Almost Bridge 7E11   Main

Mystery of Pyramids Finally Solved

  by Richard Pavlicek

Today’s deal occurred about 3,400 years ago. Trust me. It was etched into the walls of the tomb of Tutankhamen, and only last week I managed to decipher it after many frustrating attempts. (The ancient Egyptians wrote so scribbly it looked like hieroglyphics.)

King Amenhotep IV, North, opened one amenclub and East, a local pyramid contractor, jumped to four amenhearts. This later cost him his life, as “preempting against the King” was ruled a capital offense by the Egyptian tribunal. Too bad; his business successor turned out to be a crook, substituting chalk for granite — which is said to have caused the modern-day deterioration of the pyramids.

Enough history. Tutankhamen, South, refused to be shut out and bid four amenspades. “Amendouble!” shouted West, who proceeded to lead the club king — an act for which he also would be put to death. (The tribunal ruled that “doubling and leading the King’s suit” was tantamount to treason.)

A short pause followed; then Tutankhamen, anxious to play the hand, reminded Amenhotep that he was the dummy. This was not taken kindly — the King did not like the word “dummy” — so Tutankhamen was warned he must make his contract to save his own life. Tough game.

4 S× South
E-W Vul
S A 8 7 6
H A 3
D 7 6 5
C A 8 7 6

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

Lead: C K
S Q J 10 9 4
D A 4 3 2
C 5 4 3 2

The etchings state that Tutankhamen succeeded with a “rare kind of amenruffensqueeze” (as opposed to the ordinary kind, I guess) but the specific play was not given. It seems to be impossible to win 10 tricks, so the secret may remain hidden for eternity… unless you can figure it out. Good luck!

Give up? Well, you’re in luck. I found the solution on a clay tablet titled, “Card Play Tutnique.” Win the club ace; ruff the heart ace with the spade nine; lead the spade queen and draw two rounds of trumps ending in dummy. Lead the heart three and throw a diamond as East must win. On the next two heart leads discard diamonds from your hand and clubs from the dummy. Ruff the next heart lead in your hand (throwing dummy’s last club), and West is squeezed. Declarer can establish a trick in whichever minor suit West shortens.


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© 1989 Richard Pavlicek