Competition Problem 140a
by Paolo Treossi
South to make four hearts. West leads the ♣Q.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, A.V. Ramana Rao, Andries van der Vegt. Suggested DRs ranged from 4 to 8 but as several expert solvers got this one wrong I've gone for a high rating. I think these four deserve a Start Point each. Tables
At trick two South leads the ♠K! East does best to win this trick and return the ♦K to North’s ♦A. South comes to hand on the second club and leads a low heart. West does best to win with the ♥K and play another heart to North’s ♥Q. North leads a club and East does best to discard a spade. South ruffs and leads a spade. West does best to duck but North ruffs anyway! Here is the position now, with North on lead and declarer needing four more tricks:
South ruffs a club, cashes the ♥A on which North discards a diamond, and leads the ♦J. If East wins, North makes the last two tricks with the ♦7 and ♣6; otherwise, the ♠J10 give declarer one of the last two tricks.
A. If West, on making the ♥K, returns a diamond instead of a heart, South can ruff the third diamond with the ♥8 and then play spades until West covers. North ruffs and cashes the ♥Q and South can make the last three tricks with a ruff, the ♥A and a good spade.
B. If East returns a trump at trick three, South plays low. West wins with the ♥K and leads another heart to North’s ♥Q. South comes to hand on a club and plays spades until West covers. West does best to duck two spades, in which case North discards diamonds. South can now lead a third spade, North discarding a third diamond! West returns a club, ruffed by South. Then come a diamond to the ♦A, a club ruff, a diamond ruff, and the ♥A wins the last trick.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2016