Main   Puzzle 8S41 by Richard Pavlicek  

Duck Season Opener

The September 7 meeting of Puzzlers Anonymous marked the opening of Duck Season, but not for the hunting of waterfowl. It was the first day of Professor Freebid’s annual seminar on ducking plays, the popularity of which has waned over recent years, many would say at the same rate as his marbles. “Timothy!” called out the Professor. “Come join me. I have a ducking good puzzle for you.”

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[Timothy sat down at the Professor’s table to see a bridge diagram scribbled on a napkin.]

“I was East on Tuesday night, playing with Marlon. On Board 1 we sat quietly, as Bonnie and Grover bid to six hearts. As you know, they play a crazy system — forcing club with relays and such — so every bid was artificial, except the last of course. I don’t know what their bids meant, or whether even they knew, but it doesn’t really matter.

“So where are their hands?” asked Timothy. “Even Bonnie and Clyde would need some cards to shoot at.”

“Ah, but that’s the puzzle! Marlon led the queen of clubs, and we beat the contract.
Afterwards I noticed Grover could have made six hearts by ducking Marlon’s lead.”

“Wouldn’t that be a holdup, not a duck?” Timothy asked.
“But I suppose the terms are interchangeable.”

“Not!” chided the Professor. “It’s like comparing arithmetic and calculus. A holdup has no quantal dependence, while a duck is affected by bosonic deflections on the hyperbolic plane. Anyone can execute a successful holdup, but a winning duck requires spatial foresight.”

“Whatever,” Timothy sighed, wondering why he bothered to ask. “At least I can understand the ‘spatial’ part, as most of what you say is from outer space.”

6 H South  ?
 ?
 ?
 ?
Marlon
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Bonnie
North
1 C
2 D
2 S
3 D
3 S
6 H
Professor
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Grover
South
2 C
2 H
3 C
3 H
3 NT
S Q J 7 6
H 5
D J 10 9 6
C Q J 10 5
Table S 9 8
H Q 8 7 6
D Q 8 7
C 9 8 7 6
Lead: C Q  ?
 ?
 ?
 ?

“Impertinence won’t help you,” warned the Professor. “I will also reveal there are no voids — except between your ears of course.
Now shut the duck up, and solve it.”

Construct a South hand where ducking the C Q lead is necessary to make 6 H.

Multiple solutions exist. Tiebreaking goal is for the South hand to be as strong as possible. Strength is judged by the sum of all card ranks: Ace = 14, king = 13, queen = 12, jack = 11, etc.


6 H South North will
get what
remains

 
Try it! It’s fun!
S Q J 7 6
H 5
D J 10 9 6
C Q J 10 5
Table S 9 8
H Q 8 7 6
D Q 8 7
C 9 8 7 6
Available cards:
Lead: C Q S   
H   
D   
C   
S A K 10 5 4 3 2
H A K J 10 9 4 3 2
D A K 5 4 3 2
C A K 4 3 2



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