Competition Problem 135a
by Stefan Ralescu
East-West to defeat South's contract of three no-trumps.
Successful solvers: Tadikonda Appaji Prasad, Alexander Baranovitch, Steve Bloom, Mark Fogg Elliot, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Raghu Rajkumar, F.Y. Sing, Andries van der Vegt, Wim van der Zijden. Tables
West must lead the ♥K.
A. If South wins with the ♥A, the best try for the contract is to lead another heart, North discarding a club. East (not West) must win this and exit passively on a diamond or a low spade. Assume a spade, South can set up the hearts now, with an entry to come in clubs, but the defenders have the tempo and can set up the long spade to cash when East gets in with the ♣A. (A diamond from East at trick three also works. A spade from North comes to the same as before, whereas a high club is covered by the ♣Q so that the defenders can win two club tricks when West gets the lead on the ♥10.)
B. If South ducks, West switches to a club, covered by the ♣10, ♣Q and ♣K. Declarerís best try now is to run the diamonds immediately, discarding a heart and a club from hand. Each defender must discard two spades, but Eastís other discard must be the ♥J! The ending is now
and East merely has to duck the first spade to leave declarer with no hope.
In A., if West wins the heart at trick two, the best try for the defence is a spade ducked to South, but the run of Northís diamonds squeezes East in three suits.
In B., if East discards a low heart instead of the ♥J, then the ending after the last diamond becomes
East wins the second spade and leads a heart as before but if this is the ♥J, South ducks and now East can make only the ♣A before giving either North or South the last two tricks. If East instead leads the ♥4, South wins with the ♥A and throws East back in with a heart, North discarding the ♠K so that the ♣J will score.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2016