Competition Problem 165c
South to make five diamonds against any lead and defence.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ed Lawhon, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Wim van der Zijden.
Promotion: Rajeswar Tewari becomes a Life Master Problemist, having achieved more than 400 D.D. Master Points and 10 Star Points. (The announcement is overdue, should have appeared in November 2018.)
This problem is a tiny modification of Problem 515, to which I have now appended a scanned copy of the Bridge Magazine article by Victor Mollo in which it originally appeared. For December's extra problem I had decided to choose one from the archive to which nobody had yet submitted a correct solution. On re-analysing this one I discovered a slight flaw, which I corrected with a change to the trump suit intermediates.
West does best to lead the ♣A, East discarding a spade. Declarer aims for either of the following two positions, with North on lead:
JS is for jettison squeeze. In each case North’s minor suit winner squeezes East. A spade discard lets declarer come to hand on the ♥A to run the spades, whereas a heart discard lets declarer jettison the ♥A and run North’s hearts.
A. If West switches to a low diamond, East discards another spade and South wins with the ♦J. South now has the option to lead either the ♠A or the ♦Q. Assuming the ♦Q, West does best to win with the ♦K as East discards another spade.
1. If West continues diamonds, North wins as cheaply as possible, South dropping the ♦9 under the ♦10 if West leads the ♦8; East discards another spade. South now ruffs North ♣3 with the ♦A and East discards yet another spade, coming down to six hearts and ♠KQ. North is entered on the fourth round of diamonds to arrive at JS1.
(If South opts to lead the ♠A at trick three, West does best to discard. North discards a low heart and then play follows as just described.)
2. If West leads a club, North plays low and South ruffs. The ♦A and a diamond to North’s ♦10 give the same result.
B. If West continues clubs, North plays low and South ruffs with a middle trump, say the ♦9. The ♦Q follows, and this time South does not have the option to lead the ♠A first. To prevent declarer from following line A, West must win with the ♦K and lead a third club. East discards spades as before but South ruffs the winner with a high trump, cashes the other high trump and leads the ♦2 to finesse North’s ♦107 over ♦86. North’s remaining trump is led in position JS2.
If West plays low on the ♦Q in either of the above lines, South follows with the ♦J and can always arrive at the same jettison squeeze. For example, if West ducks both times, although simpler lines are now available, South could play the ♦A and another diamond, North’s ♣K then winning the next trick and inflicting the squeeze.
Trap: If South cashes the ♦A prematurely in A., West captures the ♦Q and leads another to spoil the squeeze. And if South cashes it prematurely in B., West ducks the ♦Q, captures the ♦J and leads a club. South cannot then profitably ruff the ♣K and has to follow suit on the last round of trumps.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2018