Competition Problem 121a
composed by Jean-Marc Bihl
South to make four spades. West leads the ♠J.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Sebastian Nowacki, Alexey Pavlov, Zoran Sibinović, Wim van der Zijden Tables
North wins the opening lead and South comes to hand on a diamond to lead the ♣8, covered by the ♣9, ♣10 and ♣J.
A. If East returns a spade, South wins as cheaply as possible and leads a higher club. To prevent declarer from setting up a club trick, West must rise with the ♣K. This is now the position with West to lead:
West does best to lead the ♥3 (not the ♥8), North and East playing low. Declarer scores the red suit aces, plays a spade to the ♠A and discards a heart on the ♦Q. The lead of a high heart from North now endplays East in a 3-card ending where North and South both have a trump. Whichever top card East plays is ruffed in one hand leaving the other with a ruff and a master.
B. If East returns a diamond, South leads any club. To prevent line A, West must win and lead a diamond to kill North’s ♦Q. East ruffs, but South overruffs, ruffs a club, comes to hand on a trump and ruffs another club. South now plays low on the lead of the ♥J to guarantee two heart tricks in addition to the last spade.
If North plays high on the ♥3 in A, play follows the line given but East discards a club on the ♦Q and plays the ♥7 when North exits with a low heart, letting West in with the ♥8.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015