Competition Problem 12
by Julian Pottage
West to lead and East-West to defeat South's contract of four spades.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Simon Cheung, Bircan Öztürk, Wim van der Zijden.
West must lead three rounds of trumps and East must discard two diamonds! Declarer's best try is to win the third round with the ♠8 and lead the ♣Q, which West must cover. North wins and now has two reasonable choices.
A. If North leads the ♥K, East covers and South ruffs. West must drop the ♣10 on the second round of clubs and East must play low. Then on the ♦A West plays low and East must discard the ♣9. Next, West covers the diamond and North ruffs and scores the ♥Q. Finally when declarer exits with a club West exits with ♦K, leaving ♥10 as a loser.
B. If South comes to hand with a club at trick five, West must retain the ♣10! West covers the diamond and North ruffs. East covers the ♥K. Declarer has only losing options left: a club exit straight away gives West has a safe heart exit; a diamond covered and ruffed, followed by the ♥Q allows West to be endplayed but there is no way to reach the long club, so West wins a diamond trick.
Only four correct solutions but nobody thought the DR should be more than 6. Most solvers simply omitted line B, but it is clearly important to mention that line because of the neat antithesis with line A regarding West's play on the second round of clubs.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2006
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017