Main     Challenge 7X17 by Richard Pavlicek    

Have Cards, Will Double

Thursday 9:42 AM. I was scoring up the previous play contest when the doorbell rang. “Western Union!” shouted a young man. It’s rare to get a telegram these days, so I opened it with fear and trepidation. It read:

Need your immediate assistance in high stakes bridge game [stop] Regular partner afraid to double [stop] Losing to weaker players [stop] Name your own fee [stop] Walter Weston, San Francisco.
I was too busy to take the case myself, but fortunately my brother Paladin (famous for his hair-trigger doubles) was available, so I rushed him to the airport to catch the 12:30 flight to San Francisco.

Monday 1:35 PM. Paladin reported he had made good progress and faxed me six defensive play problems — all doubled contracts — which I offer here as a challenge for other players. You are East on each problem and must choose your next lead from the choices listed. Each option is scored on a 1-to-10 scale, based on my judgment.

Bidding is standard, and you use standard leads and signals. For a reference, see my outline of Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts (despite the telegram).
In February 2003 these problems were presented as a contest, which had 776 entrants from 103 locations. The contest is now closed, but you can still challenge yourself and find your score immediately. If you’re lucky, you might even win a valuable prize*, but be sure to double check your answers, as I might be a double-dealing double-crosser.

*Prizes include a double-action Colt .45 revolver and a Double Eagle gold coin. Winners must be at least 18 years of age. Prizes are void where prohibited by law and in all other places, too.

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Problem 1

Total Points Both Vul

West


Dbl
North


All Pass
East
You
Pass
South

2 S

2 S× South
S J 2
H A 8 6 5 4 2
D 4 3
C K J 7
TableS K 10 9 8 5
H 7
D K 10 6 2
C A 8 3

Partner leads the C 10, covered by the jack and ace, and South plays the two.

Your next lead:  S K  S 5  H 7  D 2  C 8  C 3

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Problem 2

Total Points N-S Vul

West


Pass
Pass
North

1 H
2 NT
Pass
East
You
Pass
Pass
Dbl
South

1 NT
3 NT
All Pass

3 NT× South
S A J 10
H A Q 5 4 3 2
D A 8 3
C J
TableS K 8 5
H J 10 9 8 6
D Q 9 7
C A 7

Partner leads the S 4, ducked to your king, and South plays the two.

Your next lead:  S 8  H J  D Q  D 9  C A  C 7

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Problem 3

Total Points Both Vul

West


Dbl
Pass
North

Pass
2 H
Pass
East
You
1 D
3 NT
Dbl
South

1 H
4 H
All Pass

4 H× South
S 8 6 5 4 3
H 10 9 2
D 5
C A 7 4 2
TableS 10 2
H Q J 8
D A K Q 10 9 7
C K J

Partner leads the D 2 to your queen, and South plays the three.

Your next lead:  S 10  S 2  H Q  H 8  D K  C K

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Problem 4

Total Points E-W Vul

West


Pass
North

1 C
4 S
East
You
Dbl
Dbl
South

2 S*
All Pass
*weak

4 S× South
S A K 2
H 9 8 3
D Q
C A K Q J 5 4
TableS Q 7 5 3
H A Q J 6
D A K J 4
C 9

Partner leads the D 3 to your king, and South plays the five.

Your next lead:  S 3  H A  H Q  H 6  D A  C 9

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Problem 5

Total Points None Vul

West


Pass
Pass
Pass
North


1 H
4 NT
Pass
East
You

Pass
Pass
Dbl
South

1 D
3 NT
6 D
All Pass

6 D× South
S K 10 7 6
H K J 5 4
D 4 3
C A 9 3
TableS Q J 3
H A Q 10 8 2
D 6
C Q 10 8 2

Partner leads the H 6, ducked to your 10, and South plays the three.

Your next lead:  S J  H A  D 6  C Q  C 10  C 2

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Problem 6

Total Points E-W Vul

West


Pass
Pass
Pass
North


2 C
2 NT
Pass
East
You

Pass
Pass
Dbl
South

1 NT
2 H
3 NT
All Pass

3 NT× South
S 9 8 3 2
H 2
D A K 7 6 5 3
C J 3
TableS A K J 7 6
H 8 7 6
D Q 4
C K 10 8

Partner leads the S 5, which you duck to South’s 10. South leads the S Q to your king as partner pitches the C 2. What now? (Choose one letter A-F)

  1. Win all your spades
  2. Win two more spades
  3. Win S J; lead the H 8
  4. Win S J; lead the D Q
  5. Lead the H 8
  6. Lead the D Q
To see how you did click

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Acknowledgments to CBS Television and the 1957-63 series Have Gun, Will Travel.
© 2003 Richard Pavlicek