Competition Problem 164a
South to make four spades. West leads the ♥4.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari
South captures Eastís ♥Q with the ♥A, then plays the ♦K, a diamond to the ♦A, and a heart from North. East does best to play low and West does best to ruff Southís ♥J and lead a trump to the ♠A. Now East does best to lead a diamond. South plays a middle spade on Eastís ♠A and another when ruffing the diamond. The position is now like this:
South leads a heart.
A. If West discards a club, North ruffs and South ruffs the ♦5. On the next heart West does best to ruff with the ♠Q and lead a trump but South wins and plays the last trump, squeezing East in hearts and clubs.
B. If West discards the ♦9, North ruffs with the ♠6 and plays ♣A and another club, ruffed by South with the ♠J. Now when West ruffs the next heart with the ♠Q and leads a trump, North can win with the ♠8 and cash the good diamond. Southís ♠K wins the last trick.
C. If West ruffs high and leads a trump, declarer can win in hand, cross-ruff the red suits and squeeze East as in line A. Alternatively, North can win with the ♠8 and lead the ♦5, catching East in a ruffing squeeze.
D. If West ruffs low, North overruffs and the contract is easily made by cross-ruffing, Westís ♠Q scoring at some stage.
If declarer fails to cash the ♦K at trick two, West ruffs the ♥J and leads a spade to Eastís ♠A. East returns a heart on which West discards a club. Declarer is now doomed to lose a side-suit trick as well as a trump.
If declarer leads a low heart at trick two, West discards a diamond (to prevent an easy cross-ruff). East wins, cashes the ♠A, and leads 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, 2018