Competition Problem 97a
by Paolo Treossi
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♣Q.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Radu Mihai
It seems that nine tricks are available with the five top cards and four more from the red suit intermediates. However, North’s second club entry will be removed before declarer can unblock the diamonds. To get around this problem declarer will sacrifice the ♦J, getting in return a trick and an entry with the ♦10 and a squeeze against West (with a little help from East, as we shall see).
North wins the opening club lead and leads a heart to ♥Q and ♥A. With the endplay in mind, South immediately exits with a low spade, North playing the ♠8! West wins and leads another club, taken by North who leads a second heart. Assume that East plays low. Then South wins with the ♥9 and plays ♦A and ♦J, leading to this, with East on lead:
The aim now is to play four rounds of major suits, losing two to East in the process, ending with a squeeze on West. But care is needed, and now we see why North had to play the ♠8 at trick 3. For example, suppose East now plays ♥K and another heart. South now wants to lose a spade and win the return, squeezing West, but North has to discard a spade on the ♥J and this must be the ♠J as otherwise East lets that card win the trick! Alternatively, East might try to exit with the ♠K in the above position, but South lets it win the trick. Now if East plays hearts, then West gets squeezed as before, whereas a spade exit goes to the ♠J and no squeeze is needed.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2013
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017