Competition Problem 144b
South to make four no-trumps. West leads the ♣6.
Successful solvers: Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt Tables
On the first trick North plays the ♣Q and East does best to duck. South unblocks the ♣9. Declarer finesses the ♠10 and then ducks a diamond to Eastís ♦K. East cashes the ♣A (best), on which both South and North unblock honour cards, and leads a heart to the ♥K. South leads a low diamond, on which West must play low, and Northís ♦J wins, East discarding a spade. North cashes the ♥A, on which South discards a diamond, and then leads the ♣7.
A. East discards a spade. South overtakes the club and plays ♠A and another spade, won by East. East must return a heart to North, South discarding his last diamond, and South wins the last two tricks with the ♣3 and the last spade.
B. East discards a heart. South plays the ♣3. Declarer then cashes the master heart and throws East in with a heart, discarding a diamond and a low spade from South. East must return a spade and South wins two spades and a club.
(If East leads a heart to the ♥K at the fourth trick, declarer plays the same tricks in a different order. A low diamond is led to the ♦J and North exits with the ♣K to Eastís ♣A, South unblocking. East returns a heart, won by North.)
1. If declarer ducks a diamond at the second trick, before taking the spade finesse, East will defeat the contract by cashing the ♣A and then leading a heart.
2. If declarer tries to set up his diamond winner by leading the ♦Q from South instead of a low diamond, West defeats the contract by winning with the ♦A and continuing with any suit except a spade.
3. If declarer leads the ♣7 from the North hand at the seventh trick before cashing the ♥A, East unblocks the ♠J. The contract can now be defeated, as declarer cannot set up the spades without letting West in to win a diamond.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2017