Puzzle 8N91   Main

Pay No Taxes!

  by Richard Pavlicek

The elimination play is well-known in bridge, and I am pleased to announce a new opportunity that will eliminate taxes. Simply transfer your funds to PavCo Cayman Bank, and you too can tell the IRS (Internal Retard Society) to take a hike! Numbered accounts are now available for a very small fee, and there are no credit checks! (We don’t extend credit, so who really cares?) If you got the dough, we got the know, and your profits will grow with no income to show. To get started, just solve this easy puzzle!

Welcome to the islands! As a special introductory offer, PavCo Cayman Bank will increase your initial deposit* by whatever you can win in a hypothetical round of Chicago (four-deal) bridge at $1.00 a point with your side declaring each deal.

*minimum deposit $100K in cash, gold bullion, ivory tusks or eagle feathers

On the four deals you are allowed two doubled (X) and two redoubled (R) contracts as shown. Enter each contract level and strain (e.g., 6S) and number of tricks won (7-13) trying to win the most money you can! Ah, but there’s a catch: Each level, strain, tricks won and score must be unique (i.e., no two alike). Your goal is to win at least $5000, and you cannot claim honors (PavCo and “honor” do not mesh).

Deal 1 (NV)Contract X   Tricks won
Deal 2 (NV)Contract RTricks won
Deal 3 (Vul)   Contract XTricks won
Deal 4 (Vul)Contract RTricks won

To see if your solution is successful click

Duncan Bell Wins

This puzzle contest, designated “May 2018” for reference, was open for over a year. Participants were limited to one try, unlike my usual contests that allowed entries to be revised with only the latest one counting. There were 49 correct solutions (scoring over 5000 points) of which 15 achieved the optimal score of 7040.

Congratulations to Duncan Bell, who was the first to submit the optimal score. In fact, Duncan’s entry topped what I thought was the best possible score, and when the Bell tolls, I listen. Sure enough, there was a bug in my computer code for an exhaustive search. Duncan has an impressive list of previous wins including The Twelve of Spades, Just Another Zero, High Stakes Rubber and Bridge with the Abbott.

Ties in the ranking are broken by date and time of entry.

Winner List
1Duncan BellEngland7040
2Venk NatarajanUtah7040
3Dan BakerTexas7040
4Jenna RivetIllinois7040
5Andrew SpoonerAustralia7040
6Alex BeallesPennsylvania7040
7Kostyantyn MazurNew Jersey7040
8Li-Chung ChenCalifornia7040
9Ryou NijiMichigan7040
10Carsten KofoedSweden7040
11Jean-Christophe ClementFrance7040
12Martin LindforsSweden7040
13Tim BroekenNetherlands7040
14Tina DenleeQuebec7040
15Jean-Baptiste CourtoisFrance7040
16Charles BlairIllinois7020
17Karol SzwenkelPoland7000
18Carl Heinz RosenthalAustria6980
19Sherman YuenSingapore6960
20Nicholas GreerSingapore6940
21Peter YehIllinois6940
22Rico HembergDenmark6920
23Jean Patrick CaumelFrance6840
24Stan ZhangFrance6840
25John R. MayneCalifornia6840
26Samuel PahkMassachusetts6840
27Eric GettlemanMaryland6760
28David WetzelIllinois6740
29Radu VasilescuPennsylvania6630
30Ufuk CotukEngland6630
31Alan PowellNew Jersey6560
32Gregor RusSlovenia6510
33Jim MundayMississippi6340
34Joe ClarkEngland6330
35Maxim HerrGermany6330
36Richard SteinWashington6300
37Jim WeiderOregon6300
38Nao TabataFrance6240
39Aurelien BoutinFrance6240
40Will DuanMassachusetts6240
41Felix MouhatFrance6150
42Steve BellTexas6130
43Alessandro RapuanoItaly6070
44David EddlestonEngland6060
45Richard CreamerEngland6050
46Prahalad RajkumarIndia5890
47Robin HillyardMassachusetts5740
48Jarno SunMassachusetts5710
49Toni MestrovicCroatia5180

Puzzle 8N91   MainTop   Pay No Taxes!


The best possible score is 7040, found by 15 solvers. Our Canadian wonder woman explained it best, so I’ll save myself some effort:

Tina Denlee: To obtain the maximum score I found two solutions: A. 3 C×(10) 570, 2 H××(11) 1240, 7 S×(13) 2470, 1 NT××(12) 2760; B. 3 C×(10) 570, 2 NT××(11) 1280, 7 S×(13) 2470, 1 H××(12) 2720. Of course you can exchange C and D, or S and H, but nothing else works.

Dan Baker: 3 D×(10) 570, 2 S××(11) 1240, 7 H×(13) 2470, 1 NT××(12) 2760. The vulnerable grand slam bonus is too good to pass up; otherwise we want maximum overtricks on the redoubled contracts, particularly on the vulnerable one. It’s slightly better to have notrump as a redoubled contract (to get 160 instead of 120 for the first trick), and 2 S××/3 D× combine for 360 in trick scores, while 2 D××/3 S× is only 340. The tricky part is whether #1 should be a small slam or continue to go for maximum overtricks; the NV small slam bonus is 500 and three additional doubled tricks is another 120, but dropping an overtrick on each of the others costs a total of 700.

Final Scams

Charles Blair: I didn’t have the energy to write a program for this. I hope I’m close.

Venk Natarajan: Exhaustive search is something, but I bet I have a bug somewhere in my code.

Finding the 7040 score, I’ll bet not. Seems the bug belonged to me.

Nicholas Greer: When I clicked Verify, the scores didn’t count honours, which I thought counted in Chicago. I know you could argue that it would give everyone an extra 600, but traditionally you have to remember to claim them…

When everything else fails, read the directions. But even without directions, you should know there’s no honor in my business; and if I move across the pond, no honour either.

Eric Gettleman: Thanks for the fun puzzle.

Robin Hillyard: Thanks, Richard. Much fun!

Puzzle 8N91   MainTop   Pay No Taxes!

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