Main Puzzle 8M73 by Richard Pavlicek
|6 NT South|| 6|
A J 10 9 8 6 5
A 10 6
| A 9 3|
K 8 3
J 8 5 3 2
| Q J 10 8 5 4 2|
|Lead: 3|| K 7|
A Q J 10 7 5
K Q 7
As West I was about a jack short of a 2 overcall but felt obliged to show my suit over 3 NT. North-South mostly ignored this, and probably each other, as they bid dauntlessly to slam. Accidentally, 6 NT was a fair contract, basically on the heart finesse (assuming a spade lead) and arguably a favorite because of Easts weak bid.
So much for favorites. I felt that leading from an honor might give declarer his 12th trick, so I began passively with dummys suit. Diabolique! Declarer considered his options, but only the heart finesse made sense (not that sense played a big role in this game). Back came the 8 (my partner only knows fourth-best) and when the smoke cleared, declarer claimed the last five tricks. Down seven, minus 700. Afterward South observed that he should have been playing poker, as everyone had four-of-a-kind, and he would have raked the pot. Down seven with four sevens on Board 7. How lucky is that?
Note that declarer could not have done better if he could see all four hands. He could cash only five top tricks (same down seven); and if he grabbed the A to finesse diamonds, he would be down eight. Perhaps this says something about bidding 6 NT with only 26 HCP, or at least to stay clear of our ward.
Would holding more HCP have avoided the 700 number? Probably or maybe not, which brings me to the puzzle:
|Construct a deal with more N-S HCP where 6 NT is down seven with best play and defense.|
The main goal is to give N-S the most possible HCP for this feat to occur. A secondary goal (tie-breaker for the April 2016 contest) is to place four-of-a-kind wherever feasible in any hand, judged by the total rank sum of all four-of-a-kinds.
Congratulations to Leigh Matheson, Australia, who was the first of 11 to submit the optimal solution, 36 HCP with a 36 quad sum (total of all four-of-a-kind ranks). Leigh is a keen puzzle buff, most notably as the only correct solver of Seesaw Recall, the first and most difficult puzzle of this series. He also topped everyone, including me, with the ultimate solution to Right-Sided Spades back in 2011.
Oh, and thanks to Jim Munday for keeping our homeland in the Top 10. (If present-day politics is any indication, our only hope to stay there may be to bring back David Letterman.)
|Rank||Name||Location||N-S HCP||Quad Sum|
|11||Ivan Loy||Hong Kong||36||36|
|13||Ryan Choy||Hong Kong||36||10|
|28||Dan Gheorghiu||British Columbia||35||33|
|29||Wayne Somerville||Northern Ireland||35||33|
|6 NT South|| K|
K 4 3 2
K 4 3 2
K 4 3 2
| 10 9 7|
10 9 7
10 9 7
10 9 7 6
| A J 8 6 5 4 3 2|
|West leads|| Q|
A Q J 5
A Q J 5
A Q J 5
Jon Greiman: Fortunately, East-West play coded nines and 10s, instead of third best.
The choice of card shouldnt matter, but if East never bid, West might indeed have a coded nightmare choosing a suit. One things for sure: Proponents of fourth from your longest and strongest wont be showing you this deal.
David Brooks: I am sure you are looking for more interesting solutions than this.
Interesting is a matter of taste, but yes, it is possible go one better in the HCP department.
|6 NT South|| A K 5 4 3 2|
A K 5 4 3 2
| Q 10 9 8 7 6|
Q 10 9 8 7 6
6 5 4 3 2
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
|West leads|| J|
K Q J 10 9 8
A K Q J 10
Hopefully, West is of the school that leads queens or singletons, as only this defense gets eight tricks (down seven) since Norths small cards have no where to go but West. If West leads any of his 10 other cards, declarer makes 7 NT (jettison the A on a club) and everyone in my ward would claim 16 tricks to get a jump start on the next board.
|6 NT South|| Q J|
K Q J 8 7
K Q J 8 7
9 6 5 4 3 2
9 6 5 4 3 2
| 10 8 7 6 5 4 3 2|
K J 10
|West leads|| A K|
A 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
I supplied an auction that might be duplicated by many experts. After North opens, East interferes with a weak jump overcall, and South bids his nine-bagger (forcing). Subsequent cue-bids reveal nothing helpful about clubs (North would surely bid 6 over 5 with the K) so a club loser seems likely, especially after North shows a pronounced two-suiter. Therefore, South gives up on seven and settles for the obvious 6 NT. Well, he doesnt exactly give up on seven; he just transfers it to the minus column. So what else is new?
Winning tip: If you ever pick up a hand like Souths in a money game, bid 5 and hope you can make it surely its a setup like the old Mississippi heart hand.
Nicholas Greer: South gets only his five top tricks on a spade lead. Im glad I didnt have to bid these hands!
Jim Munday: Unfortunately I sit West and have to worry about finding the right lead.
As East I never worry Having bid spades only once, I assume a red card is coming.
Tom Slater: Disappointing not to get four-of-a-kind into each hand; but if South has only eight clubs, what is his other card?
Tina Denlee: This was Board 13 of the same grudge match. Things looked promising when North opened 1
Sorry, but the only thing promising about 1 is that it appears to be normal. In fact it was a psych, as North had a routine, insane 1 NT opener by his own standards.
Unlucky. Youd do a lot better than once if you played in our game.
Wayne Somerville: I updated my entry for your four-of-a-kind tiebreaker, as if it were something to write home about in 13-card stud.
Julien Reichert: As somebody usually says about now, Stupid slams make only in diamonds.
© 2016 Richard Pavlicek