Competition Problem 178
by Hugh Darwen from a problem in Eddie Kantar's
South to make five clubs. West leads the ♣5.
Successful solvers: Franco Baseggio, Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Jacob Freeman, Ed Lawhon, Leigh Matheson, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowacki, Prahalad Rajkumar, A.V. Ramana Rao, Rajeswar Tewari, Andries van der Vegt, Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden. Suggested DRs ranged from 1 to 4, averaging at almost exactly 2.
North plays the ♣8, overtaken by South. North ruffs high a diamond, crosses to the ♥Q to ruff high a second diamond, crosses to South by ruffing a heart winner and ruffs high a third diamond, giving this:
The ♥A is ruffed and again North ruffs high a diamond, establishing South’s long card. If West discarded on the third round of hearts, then North plays high and low club to throw West in; otherwise West underruffed and North leads the ♣2 immediately. In either case South makes the ♠K and the diamond winner (the two tricks compensating for the trump gambit).
This problem is based on Problem #1 at Eddie Kantar's web site, as at least one solver has spotted. Kantar told me he wasn't sure whether he composed it himself (a long time ago) or was sent it by somebody. My contribution was to tidy up the play to make it precise and in the process enforce the need to ruff heart winners, but I have to admit that my policy of avoiding random distributions of insignificant pip cards has probably rendered the problem somewhat easier than it might otherwise have been. As another solver has observed, in the light of his knowledge of that policy, North’s ♣2 was a “dead giveaway”.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2019