Puzzle 8S65 Main


I Have a Dream…


 by Richard Pavlicek

One cloudy day in South Florida, a vision flashed before my eyes…

…that apartheid at the bridge table will be abolished; that experts and duffers alike will join ranks in a single championship; that flighted events will occur only on jumbo jets; that zero tolerance will mean only the acceptance of partner’s bottom boards; and that RPbridge will become supreme ruler of all mankind.

But in case that doesn’t happen, here’s a puzzle to solve that won’t cost you a dime.

That’s right folks… Free at last!

The following almost deal occurred in the days of segregation, when aces, kings and queens did not socialize with plebeian ranks. Instead, the location of each royal card was kept hidden in a safe, so noblemen could reconstruct the deal for tournaments. Unfortunately, the safe was destroyed when Mississippi burned, so the complete deal is lost forever.

Almost bridge
S J 9 6
H 10 8 7 2
D 5 3
C 4
S 10 8 7 3
H 6 5
D 4
C J 9 2
TableS 4
H J 9 3
D 10 8 6 2
C 7 5
Plebeian
diagram
S 5 2
H 4
D J 9 7
C 10 8 6 3

But wait! Discovered among South’s plebeian cards was a faded parchment with barely discernible words:

A “test” in each suit shows South makes one of each with optimal counterplay

I interpret this to mean South can make 1 C, 1 D, 1 H and 1 S against best defense, hence the puzzle:

Place the aces, kings and queens so South can win exactly seven tricks with each suit trumps.

Can you guess the winning royal cards for North-South? 
A. North S Q H Q D A, South S K D Q C Q
B. North S Q D K C A, South H K-Q D Q
C. North S Q C A-Q, South H A-Q D Q
D. North D K C A-K, South H A-Q D Q
E. North D K C A-Q, South S K H A-Q

Puzzle within a puzzle: Why is “test” in quotes?

Quit

Top I Have a Dream…

Jean-Christophe Clement Wins

This contest ran from December 6, 2020, to January 20, 2021. Only six persons submitted a successful layout (South able to win exactly seven tricks in each suit) ranked below by the tiebreakers then date-time of entry. The puzzle format required a successful solution before it could be submitted, so I have no idea how many tried — but with the current trend I’d be lucky to get 20. Aha! I just thought of a way to increase participation with a “free at last” bonus: Buy one puzzle; get a free one shoved up your…

Congratulations to Jean-Christophe Clement, winner by a landslide. Jean-Christophe also won the recent Right-Sided Club Slam and has dozens of high placings in various challenges as far back as 2002.

Winner List
RankNameLocationN-S HCPFreakness
1Jean-Christophe ClementFrance1710
2Samuel PahkMassachusetts202
3Charles BlairIllinois202
4Nicholas GreerEngland202
5Tim BroekenNetherlands2017
6Audrey KuehEngland222

Puzzle 8S65 MainTop I Have a Dream…

Solution

This contest was more of a guessing game than a puzzle. No one would have the patience to analyze each attempt to see if South wins exactly seven tricks in suit, so all possible distributions were precalculated by computer.*

*There are 369,600 (12c3 × 9c3 × 6c3) ways to distribute the 12 royal cards. Each was double-dummy solved with South declarer in each suit, and results were stored in a lookup table. This allowed solvers to see an instantaneous analysis of each attempt, which made the pursuit fun.

“Four sevens” (makes in each suit) indicated a winning layout, and three guessers, er solvers found the following, which gives North-South half the HCP and a deal freakness of 2:

Almost bridge
S J 9 6
H 10 8 7 2
D K 5 3
C A Q 4
S 10 8 7 3
H 6 5
D A Q 4
C K J 9 2
TableS A Q 4
H K J 9 3
D 10 8 6 2
C 7 5
South makes
1 of any suit
S K 5 2
H A Q 4
D J 9 7
C 10 8 6 3

Don’t bother to study the play; South is certified to win exactly seven tricks with any suit trumps. You can “believe me now or believe me later,” like the old Hans and Franz sketch on Saturday Night Live.

Samuel Pahk: 20 HCP feels pretty minimal, as does the freakness of 2.


No solver found it, but a solution exists for 20 HCP and freakness zero (each hand 4-3-3-3):

Almost bridge
S J 9 6
H 10 8 7 2
D K 5 3
C A K 4
S 10 8 7 3
H K 6 5
D A Q 4
C J 9 2
TableS A K 4
H J 9 3
D 10 8 6 2
C Q 7 5
South makes
1 of any suit
S Q 5 2
H A Q 4
D J 9 7
C 10 8 6 3

Again, trying to analyze it will make your head spin, so just believe Hans and Franz.


Mabel Pavlicek: I was reading a parchment on Cloud 73 and found a deal with your name on it!

[This writer dreams too.] My love lowered the HCP to 19 (freakness 2):

Almost bridge
S Q J 9 6
H 10 8 7 2
D 5 3
C A K 4
S 10 8 7 3
H K 6 5
D A K 4
C J 9 2
TableS A K 4
H J 9 3
D 10 8 6 2
C Q 7 5
South makes
1 of any suit
S 5 2
H A Q 4
D Q J 9 7
C 10 8 6 3


No one discovered this layout with only 18 HCP (freakness 3):

Almost bridge
S Q J 9 6
H 10 8 7 2
D K 5 3
C A 4
S 10 8 7 3
H A 6 5
D A Q 4
C J 9 2
TableS A K 4
H J 9 3
D 10 8 6 2
C K 7 5
South makes
1 of any suit
S 5 2
H K Q 4
D J 9 7
C Q 10 8 6 3

Both of the above layouts are unique for their minimal HCP and freakness.


Hail to the chief! One solver topped all others by an incredible margin with the ultimate solution.
Remarkably, declarer wins seven tricks in any suit, against any defense, with only 17 HCP:

Almost bridge
S Q J 9 6
H Q 10 8 7 2
D A 5 3
C 4
S 10 8 7 3
H A K 6 5
D K 4
C J 9 2
TableS A 4
H J 9 3
D 10 8 6 2
C A K 7 5
South makes
1 of any suit
S K 5 2
H 4
D Q J 9 7
C Q 10 8 6 3

Jean-Christophe Clement: I found two solutions with 17 HCP but exactly the same freakness.

Too smart! The other solution he refers to is simply to swap the S K and S Q.

Puzzle within a Puzzle (solution)

The parchment read: A “test” in each suit… So why the quotes? Only two solvers caught on to the deliberate choice of four-card suits in the Plebeian diagram: 10-8-7-3, 10-8-7-2, 10-8-6-3 and 10-8-6-2.

Samuel Pahk: “Test” is the first letters of each card in North’s hearts, South’s clubs, East’s diamonds and West’s spades.

Charles Blair: TEST = Ten Eight Seven (Six) Three (Two).

Parting thoughts

Audrey Kueh: Trial 72: failure… Trial 73: failure… Trial 74: success… Trial 75: failure… Wait! 74 was a success! 74 was a success!

Talk about having a dream:

Nicholas Greer: “T’est” might be French for something like “what is yours,” and I’m aware
that parts of the southern U.S., possibly including Mississippi, were originally French.

Well, I once ordered French toast in Biloxi. Does that count?

Evidently Martin Luther King, Jr. had great foresight when he proclaimed “Free at last!” as it seems just as appropriate now after four years of embarrassment in the White House.

The Donald: You can impeach me now or impeach me later, but Rudy will clear me! And if that doesn’t work, I’ll be hiding out in Lilliput, which has no extradition treaties.

Puzzle 8S65 MainTop I Have a Dream…

© 2021 Richard Pavlicek