Competition Problem 149b
by Vincent Labbé
South to make five spades against any defence.
Successful solvers: To be announced in next update. Tables
West must lead the ♠K to prevent declarer from getting two heart ruffs for the contract. North plays the ♠Q.
A. If the ♠K holds, declarer will be able to set up North’s diamonds, using the ♦A and ♥K as entries, winning the first heart in hand if necessary. Then North can be entered on a heart ruff to lead a winning diamond.
B. If East (better) overtakes the ♠K and leads the ♠2, South wins with the ♠J and plays three more rounds of trumps, North discarding diamonds, West and East clubs. The position is now:
South leads another spade to start the squeeze. West must of course keep four hearts and East must keep three diamonds. North discards the ♦5.
1. If West discards a club, East must discard a heart. On the penultimate spade West is squeezed again. The hearts must still be kept and the ♣K guards against a ruffing finesse with ♣Q6 against ♣A5, so West throws a diamond. In that case North discards the ♥3 and now East is squeezed, still having to retain two clubs and three diamonds. But a heart discard lets declarer score North’s red suit winners, ruff a club, then lead the ♥6, leaving ♥A7 over West’s ♥95 when West takes it.
2. If West discards a diamond, East again throws a heart. On the next spade, if West discards a club we have the position as in B.1, but if West instead discards another diamond, North throws a club and so does East. Now South can score the top hearts and club ruff, then overtake the ♦8 with the ♦9 to endplay East in diamonds, with ♦A7 over East’s ♦J6 when East takes the trick.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2017