Competition Problem 117b
by Stefan Ralescu
to make six hearts against any defence.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Sze Guan, Wing-Kai Hon, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
West is already endplayed. A club lead gives declarer two club tricks, two diamonds, three spades, four hearts and a spade ruff for twelve tricks. Other leads do not immediately concede a trick but do help declarer to take the spade and diamond finesses while still retaining an entry to North for an end position such as this, with South on lead:
The ♣Q puts West in to lead another club, allowing South to discard a diamond as North ruffs. East is squeezed! On a spade discard South has a good spade to win the last trick after the ♠K and a diamond ruff. On a diamond discard, North has a good diamond to win the last trick after a diamond ruff and a spade to the ♠K.
Westís best opening lead is a small heart, on which North must play the ♥7. South captures Eastís ♥Q and leads a low heart for a finesse of the ♥9. Northís two trump entries are used to take the spade and diamond finesses in either order and Southís top cards are all cashed to leave the above position.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2014