Competition Problem 173
South to make three no-trumps. West leads the ♣Q.
Successful solvers: Franco Baseggio, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, A.V. Ramana Rao, Zoran Sibinović, Rajeswar Tewari, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Nick Smith's debut composition was well received by solvers, who were unusually uniform in their DR suggestions, ranging from 3 to 5 and averaging at 4.1. It's a simple enough solution but by all accounts difficult to spot.
This one is heavily based on a hand played by the composer in October 2018.
North wins the opening lead with the ♣K and cashes the ♠K. A low club to the ♣9 and ♣J forces a spade discard from East. West must return a low heart—anything else would give declarer the ninth trick—and this runs to East’s ♥Q and South’s ♥K. South now cashes the top spades, on which North discards diamonds, squeezing West in this ending:
A. If West discards a diamond on the ♠J, North discards a club and then the ♦A and another diamond give declarer an overtrick.
B. If West discards the ♣7, North discards a diamond and South plays the ♦A and another diamond.
1. If West wins with the ♦Q and cashes the ♣A, North's red suit tops win two more tricks.
2. If West wins with the ♦Q and leads a heart, North wins and exits with a club to the ♣A and South gets a trick with the ♥10.
3. If East wins with the ♦K, North will get two more tricks in the red suits.
C. If West discards a low heart, North is accessed with the ♥A and a diamond is run round to West’s ♦Q. However West now plays declarer will score a trick with either the ♥10 or the ♣8. If West cashes the ♥J, North discards a diamond to keep the ♣8 guarded; otherwise South wins the diamond return and puts West back in with a heart.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2019