Competition Problem 161b
composed by Stefan Ralescu
(a) South to make
for spades. West leads the ♦6.
Successful solvers: Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden. Only three correct solutions but I think these three solvers would be surprised by a higher DR.
The ♦A at trick one is followed by two rounds of trumps (it matters not which cards South plays to these two tricks), then a club to Eastís ♣A. South ruffs the diamond return and leads a high club, covered by West and ruffed by North, who leads a low heart.
A. If East plays low, West wins with the ♥J and continues with a low heart, South ruffing Eastís ♥K. The position is now (for example)
South leads a high club, followed by another if West lets it hold. North discards one or two diamonds. In either case Westís next lead either lets North make the ♥Q or gives South a second club trick.
B. If East rises with the ♥K and returns a diamond, South ruffs and can lead any club, North discarding a diamond.
C. If East rises with the ♥K and returns a heart, South can either ruff and lead a high club, or simply discard and make Northís ♥Q.
To defeat the contract West must lead the ♥J. If North covers, East wins with the ♥K and continues hearts, putting South immediately in a losing position. If North ducks (better), West must switch to the ♦6. Declarerís best chance is to follow the play in (a) but this time starting with the ♠J, which West must duck. East wins the first club and leads a diamond, ruffed by South. West must discard a low heart.
D. If South now leads a high club, West can either cover or play the ♣3, in which case South leads another club. East discards diamonds. When West covers a club North ruffs and leads a low heart. East plays low, letting West win with the ♥9 and return a low heart to the ♥K. Declarer ruffs but can take only two of the last three tricks.
E. If South instead leads a low club, West must play the ♣7. Whether North discards or ruffs the position is now hopeless.
Trap: In Part (b), if West covers the first spade, North wins and leads a club. East wins with the ♣A and returns a diamond, but South ruffs and leads a low club. West covers with the ♣7 but North ruffs high. Declarer can now come to hand on a trump and eventually set up the clubs, ruffing out one of Westís honours and losing to the other.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2018