Thursday 9:42 AM. I was scoring up the previous play contest when the doorbell rang. Western Union! shouted a young man. A telegram is rare these days, so I opened it with fear and trepidation:
Need assistance in high stakes bridge [stop]Regular partner afraid to double [stop]Losing money to weaker players [stop]Cost no object. 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 hair-trigger doubles) was available, so I rushed him to the airport to catch the 12:30 red-eye to San Francisco.
Monday 1:35 PM. Paladin reported good progress and faxed me six defensive problems all doubled contracts which I offer here as a challenge to other players. You are East and must choose your next lead from the choices offered. Each option is scored on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.
Bidding is Standard American, and you use standard leads and signals. For a reference see 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 youre 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 coin. Winners must be at least 18 years of age.Prizes are void where prohibited by law and in most other places, too.
Your next lead: K 5 7 2 8 3
Your next lead: 8 J Q 9 A 7
Your next lead: 10 2 Q 8 K K
Your next lead: 3 A Q 6 A 9
Your next lead: J A 6 Q 10 2
What is your defensive plan?
A. Win all your spadesB. Win two more spadesC. Win J; lead the 8D. Win J; lead the QE. Lead the 8F. Lead the Q
Click to see how you did
Acknowledgments to CBS Television and the 1957-63 series Have Gun, Will Travel© 2003 Richard Pavlicek