Competition Problem 166
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♥Q.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Ed Lawhon, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, A.V. Ramana Rao, Andrew Prothero, Zoran Sibinović, F.Y. Sing, Rajeswar Tewari, Daniël de Lind van Wijngaarden, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden
Promotion: Steve McVea becomes an Expert Problemist
Thanks for all the DR suggestions (from eleven of the above), ranging from 2 to 6 and averaging at 3.86.
Wim van der Zijden wrote: “... a very beautiful line! Never seen this before: Three suit squeeze on both sides, followed by a stepping stone on both sides!”
South lets the ♥Q hold and wins the heart continuation to play diamonds from the top. West does best to win the second diamond and lead a spade. East captures North’s ♠J, South discarding a low club, and returns the ♥J in this position:
West is in discard trouble as South wins with the ♥A.
A. If West throws a spade, North club winners and (optionally) a top spade are followed by the ♦8 to catch East in a see-saw squeeze. A spade discard lets South play low and cash North’s spades for an overtrick, whereas a club or heart discard lets South overtake with the ♦9 and cash a winner in the unguarded suit (or possibly two winners in clubs if North still holds the two top spades). Assuming North has already cashed a top spade, South scores a heart or a club in the unguarded suit and exits to East on a club or a heart so that North’s remaining spade winner takes the last trick.
B. If West throws a club, play proceeds as in A., but differs when East discards a spade on the ♦8. In that case West is thrown in on the fourth spade at trick twelve such that South’s ♦9 wins the last trick.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2019