Competition Problem 107a
by Ian Budden
The contract is four hearts by South. West leads the ♦J.
The cards marked x are
Show how the contract succeeds or fails in each case.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki. Tables.
Statement D is correct.
1. North holds the ♥J. The ♦J lead is covered by the ♦Q, ♦K, and ♦A. South leads the ♠2.
A. West wins and leads a club (best). South wins, crosses to the ♥K, cashes the ♠K for a club discard, and exits with a diamond. Declarer ruffs the black suit return, ruffs a diamond, ruffs the other black suit, ruffs a diamond, and leads a club from dummy. East is endplayed. If he ruffs low, South overruffs and still has the ♥A; if instead East ruffs high, South discards his diamond and East has to lead into the trump tenace.
B. West ducks. North wins with the ♠K and leads another spade on which South discards the ♣2. The defence lead another spade. South ruffs and exits with a diamond to West. West returns:
i. the ♥9 (a club amounts to the same thing). North wins with the ♥K, crosses to the ♣A, ruffs a diamond, and play continues as in line A.
ii. a spade. North discards a club and East a diamond. Declarer ruffs, cashes the ♣A, ruffs a diamond low (or overruffs with the ♥J if West ruffs in), ruffs a club, and leads another diamond. If West ruffs this diamond or the previous one, North plays the ♥K and leads a club for the endplay as in line A. If instead West still has the ♥9 and discards two clubs on the diamonds, North discards a club also, and East wins. North wins the heart return as cheaply as possible, and declarer makes the last two tricks on a high cross-ruff. (If West discards a spade and a club, or two spades, on the diamonds, either option works.)
2. North holds the ♥10. The ♦J lead is covered by the ♦Q, ♦K, and ♦A. South leads the ♠2. To defeat the contract the defence must follow line B(ii) above. East must discard a diamond on the fourth spade, and West must discard a club when South leads a diamond to ruff in dummy. With four cards left the position is
When South leads a diamond, West must discard the master club. Now, whether North discards or ruffs high, the defence will come to two more tricks. If instead West ruffs or discards a spade, North overruffs or ruffs with the ♥K and East is endplayed on the lead of a club.
South will be able to manoeuvre to reach the position needed for the successful endplay if either:
West wins the first spade lead; or
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
© Hugh Darwen, 2014
Date last modified: 11 March, 2017