Competition Problem 117a
composed by Jean-Marc Bihl
South to make four hearts. West leads the ♣4.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Wim van der Zijden Tables
At trick two South must lead the ♠K!
A. If West wins a club return is best. South ruffs and leads the ♠9 to the ♠10 and ♠Q. South finesses the ♥10 and cashes another heart, North playing low. A spade is lost to West, giving this position:
West does best to return a third trump, as a club would allow declarer to get two club ruffs, completing a dummy reversal. When East discards a diamond, South overtakes and cashes the ♠7, North throwing a diamond. East cannot afford another diamond discard, so lets go a club. A diamond to the ♦A follows. As West clearly cannot afford to unblock the ♦K, South ruffs a club and exits to West on a diamond so that Northís ♣9 wins the last trick.
B. If West ducks the ♠K, South draws two rounds of trumps (North playing the ♥K on one of them) and leads a spade towards the ♠Q6.
1. If West wins with the ♠A, South wins the trump return (best) and the position is now like this:
South wins another heart, North and East discarding diamonds. A spade to the ♠Q forces a club from East, whereupon a club is conceded, South discarding the ♠9. A club return nor sets up North ♣9, whereas a diamond return conceded a trick one way or another.
2. If West ducks again, North wins with the ♠Q and loses a spade to West. South wins the trump return (best) and puts West in on the fourth spade. Here is the position now, with East to discard and West to lead next:
A club discard looks safe but isnít, because a diamond lead from West gives a trick to Southís ♦J. West therefore leads a club but South ruffs and leads a diamond to give the same result as in line A.
Trap: If South leads the ♠9 at trick two, West covers and North wins. Two rounds of hearts follow, South finessing as in line A, and then South leads the ♠K. West wins with the ♠A and returns a heart. It seems as if we have line A again now, except that West plays low on the next spade, letting North win with the ♠6!
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2014