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Competition Problem 138a

composed by Paolo Treossi (after Leslie Cass)
presented for solving in August 2016

DR6

♠ K7

 A5432

 32

♣ AQ72

♠ J10865

 K76

 J4

♣ K63

♠ 2

 J109

 KQ1098

♣ J1098

♠ AQ943

Q8

 A765

♣ 54

South to make four spades.  West leads the J.

Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt.  Tables

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Solution

Declarer faces four losers: two in trumps and one in each red suit.  Possibilities to reduce these to three are (a) a trump endplay against West, (b) obtaining a heart lead away from West’s K, and (c) a squeeze against East, who has guards in three suits.  All three possibilities arise in the solution, depending on the defence.  East does best to overtake the J but in any case South ducks.

A.      If East returns the 2, North wins, capturing West’s 8, and then we have a diamond to the A, a club finesse, the top club, a club ruffed by South, and at trick 7 a low diamond in this position:

♠ 7

 A5432

 none

♣ 7

♠ J1065

 K76

 none

♣ none

♠ none

 J109

 K109

♣ J

♠ AQ9

Q8

 76

♣ none

1.       If West discards, North ruffs and plays A and another heart.  In with the K, West has to return a high trump to South, who exits on the remaining diamond.  West is forced to ruff this and lead into South’s A9 tenace.

2.       If West ruffs high, declarer will gain a trick on the return.  If it is a heart, declarer has a choice of plays to keep West to just one more trick with the J.  If it is a trump, South draws trumps and East is squeezed in three suits as North comes down to A5 and 7—South leads the Q to pin the J if East discards a second heart.

3.       If West ruffs low, North overruffs and declarer has a choice of plays.  Either ruff a club high and play two more rounds of trumps to endplay west, or play a heart to the Q and K so that South gets a heart ruff with the 9.

B.      If East returns a heart, declarer has a choice but must not allow East to win a heart trick.  One way is to duck the heart around to North’s A and put West in with the second heart, before or after ruffing the third diamond in North.  Assume instead that South plays the Q and lets the K hold.

1.       If West now leads a high trump, South wins in hand and in some order makes two club tricks, the red suit aces, a heart ruff and a club ruff to give

♠ K

 54

 none

♣ 7

♠ 10865

 none

 none

♣ none

♠ none

 none

 K109

♣ J

♠ A9

none

 76

♣ none

Needing three more tricks, South leads a diamond to let North’s K capture one of West’s trumps.  West then has to ruff the next trick, as South throws a diamond, and lead into the A9.

2.       If West returns anything else at trick 3, declarer can in some order make all the side-suit winners and obtain two ruffs to come down to a similar position but with one more trump in each hand:

♠ K7

 54

 none

♣ 7

♠ J10865

 none

 none

♣ none

♠ 2

 none

 K109

♣ J

♠ AQ9

none

 76

♣ none

South leads a diamond and West does best to ruff with the 8.  North overruffs and leads a club or heart for South to ruff high.  North’s 7 now forces West to ruff the next diamond high and again lead into South’s A9.

C.      On any other return at trick 2 the position shown in B.2 can be reached.

See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.

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© Hugh Darwen, 2016
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017