Main   Challenge 8X49 by Richard Pavlicek  

Analyses    Scores  

Finesses of Frankenstein

On a dark and stormy night you seek shelter at a nearby castle, and knock on the door. No one answers. A light in the tower suggests someone is there, so you pound harder and harder, “Please! Open the door!”

“Go away!” a voice shouts. “The storm is almost at its peak, and I must not be disturbed. Power from the heavens is now imminent. I beg you to go away!”

Lightning bolts zap the castle, shaking the tower. Ten minutes later the door opens. “Sorry, I was doing an experiment,” says Dr. Henry Frankenstein. “Do you play bridge? I must test my new partner. Come! We will play in the laboratory.”

You’d agree to almost anything to get out of the storm and follow Henry, where he sits down opposite a hideous creature about seven feet tall! “Have a seat on my right,” says Henry. “My assistant will be your partner. Fritz? Come, Fritz! We’re ready to play.”

On these six problems, Dr. Frankenstein (South) is declarer and takes a finesse early in the play. As East, do you win the trick or duck? Choose your defense from the options listed. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.

Bidding is standard (or as noted). For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Dr. Frankenstein is an expert. Fritz, however, has about the same intellect as the monster, so don’t put any faith in his signals. All he knows is to lead the proper spot card.

In October of 2005 these six problems were presented as a contest with 904 entrants from 114 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 six cerebellum transplants (certified normal) and a 12-step program in electroshock therapy. Winners must be at least
18 years of age and a Life Burgomaster in their national bridge organization. Employees of PavCo Body Parts are ineligible.

Warning! Sit back and stay clear of dummy. “It’s alive!” Henry shrieks as he plans the play. “Fritz! Put down that torch!”

Problem 1

Rubber Bridge
None Vul
S A K 10 5 2
H Q J 8
D J 3
C J 5 4
Fritz
West

Pass
Pass
Monster
North
Pass
2 H1
3 NT
You
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Frankenstein
South
1 NT
2 S
3 NT SouthTable S Q 7 6 4
H 7 3 2
D K 9 5
C Q 10 3

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
H 6
S J
2nd
8
3
3rd
2
2
4th
10
?

1. Burgomaster transfer

A. Win S Q; lead S 4
B. Win S Q; lead H 7
C. Win S Q; lead D 9
D. Win S Q; lead D 5
E. Win S Q; lead C 3
F. Duck smoothly

Problem 2

Rubber Bridge
N-S Vul
S A 8 6
H A 9 3 2
D J 9 6 2
C 7 2
Fritz
West

Pass
Pass
Monster
North

2 C
4 H
You
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Frankenstein
South
1 NT
2 H
4 H SouthTable S Q 9 2
H K 6 5
D A 5 3
C J 9 6 4

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
C 5
H Q
2nd
2
4
3rd
J
2
4th
A
?

A. Win H K; lead S Q
B. Win H K; lead S 2
C. Win H K; lead H 5
D. Win H K; lead D 3
E. Win H K; lead C 4
F. Duck smoothly

Problem 3

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

Pass
Pass
Monster
North

1 H
6 NT
You
East

Pass
All Pass
Frankenstein
South
1 D
2 NT
6 NT SouthTable S 9 7 6
H K 3
D Q J 4 3
C 10 9 8 6

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
S 3
H 4
2nd
2
6
3rd
9
Q
4th
K
?

A. Win H K; lead S 7
B. Win H K; lead H 3
C. Win H K; lead D J
D. Win H K; lead D 4
E. Win H K; lead C 10
F. Duck smoothly

Problem 4

Rubber Bridge
None Vul
S A K 8 4 2
H 9 8 3
D A Q 6
C K 2
Fritz
West
Pass
Pass
Pass
Monster
North
1 S
2 NT
Pass
You
East
Pass
Pass
Dbl
Frankenstein
South
1 NT
3 NT
All Pass
3 NT× SouthTable S Q J 10 9 7
H J 10 2
D K 5 2
C A 9

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
H 4
D 9
2nd
9
4
3rd
10
Q
4th
K
?

A. Win D K; lead S Q
B. Win D K; lead H 2
C. Duck; next duck C K
D. Duck; win C A; lead S Q
E. Duck; win C A; lead H 2
F. Duck; win C A; lead C 9

Note: If you duck Trick 2, declarer next leads the C K.

Problem 5

Rubber Bridge
Both Vul
S K Q 9 2
H 10 6 4
D A J 10 9
C Q J
Fritz
West

Pass
All Pass
Monster
North

3 S
You
East

Pass
Frankenstein
South
1 S
4 S
4 S SouthTable S 6 3
H J 9 8
D K 5 2
C K 10 7 6 5

Trick
1 W
2 N
3 N
4 S
Lead
C 3
S K
S 2
D 7
2nd
Q
3
6
4
3rd
7
5
J
J
4th
2
4
7
?

A. Win D K; lead H J
B. Win D K; lead H 9
C. Win D K; lead H 8
D. Win D K; lead D 5
E. Win D K; lead C K
F. Duck smoothly

Problem 6

Rubber Bridge
None Vul
S A 9 2
H Q 7 6 4
D 3 2
C A Q 9 8
Fritz
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
Monster
North
1 C
3 S
5 H
You
East
Pass
Pass
Dbl
Frankenstein
South
2 S
4 NT
6 S
6 S SouthTable S 7 3
H K J 9 8
D Q J 4
C K 10 7 4

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
D 6
C J
2nd
2
2
3rd
J
8
4th
A
?

A. Win C K; lead S 3
B. Win C K; lead H 9
C. Win C K; lead D Q
D. Win C K; lead D 4
E. Win C K; lead C 10
F. Duck smoothly

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Acknowledgments to Mary Shelley (1797-1851) and the Universal film Frankenstein (1931)
© 2005 Richard Pavlicek