Competition Problem 167b
South to make six no-trumps. West leads the ♠7.
Successful solvers: Ian Budden, Leigh Matheson, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, Andrew Prothero, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, F.Y. Sing, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt, Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Eleven DR suggestions ranged from 2 to 5 with an average of 2.8.
Declarer wins in hand with the ♠K, crosses to North on a club finesse to lead the ♦2 for a diamond finesse, then repeats the club finesse for North to win the trick and run the suit. An intriguing squeeze without the count emerges, in which South’s ♠8 and North’s ♦9 both act as clash menaces against East, and South’s ♥Q threatens to score if West discards the ♥A or East bares the ♥K.
South’s first four discards on the clubs are low hearts. When the last club is played, East’s last four cards must include two hearts to prevent the establishment of South’s ♥Q.
A. If East’s other two cards are a spade and a diamond, South discards the ♠8 and West cannot keep both spades and diamonds guarded as well as hanging on to the ♥A, so is triple-squeezed.
B. If East keeps two spades and therefore no diamonds, South discards the ♠8.
1. If West unguards diamonds, North cashes the ♠A and South overtakes the ♦9 to score two diamond tricks for the contract.
2. If West discards the ♥A, North leads a heart. One way or another South’ ♥Q will score and North’s ♦9 is an entry to the ♠A if needed.
3. If West keeps the ♥A, one spade, and two diamonds, North cashes the ♠A and ♦9, then puts West in with a heart for South to make the ♦A.
4. Otherwise, West is out of spades, in which case North leads the ♦9 immediately to squeeze East again—either North gets two spade tricks or a heart crashes the ♥K and ♥A so that South wins the last two tricks.
C. If East keeps two diamonds and therefore no spades, South discards the ♦3.
1. If West unguards spades, declarer easily makes the ♦A and two spade tricks.
2. If West discards the ♥A, North can lead a heart, with or without cashing the ♠A. Declarer will make the ♥Q, ♦A, and a spade trick.
3. If West keeps the ♥A, one diamond, and two spades, South makes the ♠8 and ♦A (in either order), then puts West in with a heart for North to make the ♠A.
4. Otherwise, West is out of diamonds, in which case South makes the ♠8 and exits to West with a heart. North’s ♠A and South’s ♦A score the last two tricks.
Traps: In B.4 and C.4 declarer’s play must be exactly as shown. West must not be given the chance to jettison the ♥A on the ♠A or ♦A, allowing East to take the last two tricks.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2019