Challenge 7X65 by Richard Pavlicek
Bad breaks abound on these problems, but have no fear: Jane Marple is on the case! Your goal as her assistant is to cope with the foul distribution you will discover. Unfortunately, despite Miss Marples insistence, Scotland Yard wont even acknowledge that a crime has been committed. So be careful! If you dig too deep, you might unearth a corpse or two.
I hope youve had your cup of tea, as sinister events are about to unfold. Inspector Craddock has reluctantly briefed you on the Yards investigation, which you believe is off target. You think the evildoings stem from a local theatrical troupe and decide to feign a bit of acting talent and work undercover. Good luck, brave soul!
As declarer on each of the six problems, all you have to do is choose your play from the options A-F. Each option is rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.
Bidding is standard, and your opponents use standard leads and signals. For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Assume opponents are strong players but not necessarily expert.
Due to the importance of this case, in February 2004 I gave the 838 entrants from 104 locations a full extra day to solve it (the fact that 2004 happened to be a leap year was a coincidence). Whats more, if you prove yourself to be one of the top detectives, you might win a valuable prize.*
*Prizes include five signed sets (authenticity certified) of the works of Agatha Christie. Winners must be at most 18 years of ageand a Knight (or Dame) Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. Dames of PavCo Brothels are ineligible.
You win the K and lead the Q, on which West pitches the 7 and East ducks. What next?
A. Lead the 8B. Win A; lead 3C. Win A; lead 5D. Win A; lead 3E. Lead the QF. Lead 6 to the jack
You play low from dummy and capture Easts Q with your king. What next?
A. Lead the 5B. Lead the JC. Lead 3 to the queenD. Lead 10 and duck itE. Lead Q to the aceF. Lead Q and duck it
A. Win first diamondB. Win second diamond; lead 2C. Win second diamond; lead 10D. Win third diamond; lead 2E. Win third diamond; lead 10F. Win fourth diamond
1. Michaels2. diamond fit + spade stopper
You play dummys 10, and East plays the queen. Your play?
A. Win first heart; lead 4B. Win first heart; lead 5C. Win second heart; lead 5D. Win second heart; lead 6E. Win third heart; lead 5F. Win third heart; lead 6
1. Jacoby transfer
You duck, and West leads the 10 (East plays 7) to your ace. On the A, East pitches the 8. What next?
A. Win Q; lead 10B. Win Q; lead 5C. Win Q; A-K; lead 5D. Lead the 10E. Lead the 5F. Win A-K; lead 5
1. pick a slam
You win the K, as East pitches the Q! You lead the 3, and East predictably chucks another heart. Your play?
A. Win A-K-Q-J; lead 8B. Win A-K-Q-J; lead 2C. Win A; lead 2D. Win A; finesse QE. Win A; A; ruff a clubF. Duck first spade to West
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Acknowledgments to Agatha Christie (1890-1976) and her Miss Marple characterPhotos are Margaret Rutherford in Murder Most Foul (1964)© 2004 Richard Pavlicek