Competition Problem 96b
by Leslie Cass
North opens one heart, East overcalls one spade, the auction ending in six diamonds by South. West leads the ♠7, an obvious singleton. Assume that nobody is void in hearts.
What distribution or distributions for East might cause a skilful declarer to
fail in six diamonds?
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Radu Mihai, F.Y. Sing, Wim van der Zijden. Suggested DRs ranged from 2 to 7, the average being 4.
Declarer should draw two rounds of trumps, and claim if trumps are 2-2. So,
A. If West has 3 or 4 trumps, South plays a heart to the ♥A and ruffs a heart high. If hearts are 5-1, then the player with five can be squeezed and thrown in: if it is West, the diamonds force that player down to two clubs and three hearts, so ♣AK are played off and a low heart led from dummy; and if it is East, the diamonds followed by the ♣AK force that player down to a spade and two hearts, to be thrown in with the spade. If all follow to two rounds of hearts, then after a club to the ♣A and a heart ruffed high, West can be thrown in on the third or fourth diamond, as appropriate, to be a stepping-stone to the now good dummy.
B. If East has four trumps, declarer gives up a spade, planning to win the trump return, ruff a spade, play a heart to the ♥A, ruff a heart and claim the rest. If East instead returns a club, declarer tries to cash the second club. If East ruffs, South overruffs and is able to ruff two spades in dummy.
C. If East has three trumps, assume everybody follows to the ♥A and a heart ruff (if they don't, then Line A. applies). Declarer’s best hope now is to draw trumps and play a club to dummy. Then the ♥K and another heart, hoping that either the hearts split or West wins the fourth. This line fails when East is 5-4-3-1 with the ♥Q.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2012
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017