Main   Puzzle 8F29 by Richard Pavlicek  

Game and Beer in Hand

Being an election year with incredibly weak candidates, it seems only fitting to offer a bridge puzzle about incredibly weak hands. The good news is that you can leave this page in less than four seconds. The bad news is that no matter who wins in November, we’ll be stuck for another four years. Sigh. At least bridge and politics blend well, as South would have to be a “Bid en” fool to declare no “Trump” on this deal:

3 NT South S 10 7 5 4
H 9 8 7 3
D J
C 8 7 6 4
Trick
1 W
2 W
3 W
4 W
5 W
Lead
S A
S K
S Q
S J
D 10
2nd
4
5
7
10
J
3rd
6
8
9
D A
Q
4th
2
3
H 2
C 2
K
Won
W
W
W
W
S
S A K Q J
H Q J 6 5
D 10
C K 10 5 3
Table S 9 8 6
H A K 10 4
D A Q
C A Q J 9
S 3 2
H 2
D K 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
C 2

Obviously East-West can win 13 tricks in any contract except diamonds, but this is Fantasy Land. With cooperation from East-West, it is possible for South to win nine tricks in notrump — and it can be done with flair, ending with the beer card. Game and beer in hand!

West cashes four spades, allowing East to dump the D A, while South pitches a heart and a club. West then exits with the D 10 (jack, queen, king) and South has the rest, carefully preserving the D 7 for last.

Easy game and thirst quencher, but the same could be achieved with a weaker hand, which brings me to the puzzle:

What is the weakest possible hand to win nine tricks in notrump and a beer?

Weakness is judged as the sum of South’s card ranks* so the above hand adds to 66. All N-S tricks must be won by South, and you can dictate the play of all four hands, however absurd. You must obey the rules of bridge; i.e., no revokes, leads out of turn, etc.

*Ace = 14, King = 13, Queen = 12, Jack = 11, etc.

Solution

Use the form below if you wish to submit a solution. Entries will be accepted until November 2 (midnight GMT). You may submit multiple times, but only the latest one counts. The best solutions will be published here on Election Day, with acknowledgment to the top solvers.

3 NT South S
H
D
C
S
H
D
C
Table East will get
what remains
Click
to view deal
S
H
D
C


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