Competition Problem 146a
by Paolo Treossi
South to make four hearts. West leads the ♦J.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Johnson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt, Wim van der Zijden Tables
North wins with the ♦K and leads the ♠9, covered by the ♠10 and ♠K. The heart finesse is taken and trumps are drawn. Next comes the ♠8, again covered by East and South, leaving North with a ♠52 minor tenace under East’s ♠Q4. South plays one more trump, North discarding a club. East now has to find a discard in this position:
A. If East discards a spade, South cashes the last heart and North again discards a club.
1. If East discards any club, South exits on a spade, establishing North’s ♠5. Now either the clubs are blocked or, if East has discarded a high one, South’s ♣5 is a stopper; so defenders can make only two club tricks before letting North in on the ♦A to score that spade winner.
2. If East discards a diamond, South plays a diamond to the ♦A and throws West in on a diamond. Even if West makes two diamond tricks, South will come to the ♣K.
B. If East discards a low club, South again cashes the last trump and the play is similar to A.
C. If East discards a high club, South plays a diamond to the ♦A and North leads a club which goes to ♣Q, ♣K, and ♣A. South ruffs the diamond return and exits on the ♣2. West wins with the ♣10 but then South's ♣5 beats West’s ♣4.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2017