K in line B, then East ducks, of course.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015