Competition Problem 133b
South to make six hearts. West leads the ♥10.
Successful solvers: Alexander Baranovitch, Steve Bloom, Marc Bonnet, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, F.Y. Sing, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
Promotion: With this result Andries van der Vegt becomes an Expert Problemist.
North covers the ♥10 with the ♥J, which wins (best defence), and leads a low spade. East must play low, as otherwise there are twelve top tricks, so the ♠J wins and North is entered on the ♥K for another low spade lead. Again East must play low, so the ♠Q wins. Now North overtakes the ♦K with the ♦A (!) and leads a heart for South to finesse against the ♥Q. South draws trumps and plays the last heart in this position:
North discards a club and the ♠K on the last two hearts.
A. If West keeps three diamonds and two clubs, North’s diamonds can be established via a lead through West’s ♦1095, with the ♣A as entry.
B. If instead West keeps four diamonds and one club and plays low (best) on South’s diamond lead, North wins cheaply, cashes the ♣A, and leads a low diamond to endplay West.
Here is the original problem by Ernest Pawle, published in Bridge Magazine in January 1959:
South to make six hearts. West leads the ♥8.
Pawle’s solution was as shown above, mutatis mutandi, requiring North to win the first trick with the ♥J. But in fact North can play any heart at trick one. For example, North might win the first three tricks in hearts, East withholding the ♥Q. Then comes a spade to the ♠J and another spade to North's ♠Q. East must win and (best) continue spades. South wins with the ♠K and cashes the ♥K, squeezing West down to five diamonds and just one club. Four rounds of diamonds, South ruffing the last, then squeeze East in the black suits.
My notes on this problem tell me that in 2003 Julian Pottage suggested the simple fix of swapping the ♣J and ♣10 but I thought Paolo Treossi’s independent revision to be slightly superior.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015