Competition Problem 168b
South to make three hearts against any lead by West.
Successful solvers: Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari.
The tiny change in layout from that of 168a is of course intended to guide solvers towards the solutions to both problems.
West’s best lead is the ♣K, which is allowed to hold. North wins the club continuation, and leads the ♥5. East does best to play the ♥6 but South wins with the ♥7, cashes the ♥A and advances the ♥Q in this position:
A. If West discards the ♣J, declarer can simply draw trumps and then has several ways of getting two favourable leads from West—e.g., exit on a low diamond, win the high diamond return and throw West back in for a spade lead.
B. If West discards a diamond, North plays low, finesses the ♦Q, and continues the suit. East can score the ♥J but the clubs are no longer a threat and declarer makes three more tricks and the contract with a ruff in each hand and North’s long diamond.
C. If West discards the ♠5, North overtakes the ♥Q! A low spade from North puts West on lead, South covering the ♠J if East plays that card. West does best to exit in clubs but North ruffs and South discards a diamond. The ♠A and another spade now put West back on lead for a diamond lead into North’s tenace. North captures the ♦K (say) with the ♦A and leads the ♦Q. East can make only the good ♥J, South’s last two cards being the ♥4 and a spade winner. (It makes no real difference if East discards a diamond on the third spade and ruffs the ♦A.)
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2019