Challenge 7X41 by Richard Pavlicek
Tension filled the musty room as Professor Moriarty threw six decks of playing cards onto the large wooden table. Sit! he demanded. Im in a sporting mood. Well play six hands of bridge, and if you go plus on every one, Ill set you both free.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson had been investigating the disappearance of the Crown Emerald from Windsor Castle, and were seized by Moriartys henchmen. They were now being held captive in the basement of the archvillains home. And if we dont? Holmes inquired.
Thats easy, Mr. Holmes. You and your bumbling doctor friend will be my guests for lunch. Ive installed a brand new piranha tank, and the August heat is making the little buggers voracious. Anyone for bridge?
Hardly seems fair, Watson grumbled. Ive only played bridge a few times. Cant we make it gin rummy?
Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot, instructed Holmes, then he whispered in his friends ear, Just bid only minor suits, or double with a good hand. Try to make yourself dummy that shouldnt be too hard.
Then, lets begin. Moriarty grinned. The cards are already shuffled, and Ill deal to save time. Colonel Moran? I know youre not a bridge player, but be my partner and just pass. Holmes? You sit on my right. As fate (or the Professors evil design) would have it, Holmes became declarer on each deal.
In August 2003 these six problems were presented as a contest, which had 838 entrants from 114 locations. The contest is now closed, but you can still challenge yourself and find your score immediately. As South on each problem, simply choose your play from options A-F. Each option is rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.
Bidding and carding by West (Moriarty) is standard, and assume expert skill. For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Do not draw any inferences from East (Moran) who always passes and knows little about card play except to follow suit.
So match your play with Sherlock Holmes. The only prize this month will be staying out of the piranha tank. Remember: Scoring is plus-or-fishfood, so dont worry about overtricks!
A. Win A; lead 10 to kingB. Win A; run the 10C. Win A; K (both follow); Q-JD. Win A; K (both follow); all diamondsE. Win A; lead the JF. Duck the first trick
A. Win A; AB. Win A; lead 2 to queenC. Win A; lead 2 and finesse 10D. Win K; AE. Win K; finesse QF. Win K; lead 5 to king
After winning the A, what next?
A. Lead the KB. Lead the 10C. Lead the 2D. Lead the QE. Lead J to queenF. Lead 4 to 10
1. weak; undisciplined
East plays the Q if you play dummys jack; else the 4. Your play?
A. Play J; win first roundB. Play J; win second roundC. Play 3; win first round; win KD. Play 3; win first round; lead 2E. Play 3; win second round; win KF. Play 3; win second round; lead 2
1. Watson make-me-dummy transfer
West next leads the J (won by the king) as East plays the 3. What now?
A. Draw trumps; lead 3B. Draw trumps; lead 5C. Draw trumps; win Q; lead 3D. Draw trumps; win Q; lead 5E. Lead the 3F. Lead the 5
You cash K-Q on which West (void) pitches two hearts. What next?
A. Lead 2 to jackB. Lead 2 and duck itC. Lead J (East plays 5) and pitch a spadeD. Ruff heart; draw trumpsE. Lead 3 to ace; draw trumpsF. Lead 3 and finesse nine
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Credits to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) creator of Sherlock HolmesPhoto is Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson© 2003 Richard Pavlicek