Main   Challenge 8X41 by Richard Pavlicek  

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The Man Who Bid Too Much

After a harrowing experience in Marrakech, you arrive in London to search for your kidnapped son. You hail a cab 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 scheme, of course, but his armed guards are very real. It looks like you’ll have to play along. This could be your last hurrah, so you decide to let it all out and bid for the sky.

The foreign intrigue mounts! The Ambassador is incensed by your overbids, and you may have to make each contract to be released from the Embassy. Choose your plays from Options A-F, each of which 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 see Standard American Bridge. The Ambassador (West) and 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 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 Internet Scams are ineligible.

Good luck in your quest! The bidding may make you ill, but remember: The future’s not ours to see… What will be, will be.

Problem 1

Rubber Bridge
None Vul
S A
H 6 4
D A 10 9 8 3 2
C Q 10 5 4
Ambassador
West

Dbl
3 C
All Pass
 
North

2 D
Dbl
General
East
1 C
Pass
Pass
You
South
1 S
2 H
4 S
Lead: C 7TableEast plays C A



4 S South
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?

A. Win S A; finesse H J
B. Win S A; D K
C. Win H A; lead H 3
D. Lead the H 3
E. Win D A; finesse H J
F. Win D K; D A; finesse H J

Problem 2

Rubber Bridge
N-S Vul
S Q J 10
H A 7 5 4 3
D K 2
C K 5 4
Ambassador
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
North

2 D
3 NT
General
East

Pass
Pass
You
South
1 NT
3 H
6 H
Lead: D JTableEast plays D 3



6 H South
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?

A. Win D K; H A (unblock H 9)
B. Win D K; H A (play H 2)
C. Win D K; lead C 4
D. Win D Q; lead H Q
E. Win D Q; lead H 10
F. Win D Q; lead H 2

Problem 3

Rubber Bridge
None Vul
S 7 3
H K 5 3 2
D A K 4
C A K 4 2
Ambassador
West
2 S
Pass
 
North
Dbl
Pass
General
East
Pass
Pass
You
South
3 NT1
Lead: S KTableEast wins S A



3 NT South
S 10 6 4 2
H A 6 4
D Q 10 6 3
C Q 6

1. four sixes = 24 divided by 8 HCP = 3 NT

East shifts to the C J (West will play the C 5). Your play?

A. Win C Q; duck a heart
B. Win C Q; H K (both follow); duck a heart
C. Win C Q; H K (both follow); H A
D. Win C Q; C K (both follow); C A
E. Win C Q; C K (both follow); lead C 4
F. Duck the C J

Problem 4

Rubber Bridge
N-S Vul
S A K 10 3
H J 6 2
D 10 6 2
C K Q 4
Ambassador
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
North
1 C
1 S
5 D
General
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
You
South
1 H
4 NT
6 NT
Lead: C JTableEast plays C 5



6 NT South
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. Your play?

A. Win C Q; lead H 2
B. Win C A; run S J
C. Win C A; finesse S 10
D. Win C A; lead H 5
E. Win C A; run diamonds
F. Win C A; C K-Q

Problem 5

Rubber Bridge
None Vul
S J 10 9 6 5
H A K 5 3
D Q 10
C 7 4
Ambassador
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
North

3 S
4 H
5 H
General
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
You
South
1 S
4 C1
5 C2
7 S
Lead: S 8TableEast pitches C 5



7 S South
S A K Q 4 3
H Q 10
D A K 5 3
C K 3

1. trying to stop a club lead
2. a little reinforcement

You win four trumps ending in hand, as only clubs are pitched. What next?

A. Lead your last trump
B. Win H Q; H A-K
C. Win H Q; D Q
D. Win H Q; finesse D 10
E. Win D Q; finesse H 10
F. Win D Q; D A-K

Problem 6

Rubber Bridge
N-S Vul
S A J 9 8
H 10 4
D A 9 8
C A 10 5 2
Ambassador
West

Dbl
All Pass
 
North

Pass
General
East

Pass
You
South
5 D
Rdbl1
Lead: S KTableEast plays S 3



5 D×× South
S 5
H J 3
D K Q J 10 7 6 5 4
C Q 7

1. partner always has nice dummies

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

A. Lead S J and pitch a heart
B. Lead S 8 (East plays low) and pitch a heart
C. Ruff three spades; exit with a heart
D. Ruff two spades; run trumps
E. Lead the H 4
F. Lead the C 2

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