Attempt 2 - the reply shows that black can do better than 6, so this is no good.
So Bill's reply shows that the above attempts don't work for white. But this white 3 doesn't seem to work either:
Here is my proposal for best play in this situation:
Black doesn't play at at in the above diagram because of this:
at b makes the group alive, but doesn't make enough points. This problem definitely wasn't "easy"-- at least not for this 10kyu. There's no way I would have seen this in a game....
If , kills.
So Black plays at . Now White plays the - sente and then plays to win by 1 point.
As for seeing it in a game, it is obvious that the White sente in the bottom right secures two eyes for Black. It is also obvious that if White takes away Black's potential eye in the center instead, Black will have to reply to White on the right side sooner or later. That makes White's plays there more valuable.
You do not have to read it all out. Just keep aji keshi in mind. :-)