Competition Problem 170b
composed by Stefan Ralescu
South to make four hearts. West leads the ♣K.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt, Wim van der Zijden
Declarer aims to set up Northís long diamond and also throw West in when that player has only black cards left and is forced to concede a trick to one of Southís jacks. To that end, declarer must win the first trick and immediately advance the ♦10!
A. If West wins with the ♦Q or ♦J, the only safe return is another diamond. If East ducks, South wins with the ♦K and returns the suit. When East gets in with the ♦A and returns (best) a club, North ruffs and leads the ♥Q. East does best to cover this but now the ♥A and another heart puts West on play with the ♥J, thus achieving the stated aim.
B. If West plays low and East wins with the ♦A, declarer has additional options, such as throwing West in on the third diamond for a damaging lead in any of the other three suits.
C. So best is for East to overtake Westís ♦J or ♦Q and return a club, ruffed by North, whose ♦87 now become important. One of those cards is led for an avoidance play against East, who must not be permitted to lead another club. If East covers, South wins and West has no safe return on winning the third diamond. Better, then, is for East to play low, forcing South to do the same (otherwise West drops the remaining honour under the ♦K so that Eastís ♦9 wins the third round). Winning the second diamond, West now has a safe exit in that suit but is soon back in again when North is entered on a spade finesse to lead the ♥Q as in line 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