|Problem 13 Solution
Contract 3NT by South would you rather play or defend?
You should defend, but the play is complex. The main variation occurs after a Heart to the Ace and the Heart J back (if a low Heart win and return a Heart for a trivial 10 tricks). This must be ducked or communication between East & West is established. Now East must switch specifically to a Club (a Diamond is no good). At some point South plays a Spade to the 9 and Q (it doesn't matter when). East must now specifically return the third Heart (which means that if South has cashed 4 Diamonds throwing 3 Hearts and a Club East must specifically throw 2 Clubs) keeping AQx, x, ---, Q10). If East ever throws a Spade the Spade Ace can be ducked out so these discards are forced. Now, when a Club is played to the Ace West is triple squeezed (a Heart gives 2 Heart tricks, a Diamond the 5th Diamond trick and a Spade allows you to play a Spade to the J, K and A establishing your 10). But the Heart back triple squeezes South first before you can play a Club.
If South pitchs a Diamond the Diamond menace is gone, if a Club the communications are ruined and you can generate 9 tricks but cannot get to them and if a Spade then your 10 is stiff so it does not matter if West pitchs a Spade (you have had to pitch a Spade and a Diamond on the first 2 Diamonds).
Thanks to Alan Mould for the extensive analysis of this hand, which was a minor variation on a deal from a league match in 2004. I originally posed this as a problem thinking that East had to defend against a strip squeeze, not realising that the seemingly unimportant West hand would be involved.