Competition Problem 82
by Steve Bloom
South to make two no-trumps against any defence.
Successful solver: Ian Budden
Leading solvers, 2011: Ian Budden scored 41 DD master points for solving plus 7 for composing. Wim van der Zijden scored 40 for solving. Sebastian Nowacki scored 35 for solving plus 9 for composing. Jean-Marc Bihl scored 35 for solving. Steve Bloom scored 32 for solving plus 23 for composing. Satyanarayana, with 31 points, is the only other solver to get more than 30.
A. The ♣Q appears to be a good opening lead, East allowing North’s ♣K to hold. When West gets in on the ♦A a heart to the ♥Q leaves declarer with no further hope as the defenders can now make three club tricks and two in hearts. However, that defence is nullified when North plays low at trick 1!
1. If West continues clubs and East clears the suit, South throws a heart on the third club, taken by North’s ♣K and now both spades and diamonds can be established without letting East get the lead.
2. If West switches to a heart, South wins and plays on diamonds until West takes the ♦A, North preserving the ♦10. Best defence is for West to win the third diamond and play a club to the ♣A for a heart return covered by the ♥J and ♥K. To avoid setting up South’s ♥8 as the eighth trick, West now leads a low spade to ♠J and ♠A, but the fourth diamond triple-squeezes East as North keeps two of each black suit.
If West wins the second diamond and passively returns the suit, either North or South can win the third diamond and lead a club to achieve the same result. (Alternatively, South can win the third and cash the fourth immediately, wringing a spade from East, such then when West eventually leads a spade it gives away three tricks in the suit.)
B. So West perhaps does better to lead a heart at trick 1, South capturing East’s ♥Q. Declarer plays on diamonds until West takes the ♦A, North preserving the ♦10. If West now switches to clubs, North ducks and the situation is as before. So West does better to take the second diamond and exit passively with a third. South overtakes the ♦10 and cashes the ♦9. West discards a heart, North a club.
1. If East discards a club, the position, with South on lead requiring four more tricks, is this:
South advances the ♥J! West wins and North discards a spade. West leads a spade to ♠J and ♠A, but East is thrown in on a heart. East tries a low club to North’s ♣K but North immediately returns the suit and the defence must either concede two spade tricks or let South’s ♥8 score.
2. If East discards a spade, South leads a club, North allowing West to win the trick. Now we have this position:
West does best to continue clubs, but North ducks again. Now West has to lead a heart, but declarer makes the ♥J, the ♠K and the ♠A before exiting on the ♥3. If West wins, South’s ♥8 will score; otherwise, East will have to lead away from 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, 2011
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017