Challenge 7X41 by Richard Pavlicek
Tension filled the musty room as Professor Moriarty threw six decks of playing cards onto the large oak table. Sit! he ordered. Im in a sporting mood. Well play six hands of bridge, and if you go plus on each one, Ill set you free.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson had been investigating the theft of the Crown Emerald 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 just 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 have already been shuffled, so Ill deal each hand to save time. Colonel Moran? I know youre not a bridge player, but sit down as my partner and just pass. Holmes? You sit here on my right. As fate (or the Professors evil design) would have it, Holmes became declarer on each deal.
In August 2003 these 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. On each of the six problems, you are South, and all you have to do is choose your play from options A-F. Each option is rated on a 1-to-10 scale based on my judgment.
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!
After winning the A, how do you play?
West next leads the J (won by king) as East plays 3. Your play?
You win K-Q on which West pitches two hearts. What next?
To see how you did click
Credits to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) creator of Sherlock Holmes.Photo is Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson.© 2003 Richard Pavlicek