Competition Problem 141a
How is six no-trumps by South defeated?
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt Tables
Promotion: A.V. Ramana Rao becomes a Problemist with this result.
(a) West must lead the ♠9! Declarer’s best try is to cash the ♦A and come to hand on a heart finesse to play two more rounds of hearts, North discarding spades, followed by the ♦K. But West discards diamonds on the hearts and then the ♣10 on the ♦K. North drops the ♦Q to give South an entry back to hand. South now leads a low club but West inserts the ♣J and will play the ♣K under South’s ♣A to avoid the threatened throw-in on the third round of clubs. Note that East does not waste the ♥9 on the first round of hearts, as South must in any case overtake the ♥8. Note also that if West rises with the ♣K on the first round and exits on a club to the ♣Q, South’s heart losers go on the top spades and the last three tricks are made by the ♦8, ♣A and ♣4.
(b) Declarer plays as in (a) but this time West can be thrown in on the third round of clubs. North then gets a spade finesse and South has a diamond entry to the long club. If West keeps four clubs and therefore discards a spade, North plays the ♦3 on South’s ♦K and is entered on the ♦Q to play three rounds of spades. The forced club return gives declarer the last four tricks with, in some order, the ♣Q, ♣A, ♦K, and ♠J.
(c) The play goes as in (a) up to trick seven, except that this time the first heart is won by South’s ♥8 when East plays low, making the ♥J10 equals against the ♥Q. At trick eight, North leads the ♠A in this position:
East discards a heart, South a club. Now comes the ♠K, on which South throws another club. South comes to hand on the minor suit from which East has just discarded and sets up a heart trick with the top card in the other minor suit as entry.
Comments: In both (b) and (c) South can lead the ♦8 instead of the stipulated ♦K. North overtakes with the ♦Q if West discards a spade. In (b) North can optionally cash a top spade before crossing to South on the heart.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2016