Main   Challenge 7X65 by Richard Pavlicek  

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Distribution Most Foul

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 Marple’s insistence, Scotland Yard won’t 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 you’ve had your cup of tea, as sinister events are about to unfold. Inspector Craddock has reluctantly briefed you on the Yard’s 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). What’s 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 age
and a Knight (or Dame) Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. Dames of PavCo Brothels are ineligible.

Problem 1

IMPs
E-W Vul
S 4 3
H A 4
D J 7 6 5
C J 9 5 3 2
West
3 S
Pass
North
Pass
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
South
3 NT
Lead: H 10TableEast plays H 3



3 NT South
S K 8 6
H K Q J 5
D K Q
C K Q 6 4

You win the H K and lead the C Q, on which West pitches the S 7 and East ducks. What next?

A. Lead the S 8
B. Win H A; lead S 3
C. Win H A; lead D 5
D. Win H A; lead C 3
E. Lead the D Q
F. Lead C 6 to the jack

Problem 2

IMPs
None Vul
S A 6 4
H Q 4 2
D A 7 5
C A 5 4 2
West
1 C
Pass
North
Dbl
Pass
East
1 S
Pass
South
4 H
Lead: S 3Table



4 H South
S K J 7 5
H K J 9 7 5 3
D 10 3
C Q

You play low from dummy and capture East’s S Q with your king. What next?

A. Lead the S 5
B. Lead the H J
C. Lead H 3 to the queen
D. Lead D 10 and duck it
E. Lead C Q to the ace
F. Lead C Q and duck it

Problem 3

IMPs
N-S Vul
S Q 7 4 3
H A J
D 10 8 5
C A K 5 2
West

Pass
All Pass
North

Dbl
East
3 H
Pass
South
Pass
3 NT
Lead: D KTableEast pitches H 3



3 NT South
S A K 5
H K 6 4 2
D A 6 4 3
C 10 4

A. Win first diamond
B. Win second diamond; lead H 2
C. Win second diamond; lead C 10
D. Win third diamond; lead H 2
E. Win third diamond; lead C 10
F. Win fourth diamond

Problem 4

IMPs
N-S Vul
S K 10 3 2
H 10 4
D K Q 10 9
C A J 9
West

2 D1
Pass
North

2 S2
3 NT
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 D
2 NT
Lead: H 8Table



3 NT South
S A 8 5 4
H A 7 6 2
D A 8 5
C 7 6

1. Michaels
2. diamond fit + spade stopper

You play dummy’s H 10, and East plays the queen. Your play?

A. Win first heart; lead S 4
B. Win first heart; lead D 5
C. Win second heart; lead D 5
D. Win second heart; lead C 6
E. Win third heart; lead D 5
F. Win third heart; lead C 6

Problem 5

IMPs
E-W Vul
S K 6 4 3 2
H 9 4
D 8 7 3
C 8 5 4
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 D
3 H1
East

Pass
Dbl
South
2 C
2 NT
4 S
Lead: H JTableEast plays H 2



4 S South
S A Q 10
H A 6 5 3
D A K
C A Q 7 3

1. Jacoby transfer

You duck, and West leads the H 10 (East plays H 7) to your ace. On the S A, East pitches the H 8. What next?

A. Win S Q; lead S 10
B. Win S Q; lead H 5
C. Win S Q; D A-K; lead H 5
D. Lead the S 10
E. Lead the H 5
F. Win D A-K; lead H 5

Problem 6

IMPs
Both Vul
S 5 3
H A K
D A Q 9
C A K 7 6 4 3
West

Pass
Dbl
North
1 C
5 NT1
All Pass
East
5 H
Pass
South
5 S
6 S
Lead: C QTable



6 S× South
S A K Q J 8 7
H 6 4 2
D 8 5
C 5 2

1. pick a slam

You win the C K, as East pitches the H Q! You lead the S 3, and East predictably chucks another heart. Your play?

A. Win S A-K-Q-J; lead S 8
B. Win S A-K-Q-J; lead H 2
C. Win S A; lead H 2
D. Win S A; finesse D Q
E. Win S A; C A; ruff a club
F. Duck first spade to West

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Acknowledgments to Agatha Christie (1890-1976) and her Miss Marple character
Photos are Margaret Rutherford in Murder Most Foul (1964)
© 2004 Richard Pavlicek