Main   Challenge 7X17 by Richard Pavlicek  

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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. 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 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 coin. Winners must be at least 18 years of age.
Prizes are void where prohibited by law and in most other places, too.

Problem 1

Total Points
Both Vul
S J 2
H A 8 6 5 4 2
D 4 3
C K J 7
 
West

Dbl
 
North

Pass
You
East
Pass
Pass
 
South
2 S
Pass
2 S× SouthTable S K 10 9 8 5
H 7
D K 10 6 2
C A 8 3

Trick
1 W
Lead
C 10
2nd
J
3rd
A
4th
2

Your next lead: SSHDCC 3

Problem 2

Total Points
N-S Vul
S A J 10
H A Q 5 4 3 2
D A 8 3
C J
 
West

Pass
Pass
 
North
1 H
2 NT
Pass
You
East
Pass
Pass
Dbl
 
South
1 NT
3 NT
All Pass
3 NT× SouthTable S K 8 5
H J 10 9 8 6
D Q 9 7
C A 7

Trick
1 W
Lead
S 4
2nd
10
3rd
K
4th
2

Your next lead: SHDDCC 7

Problem 3

Total Points
Both Vul
S 8 6 5 4 3
H 10 9 2
D 5
C A 7 4 2
 
West

Dbl
Pass
 
North
Pass
2 H
Pass
You
East
1 D
3 NT
Dbl
 
South
1 H
4 H
All Pass
4 H× SouthTable S 10 2
H Q J 8
D A K Q 10 9 7
C K J

Trick
1 W
Lead
D 2
2nd
5
3rd
Q
4th
3

Your next lead: S 10  SHHDC K

Problem 4

Total Points
E-W Vul
S A K 2
H 9 8 3
D Q
C A K Q J 5 4
 
West

Pass
 
North
1 C
4 S
You
East
Dbl
Dbl
 
South
2 S1
All Pass
4 S× SouthTable S Q 7 5 3
H A Q J 6
D A K J 4
C 9

Trick
1 W
Lead
D 3
2nd
Q
3rd
K
4th
5

1. weak

Your next lead: SHHHDC 9

Problem 5

Total Points
None Vul
S K 10 7 6
H K J 5 4
D 4 3
C A 9 3
 
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
 
North

1 H
4 NT
Pass
You
East

Pass
Pass
Dbl
 
South
1 D
3 NT
6 D
All Pass
6 D× SouthTable S Q J 3
H A Q 10 8 2
D 6
C Q 10 8 2

Trick
1 W
Lead
H 6
2nd
4
3rd
10
4th
3

Your next lead: SHDCC 10  C 2

Problem 6

Total Points
E-W Vul
S 9 8 3 2
H 2
D A K 7 6 5 3
C J 3
 
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
 
North

2 C
2 NT
Pass
You
East

Pass
Pass
Dbl
 
South
1 NT
2 H
3 NT
All Pass
3 NT× SouthTable S A K J 7 6
H 8 7 6
D Q 4
C K 10 8

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
S 5
S Q
2nd
2
C 2
3rd
6
3
4th
10
K

What is your defensive plan?

A. Win all your spades
B. Win two more spades
C. Win S J; lead the H 8
D. Win S J; lead the D Q
E. Lead the H 8
F. 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