Competition Problem 56
(a) South to make four no-trumps when West leads the ♠J.
(b) What should West have led to defeat the contract?
Successful solvers: Rajeswar Tewari (suggesting DR8), Wim van der Zijden (DR7). Commiserations to Leigh Matheson (DR7) who sent in a very long analysis but had to concede defeat in line C.1.
First of all, my apologies to the composer, Paolo Treossi, for wrongly attributing this problem to Vincent Labbé when this problem first appeared.
(a) North plays the ♠Q and South plays low.
A. If East wins with the ♠K and returns the ♠10, South wins and plays a heart to North’s ♥Q.
1. If East ducks, North continues with a low heart to West’s ♥J.
(i) If West returns a low diamond, South overtakes North’s ♦10 with the ♦Q, loses a diamond and wins the forced diamond return with the ♦A. North discards a low club and the ♥9. North’s ♠9 and ♥A now squeeze West in the minor suits.
(ii) If West returns the ♣10, South wins and North scores the ♠9 and ♥A, squeezing West out of two diamonds. Now South makes the ♦Q and ♦A, reducing West to four clubs. The ♣8 is covered by the ♣9 and ♣J, followed by the ♣6 (not the ♣4!). West wins but now North’s ♣K4 are a tenace over West’s ♣Q3.
2. If East wins with the ♥K and returns a spade, North cashes the top hearts. West cannot afford a single club discard and so has to let go of two diamonds. Now three rounds of clubs, North finessing, subject East to a triple squeeze.
B. If East wins with the ♠K and returns a diamond, South wins with the ♦Q and loses a diamond. Best defence is for West to win and return a club. North wins with the ♣J and leads the ♥Q, which holds. North now advances the ♠9, South playing low! Whatever East now returns now, play ends in a simple squeeze against West’s minor suits. (For example: ♦A, ♥A, ♠9, ♣A, ♠A.)
C. If East ducks the ♠Q, North advances the ♥Q, which East does best to take with the ♥K.
1. If East returns a heart to North, South finesses the ♦Q and exits on a diamond.
(i) If West wins and leads the ♣10, this is allowed to hold! Now a diamond and three rounds of clubs squeeze East in the majors. Other defences at trick 6 lead to a minor suit squeeze on West.
(ii) If West wins and leads a diamond, South wins with the ♦A and loses a spade to East. Play ends in a minor suit squeeze on West when North scores the ♥9.
(iii) If East wins and leads a high spade, it is allowed to hold and play follows (ii).
(iv) If East wins and leads a heart, North can either win, then duck a club to West and squeeze East, or duck and squeeze West.
2. If East returns a high spade, it is allowed to hold and play follows A.2.
(b) West must lead a diamond¾but not a low one! Declarer would like to duck the diamond lead but if West leads the ♦J East’s ♦K is preserved and South does not have two immediate diamond winners.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2009
Date last modified: 15 April, 2017