Competition Problem 183
South to make five no-trumps. West leads the ♠K.
Successful solvers: Steve Bloom, Ian Budden, Steve McVea, Sebastian Nowcki, Rajeswar Tewari, Dave Wiltshire, Wim van Der Zijden. This one was received with great acclaim from solvers, whose DR suggestions ranged from 4 to 7. Line C proved difficult to spot.
South’s ♠A wins the first trick, North dropping the ♠7! Next comes the ♦10, North playing low unless West rises with the ♦K.
A. If West ducks and East wins with the ♦J, then the only safe exit is another diamond. However, South comes to hand on the ♥Q to run the diamonds and squeeze East in three suits when the last one is led in this position:
West discards a spade on the ♦2, North a club. The squeeze is what England’s Terence Reese dubbed “the vice”, referring to the spade situation.
1. If East discards the ♠8, the ♠J then catches the ♠10 in the vice and sets up a second spade winner. If West ducks there is an easy squeeze-throw-in on East, so the ♠Q wins. North drops the ♠9 so that South’s ♠5 can exert the second squeeze should West then exit with a club. However, if West instead exits with a heart, South discards the ♠5 on the second heart winner so that the ♠4 can do that job instead!
2. If East unguards hearts, North’s ♥AK and ♥10 repeat the squeeze, again using the spades as a vice threat.
3. If East discards the ♣J, North’s ♥A and ♥K squeeze West out of the low spade. South then comes to hand on the ♣A and throws West in on the ♠Q for a lead away from ♣97 into ♣108.
B. If West plays the ♦K at trick two, North wins with the ♦A. South comes to hand on the ♦Q to lead the ♦8 and the same situation arises.
C. If the ♦10 wins at trick two, the minor suit aces are cashed in either order and a club is lost to the ♣K. East is endplayed and does best to lead the ♠10 to the ♠J and ♠Q, giving this, with West to lead:
On a black suit lead now East will easily be squeezed in the red suits, so West exits on a heart to South’s ♥Q. North now discards the ♣Q on the ♦Q and the ♠9 on South’s ♣10! East is caught in a triple squeeze and is squeezed again by South’s ♠5 if the ♠8 is discarded.
Hugh Darwen, 2020