Competition Problem 68
South is in four hearts in each diagram. In each case, how is the contract defeated if West leads from a major suit and how is it made against a lead in the other major?
Successful solvers: None! Nobody spotted the significance of the ♠10 in diagram B.
In Diagram A the contract makes against a heart lead. Southís ♥A captures Eastís ♥Q and South plays a spade to the ♠K, ruffs a low club, and leads the ♠Q. West wins this and now does best to cash the ♥K (a third spade would be ruffed by North and then after ♣A and another club, ruffed, West is bound to have to lead away from the ♦K and can make just the two heart tricks). Southís ♠J and remaining trumps bring about the following endgame:
The ♥5 wrings a club from West so that when North discards a diamond East is squeezed in three suits. East bares the ♦J but South leads the ♦Q to ♦K and ♦A. North cashes the ♣A and leads the ♦7, setting up Southís ♦6.
Against a low spade lead North wins and South ruffs a club and plays the ♠Q as above. This time West wins and exits on a third spade. North can ruff this but when South now ruffs a club and exits on a low heart, East overtakes Westís ♥9 with the ♥Q. Now either a spade or a diamond spells declarerís doom.
In Diagram B the contract makes easily against a spade lead. The ♠10 is best but North wins and can play either a low club or the ♣A and a low club. South ruffs and leads the ♠Q. West wins but cannot prevent North from ruffing Southís remaining low spade. West does best to lead the ♥K, but South wins with the ♥A, ruffs the low spade, ruffs a club and exits on a heart to Eastís ♥Q. West now gets a spade ruff but must now lead either a diamond away from the ♦K or, if North has kept the ♣A, a club, setting up an extra club trick for North.
Any heart lead defeats the contract. If West leads the ♥K, declarerís best chance is to let it hold. Against a low heart lead, the best chance is the capture the ♥Q and lead the ♥J to Westís ♥K. In either case Westís next lead is the ♠10! North wins with the ♠K and South ruffs a club. Trumps are drawn, followed by the ♠Q. West wins with the ♠A and exits on the ♠8, East overtaking with the ♠9 (otherwise South would allow the ♠8 to hold and West would be fixed). Now the squeeze fails because Southís diamonds are not strong enough.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2010
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017