Main   Challenge 8X41 by Richard Pavlicek  

The Man Who Bid Too Much

After a harrowing experience in Marrakech, you arrive in London to search for your kidnapped son. You jump into a waiting limousine and shout, “Scotland Yard! Hurry!” Alas, the Arabic driver has other ideas. The doors lock shut, and you are whisked away to the Moroccan Embassy.

“Welcome, Dr. and Mrs. McKenna,” the Ambassador flaunts, as he takes Jo’s hand. “What a pleasure to meet you! I’ve heard a lot about your bridge exploits and trust you’ll have time for a few rubbers.”

You see right through the Ambassador’s pretext, of course, but his armed guards are real. It looks like you’ll have to play along with his scheme, so prepare yourself for some foreign intrigue.

As the man who bid too much, choose your play (A-F) to make each of the following overbids. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.

Bidding is standard, and opponents use standard leads and signals. For a reference on these agreements, see my outline of Standard American Bridge. The Ambassador (West) and Consul General (East) are good players but not experts.

In August 2005 these six problems were presented as a contest with 897 entrants from 113 locations around the world. The contest is closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find your score immediately. If you’re lucky, you might even win a valuable prize.*

*Prizes include the entire Hitchcock cinema archive on microfilm, and lifetime free burgers at the Marrakech McDonalds (sorry, no fries with that). Winners must be at least 18 years of age and born in the 21st Century. Employees of PavCo Scams are ineligible.

Good luck with your quest! You may wish to close your eyes in the bidding, as it could make you ill. Just remember: The future’s not ours to see. What will be, will be. TopMain

Problem 1

Rubber Bridge None Vul

West

Dbl
3 C
All Pass
North

2 D
Dbl
East
1 C
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
2 H
4 S

4 S South
S A
H 6 4
D A 10 9 8 3 2
C Q 10 5 4
Lead: C 7TableEast plays C A
S Q 10 9 8 7 2
H A J 10 5 3
D K 4
C

You play the C 10 to force the ace, which you ruff. What next?

  1. Win S A; finesse H J
  2. Win S A; D K
  3. Win H A; lead H 3
  4. Lead the H 3
  5. Win D A; finesse H J
  6. Win D K; D A; finesse H J
TopMain

Problem 2

Rubber Bridge N-S Vul

West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 D
3 NT
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 NT
3 H
6 H

6 H South
S Q J 10
H A 7 5 4 3
D K 2
C K 5 4
Lead: D JTableEast plays D 3
S A 2
H Q 10 9 2
D A Q 5
C Q J 7 3

After making a travesty of Jacoby transfers, how do you play?

  1. Win D K; H A (unblock H 9)
  2. Win D K; H A (play H 2)
  3. Win D K; lead C 4
  4. Win D Q; lead H Q
  5. Win D Q; lead H 10
  6. Win D Q; lead H 2
TopMain

Problem 3

Rubber Bridge None Vul

West
2 S
All Pass
North
Dbl
East
Pass
South
3 NT*
*Four 6’s = 24 divided by 8 HCP = 3 NT. Case closed.

3 NT South
S 7 3
H K 5 3 2
D A K 4
C A K 4 2
Lead: S KTableEast wins S A
S 10 6 4 2
H A 6 4
D Q 10 6 3
C Q 6

At trick two East leads the C J, and West plays the C 5. Your play?

  1. Win C Q; duck a heart
  2. Win C Q; H K (both follow); duck a heart
  3. Win C Q; H K (both follow); H A
  4. Win C Q; C K (both follow); C A
  5. Win C Q; C K (both follow); lead C 4
  6. Duck the C J
TopMain

Problem 4

Rubber Bridge N-S Vul

West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 C
1 S
5 D
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 H
4 NT
6 NT

6 NT South
S A K 10 3
H J 6 2
D 10 6 2
C K Q 4
Lead: C JTableEast plays C 5
S J 5
H Q 8 5 4
D A K Q J 3
C A 2

Your 1 H bid must be an audition for Psycho. How do you play?

  1. Win C Q; lead H 2
  2. Win C A; run S J
  3. Win C A; finesse S 10
  4. Win C A; lead H 5
  5. Win C A; run diamonds
  6. Win C A; C K-Q
TopMain

Problem 5

Rubber Bridge None Vul

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

3 S
4 H
5 H
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
4 C
5 C
7 S

7 S South
S J 10 9 6 5
H A K 5 3
D Q 10
C 7 4
Lead: S 8TableEast pitches C 5
S A K Q 4 3
H Q 10
D A K 5 3
C K 3

Your fake cue-bids stopped the club lead! You win four trumps ending in hand, as only clubs are pitched. What next?

  1. Lead your last trump
  2. Win H Q; H A-K
  3. Win H Q; D Q
  4. Win H Q; finesse D 10
  5. Win D Q; finesse H 10
  6. Win D Q; D A-K
TopMain

Problem 6

Rubber Bridge N-S Vul

West

Dbl
All Pass
North

Pass
East

Pass
South
5 D
Rdbl*
*Jo is well-trained to put down nice dummies.

5 D×× South
S A J 9 8
H 10 4
D A 9 8
C A 10 5 2
Lead: S KTableEast plays S 3
S 5
H J 3
D K Q J 10 7 6 5 4
C Q 7

When the Ambassador sees dummy, he calls the guards. Before they can cuff you, you grab the S A, and then?

  1. Lead S J and pitch a heart
  2. Lead S 8 (East plays low) and pitch a heart
  3. Ruff three spades; exit with a heart
  4. Ruff two spades; run trumps
  5. Lead the H 4
  6. Lead the C 2

To see how you did click

TopMain

Acknowledgments to Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)
and his film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
© 2005 Richard Pavlicek