Main   Puzzle 8N85 by Richard Pavlicek  

Board Thirteen Blues

Bridge tournaments used to run smoothly; boards were duplicated by people, and scores were hand-written on pickup slips. Now it’s a circus; boards are duplicated by machine, and scores are entered into electronic devices. Never in the history of bridge have there been more fouled boards and scoring errors.

Fortunately, what’s bad for bridge can be good for a bridge puzzle, at least when coupled with a warped mind. As a case in point, let’s follow Board 13 from the Open Pairs at the Key West Regional.

Click for a list of successful solvers

Board 13 in Section A:

3 NT South S A Q J 4
H 4 3 2
D 3 2
C A Q J 5
Both Vul   West

Pass
All Pass
North
1 C
1 S
East
1 D
Pass
South
1 H
3 NT
S K 10 9 8
H 7 6
D 6 5
C K 10 9 8 7
Table S 7 6 5
H K 10 9 8
D K 10 9 8 7
C 6
Lead: D 6 S 3 2
H A Q J 5
D A Q J 4
C 4 3 2

A finesser’s dream! Declarer wins the diamond cheaply and finesses seven more times to reach S A-4 H 4 C A-5 opposite H A-5 D A-4 C 4. Then he has the option to squeeze either opponent for a 13th trick; red aces squeeze West, or black aces squeeze East. The same finesses also allow 12 tricks in either major, but no 13th of course with a sure trump loser.

So what, you ask? Well, here’s the “identical” Board 13 in Section B:

3 NT South S 4 3 2
H A Q J 5
D A 4 3 2
C Q J
Both Vul   West

Pass
All Pass
North
1 D
2 H
East
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
3 NT
S K 10 9 8
H 7 6
D 6 5
C K 10 9 8 7
Table S 7 6 5
H K 10 9 8
D K 10 9 8 7
C 6
Lead: D 6 S A Q J
H 4 3 2
D Q J
C A 5 4 3 2

The East-West hands are the same, but North-South are entirely different, and this time ugly for declarer. Instead of four overtricks, 3 NT is now set two tricks with perfect defense: diamond lead ducked; heart finesse lost to East, then a spade shift and continuations ruin declarer’s communication. Major-suit games fare miserably as well, with 4 H down three, and 4 S down four.

But wait, there’s more! I was in Section C, and my Board 13 had North-South rearranged again — and remarkably so, as the only makable game was four spades. Alas, I’ve lost the hand record! I wrote the ACBL for another copy, but they disavow any knowledge, not only of this event but in general. Perhaps you can help restore it. There were no void suits; I remember that.

Construct a South hand with which 3 NT and 4 H both fail, but 4 S makes.

Now for the easy part: You don’t need to analyze the play! Just enter a South hand and click Verify for an instant analysis of each contract.

Multiple solutions exist. Tiebreaking goals are (1) for North-South to have the lowest freakness, and (2) for South to have the most HCP, in that order of priority.


South is declarer North will
get what
remains

 
S K 10 9 8
H 7 6
D 6 5
C K 10 9 8 7
Table S 7 6 5
H K 10 9 8
D K 10 9 8 7
C 6
Available cards:
West leads S   
H   
D   
C   
S A Q J 4 3 2
H A Q J 5 4 3 2
D A Q J 4 3 2
C A Q J 5 4 3 2



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