Analyses 8Y72  MainChallenge


Try To Remember


Scores by Richard Pavlicek

“…the kind of September…”

These six problems were published on the Internet in September 2007 as a contest open to all bridge players. On each problem you were asked to choose your play as declarer from the choices offered.

Problem 123456Final Notes

I hope you impressed Ike with your declarer play! If you made every contract, you could change history. Ike deeply regrets his choice of Vice President — the tricky-dicky buffoon does not play bridge, and he may be a crook as well. Ike plans to ditch him before it’s too late and has been scouting bridge players for a replacement. The job could be yours!

Sorry I’m late, but Dad let me drive the Nash Rambler. Only catch, was I had to take it in to the dealer for an oil change and new wiper blades. While waiting, I walked over to the record store, as I was anxious to get my hands on Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” that he sang on Ozzie and Harriet last night. Luckily the store had just received a shipment of new 45s, and there it was. Best 30 cents I ever spent!

When I walked back to the Nash dealer the car wasn’t ready, and the mechanic said it needed new spark plugs, which would cost another four bucks. What a rip-off! Oh well, Dad can afford it.

Around Christmastime, Dad plans to trade in the Rambler for a new Studebaker Commander, which he says has a built-in clock and radio. Unbelievable! What will they think of next.

Ding-Hwa Hsieh Dominates!

This contest had 644 entrants from 104 locations, and the average score was 38.89. Congratulations to Ding-Hwa Hsieh (Missouri) who was the first of 10 to submit perfect scores. What dominance! In the 2007 series, this is her third win and fifth perfect score; she is the overall leader with a perfect average (only Rainer Herrmann did this before) and first in all 17 stat categories. Also scoring 60 were Darek Kardas (Poland), Perry Groot (Netherlands), Dale Freeman (Ontario), Franco Chiarugi (Greece), Imre Csiszar (Hungary), Tim DeLaney (Indiana), Joon Pahk (Massachusetts), Jordi Sabate (Spain) and Jim Munday (California).

The average score (38.89) was the third lowest in the series (June 37.65 was lowest), yet surprisingly four problems were aced by the consensus. This inconsistency was caused mainly by widely diverse answers, although the consensus collapse on Problem 3 was definitely a factor. Only 313 persons scored above average (39+) to make the list.

Only one problem (#5) was close — indeed, requiring extensive study to determine the winner.

Retaining the top position in the overall standings (surprise, surprise) is Ding-Hwa Hsieh, increasing her average to a perfect 60.00. Not far behind with 59.25 is Darek Kardas, followed by Jerry Fink (Ohio) and Jordi Sabate, each with 59.00. Next with 58.75 are John Lusky (Oregon), Lajos Linczmayer (Hungary), Joanna Sliwowska (Poland) and Jim Munday.

Bidding is standard (except as noted) and your opponents use standard leads and signals.
For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.

Each problem offered six plausible lines of play (A-F). The merit of each is scored on a 1-to-10 scale based on my judgment, which is also aided by some of the comments received.

Problem 1

IMPsS Q 10 4WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH A 7 3LHOIkeRHOYou
D 6 5 4 31 DPassPass2 NT
C 10 8 2Pass3 NTPassPass
Table Pass
Lead: H KEast plays H 9 
 
 
S A 6 2
H 8 4
D A K 8
3 NT SouthC A K J 9 5

West next leads the H Q (East plays H 5) as you duck, then the D Q (East plays D 2).

PlayAwardVotesPercent
C. Win D A, lead C 51018429
A. Win D A, C A-K717427
D. Duck, win D A, C A-K511618
B. Win D A, C A, lead C 537311
E. Duck, win D A, C A, lead C 52538
F. Duck, win D A, lead C 51447

Autumn colors abound. Perhaps West was inspired by orange and yellow leaves to lead two shades of red: first hearts, then diamonds. Apparently, from East’s signal of the H 9, West has H K-Q-10 alone; and after two ducks he realized the futility of setting up hearts with East entryless. Excellent defense, as a third heart would put you on easy street.

Nine tricks are in grasp by establishing clubs and the S Q (West must have the S K) but tempo is not. Unless the C Q or S K drops, West will be able to set up his diamonds before you can develop both black suits. Therefore, you only have time to set up clubs, and your ninth trick will have to come from an endplay against West. Consider a likely layout:

IMPsS Q 10 4TrickLead2nd3rd4th
None vulH A 7 31. WH K394
D 6 5 4 32. WH Q758
C 10 8 23. WD Q32A
S K J 3 TableS 9 8 7 54. SC 5!Q26
H K Q 10H J 9 6 5 25. WD 7410K
D Q J 9 7D 10 26. SC 9!3104
C Q 7 3C 6 47. NH A2S 210
S A 6 28. NC 8H 6A7
H 8 49. SC KS 3D 5S 5
D A K 8continued below…
3 NT SouthC A K J 9 5

After winning the D A at Trick 3, the question is how to play clubs. The obvious move is to cash C A-K (Line A or D) as West almost surely has the queen, and it may drop. Alas, if the C Q doesn’t fall, you’re in dire straits, having no way to reach the H A in time.

What about cashing just one top club (Line B or E) before conceding a club? This insures an entry to dummy but leaves a communication predicament. West will win the C Q and return a diamond (not obvious but necessary) then if you cross to the C 10 to cash the H A, you cannot return to hand without using the S A, which kills your endplay chance.

Proper play (shown above) is to lead a low club immediately (Line C). West does best to win and return a diamond to your king. Then cross to the C 10, cash the H A, and win two more clubs to reach this ending:

NT win 3 S Q 10 4TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H10. SC JD 9D 6S 7
D 611. SD 8!JS 4S 8
CWest is endplayed
S K J TableS 9 8 7
HH J
D J 9D
CC
S A 6
H
D 8
South leadsC J

When you lead the last club, West must pitch a good diamond (else blank the S K giving you all the tricks). Then he is thrown in with a diamond to lead from the S K.

A distant second goes to winning the D A and cashing C A-K (Line A). If the C Q drops, you will score a lucky overtrick; but otherwise, you can hang up your rake, as there is no further hope — aside from a blank S K.

Third place goes to ducking the diamond and cashing C A-K (Line D), which loses the possibility of an overtrick when the C Q drops. Further, when it fails to drop, you will be down two, since endplay chances are gone and you can’t reach the H A.

Other plays are almost nullo against best defense. Cashing one top club before leading the C 5 only works if the C Q fell singleton (or the S K is blank). Between Lines B and E, Line B gets the edge for its overtrick chance.

Worst of all, and completely nullo (save a blank S K), is to duck the diamond and lead a low club (Line F). Well, I suppose there’s always a glimmer of hope that West might misdefend.

While we’re on a reminiscing theme, this problem goes back to 1981, when I created it (modified from an actual deal) for the Gold Coast Bridge News.* That was the same year I got my first computer, a Northstar Advantage, 2 Mhz, 64K memory, and two 8-inch floppy drives (no hard disk). My eyes lit up like headlights. Nothing could ever top that!

*now defunct, which many would say is no surprise after publishing my articles

Comments for C. Win D A, lead C 5

Perry Groot: Giving up a trick to the C Q to have communication to cash the H A and all clubs, leading to a squeeze throw-in.

Dale Freeman: I need to create an entry to dummy, and this gives maximum communication, allowing me to cash one heart, two diamonds and four clubs. Then I will exit with a diamond to endplay West, unless the count shows he is down to a singleton S K.

Franco Chiarugi: East has the H J and cannot have the S K. West has three hearts, else he would have continued a third round; and he is very likely to have at least four diamonds. With these hypotheses, I can always succeed… [Play described] to reach the following ending: S Q-10-4 opposite S A-6 D 8.

Imre Csiszar: This guarantees 3 NT unless West made an unlikely deceptive play holding H K-Q-10-x. An ending will be reached with S Q-10-4 opposite S A-6 D 8, and I will have the count to win two more tricks…

Tim DeLaney: West’s play suggests only three hearts, and likely four diamonds. He needs the S K for his bid, so he can be endplayed regardless of the location of the C Q. This ensures an entry to dummy; then I win the diamond return (nothing matters), cross to the C 10, cash the H A (spade pitch) and run clubs. I will have a complete count…

Joon Pahk: I have no late entry to dummy for a simple squeeze, so I’ll try for a two-loser squeeze against West. I can’t afford to lose the second club, because a diamond return would [ruin my communication].

Jordi Sabate: I need to endplay West for my last trick (he has the S K), so I have to win the D A. Also, it’s necessary to enter dummy (C 10 or C 8) to win the H A and return to hand with a club. Only Line C combines all options. …

Jim Munday: The defense suggests West has three hearts, and [the bidding] suggests he has at least four diamonds. If so, I can endplay him to force a spade lead; but I must lead a low club right away to keep entries fluid.

Steve White: To strip-squeeze West in diamonds and spades, I must keep transportation in clubs to cash the H A and run clubs.

Lajos Linczmayer: West seems to have three hearts. If he has four clubs, say, S K-J H K-Q-10 D Q-J-10-7 C Q-x-x-x, this play avoids entry problems. If West ducks, I play a club to the ace and a low spade.

Bruce Neill: This way, I can get to dummy with a club, cash the H A, then run clubs — necessary to endplay West if he has, e.g., S K-x-x H K-Q-x D Q-J-9-x C Q-x-x.

Jerry Fink: West’s opening bid surely was based on the S K, H K-Q and D Q-J, plus another black-suit honor, which leaves him vulnerable to a strip squeeze (provided I get the count right on his hand). The trap is not to take my time in clubs — the necessary suit to get to dummy to cash the H A and return to hand for the squeeze.

John Auld: West has three hearts. I plan to enter dummy [with a club], cash the H A, run clubs, and endplay West.

John Lusky: This allows me to reach the H A at the right time; then run clubs to strip-squeeze West.

Roger Morton: Odds are West has all the points. I plan to throw him in to lead a spade in the endgame, but I need an entry to cash the H A before running clubs.

Leif-Erik Stabell: West should have the S K and H K-Q-10, so the position of the C Q is irrelevant.

David Kenward: This forces an entry to dummy, and I will hopefully strip-squeeze West later.

Neelotpal Sahai: Idea is to create an entry to dummy to cash the H A. Assuming West has the S K…and 4+ diamonds, he will be endplayed in diamonds to lead from the S K — unless he bares it, then I’ll cash the S A.

John Reardon: I need entries in clubs to cash the H A before strip-squeezing West.

Rob Stevens: To strip-squeeze West, his last heart must be removed, which means creating an entry to dummy and being able to return to hand in clubs.

Douglas Dunn: I will win the diamond return, play a club to dummy, take the H A and run clubs, aiming to throw West in with a diamond. If West follows to three clubs, he will have at least four diamonds.

Julian Wightwick: [Playing] to strip-squeeze West in spades and diamonds. The defense will win the C Q and clear diamonds; then I cross to dummy in clubs to cash the H A and return in clubs. I cannot afford to cash even one top club first.

Toby Kenney: Setting up a squeeze endplay. When West clears diamonds, I can reach the H A, finish clubs, then either exit in diamonds or drop the S K.

Gabor Lippner: Planning to strip-squeeze West.

David Brooks: This guarantees the contract if West has the S K and four or more diamonds.

Sebastien Louveaux: Early play shows East has H J-9-x-x-x. I must preserve club entries to cash the H A and run clubs to strip West, then throw him in to lead from the S K. (He can only keep one diamond winner to guard the S K.)

Thijs Veugen: I plan to endplay West to lead a spade, if he has something like S K-x H K-Q-10 D Q-J-x-x-x C Q-x-x.

Rainer Herrmann: Elementary, my dear Watson.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible West hand: S K-x H K-Q-10 D Q-J-10-9-7 C Q-x-x. West must go up with the C Q; then I win the diamond return, cross to the C 10, cash the H A (discarding a spade) and run clubs to strip-squeeze West.

Rob Wijman: I must retain the D 8 and preserve communication for a throw-in against West…

Mark Chen: I need a club entry to dummy to cash the H A, and another club to get back to hand. On the last club, West will have to come down to three cards — either unguarding the S K, or being thrown in with a diamond to lead from it.

N. Scott Cardell: East’s play of the H 9 shows the H J and denies the H 10, so West’s switch suggests exactly H K-Q-10. West needs the S K and 4+ diamonds for his bidding, so he can be strip-squeezed. To force a club entry to dummy, I lead the C 5 to the eight… If the C 8 wins, I cash the H A and lead a second club; if East follows, I finesse to protect against East having C Q-x-x-x.*

*Scott makes a good point that if you greedily assume West has the C Q, a clever duck by East could set you; however, not cashing the H A and returning to the C K (as Lajos Linczmayer suggested) preserves the overtrick chance without risk.

Jacques Cloutier: West should not have five diamonds (he would lead them) or four hearts (he would continue); so he has a hand like S K-x-x H K-Q-10 D Q-J-10-7 C Q-x-x, maybe 4-2 or 2-4 in the black suits. [Play described].

Carsten Kofoed: Even if West has S K-x-x-x H K-Q-x D Q-J-x-x C Q-x, he will be endplayed. I must keep club communication.

Dean Pokorny: A throw-in will develop… I must be careful to retain the C 10 entry to cash the H A. …

David Grainger: I need two-way communication in clubs to cash the H A and [return to hand] for a strip squeeze against West. This needs West to have four diamonds and the S K — very likely.

Okan Ozcan: … This allows a second club to reach dummy (cash H A) then a club return to hand, eventually endplaying West.

Junyi Zhu: Planning to endplay West with the third diamond. I must lead a low club on the first round to ensure an entry to dummy for the H A and an entry to hand in clubs.

Bill Powell: Ensuring a club entry to dummy to cash the H A, and another back to hand to run clubs. West will be strip-squeezed.

Jean-Christophe Clement: Only way to maintain communication and develop an endplay against West.

Brad Theurer: I must maintain transportation in clubs, both to dummy (to cash the H A) and back to hand for a potential strip squeeze against West, who almost surely has 4+ diamonds and the S K.

Bill Daly: [To preserve communication]. If I cash a top club first (Line B), I will have to use the third club to reach dummy for the H A; then I can’t return to hand in clubs for the strip squeeze.

Bineet Jha: Ducking a diamond loses my throw-in card against West. Cashing a top club before leading small is fraught with danger, losing an entry back to hand…

Gerald Cohen: Blasting an entry to dummy to cash the H A, and to operate a strip squeeze (assuming my D K is knocked out).

Gerald seems to have confused strip-squeezing with strip-mining. Stand back!

Problem 2

IMPsS A 5WestNorthEastSouth
Both vulH A 6 4 3LHOIkeRHOYou
D A 7 5 41 DDbl1 H
C 8 5 3Pass2 HPass4 H
Table PassPassPass
Lead: C 6East wins C A 
 
 
S 6 4 3 2
H K Q 5 2
D K Q J 6
4 H SouthC K

East shifts to the H J (West plays H 7).

PlayAwardVotesPercent
C. Win H K, duck spade1021333
B. Win H K, S A, lead S 5812219
A. Win H K, S A, ruff club615123
D. Win H K-Q5457
E. Win H A, S A, lead S 539815
F. Win H A, lead S 52152

You have reached an excellent contract, virtually laydown with 3-2 trumps, but East’s takeout double and trump shift forebode a 4-1 split. Even so, you should prevail by winning one spade, three trumps, four diamonds and two club ruffs in hand, provided you retain trump control and don’t suffer more than one diamond ruff.

Instead of ruffing two clubs, another possibility is to try to ruff two spades in dummy; but this is inconvenient. You would have to give up the lead, then a club return would tap your hand, forcing you to lose trump control if you ruffed in dummy as well. Ruffing clubs is surely a better plan, since you’re all set to proceed. Consider a likely layout:

IMPsS A 5TrickLead2nd3rd4th
Both vulH A 6 4 31. WC 63AK
D A 7 5 42. EH JK73
C 8 5 33. SS 27A?8
S Q 9 7 TableS K J 10 84. NC 5QH 24
H 7H J 10 9 85. SD 63A9
D 10 8 3 2D 96. NC 82H 57
C J 9 7 6 4C A Q 10 27. SH QC 948
S 6 4 3 2Declarer fails
H K Q 5 2
D K Q J 6
4 H SouthC K

Suppose you win the H K at Trick 2 and follow Line A: Cross to the S A, ruff a club, cross to the D A, ruff the last club and cash the H Q. Alas, you are now stranded in hand. If you lead a spade, opponents will tap dummy with a black suit, and you’ve lost control. If you lead a high diamond, East will ruff, then underlead in spades to get a second ruff. Down one.

Better timing is required. To break the enemy line of communication, you should give up a spade early while you have everything under control. Proper play is to win the H K and duck a spade (Line C). Suppose East wins and returns a trump (nothing matters): Win the H Q, cross to the D A, ruff a club, cross to the S A, ruff a club, then lead good diamonds until East ruffs. Whatever the return, you can ruff in dummy and draw East’s last trump.

Second place goes to winning the H K and playing ace and another spade (Line B). While failing in the diagram, this works if either red suit splits 3-2. If a trump is returned (East having four), you can win in dummy and proceed to ruff two spades, using diamond entries to hand. If instead you are tapped with a spade or club, you can negotiate a second ruff in the same suit and retain control.

Line A gets third place. Besides failing as diagrammed above, it also fails with diamonds 3-2 (assuming East has four hearts) in two curious ways: (1) If East is 4=4=2=3, after ruffing the third diamond, he can put West on lead for a club lead to promote his last trump. (2) If East is 3=4=2=4, he must pitch (top spade or club) on the third diamond.

A close fourth goes to winning H K-Q immediately (Line D), which essentially reverts to Line A, because your only chance against 4-1 hearts is to use dummy’s entries to ruff two clubs and hope East can’t reach West in spades.

Much worse is to win the H A first (Line E or F), which always fails with 4-1 trumps. This prevents you from ruffing two clubs (low), so your only hope is to ruff two spades in dummy, which requires giving up the lead; then a club return taps your hand, forcing you to lose control. The edge goes to Line E, which secures an overtrick in some layouts by allowing an immediate spade ruff upon regaining the lead.

Evidently, my autumn theme was an inspiration for the consensus, nailing the first two problems of the set. Will the streak continue? Well, in the old days ‘streaking’ was considered cool, indeed literally on a chilly day.

Comments for C. Win H K, duck spade

Perry Groot: Hearts are likely 1-4. The spade duck keeps control and communication, in order to ruff either two clubs in hand or two spades in dummy — and it kills opponents’ communication as well.

Dale Freeman: Probably both red suits are 4-1. I must use the S A and D A to ruff two clubs in hand; however, I cannot give up spade control yet.

Franco Chiarugi: If hearts are 3-2, there is no problem; but I can also win against hearts 4-1. Plan is to break opponents’ communication before ruffing two clubs in hand, else East may ruff a diamond and reach West for a second diamond ruff.

Tim DeLaney: I can’t go wrong if trumps are 3-2. To guard against four hearts with East, I first duck a spade (scissors coup), then ruff two clubs in hand and play diamonds. East will be able to ruff, but has no way to cross the table for a second ruff.

Joon Pahk: If East has four trumps, I want to save dummy’s aces to ruff two clubs in hand.

Jordi Sabate: Protecting against 4-1 breaks in both red suits. I will use the S A and D A to ruff two clubs; then if hearts are 4-1, play diamonds.

Jim Munday: Catering to 4-1 hearts and diamonds. I can ruff two clubs in hand using the pointed aces as entries, but first I must break communication between opponents. After ruffing the last club, I will run diamonds, letting East win his trump trick.

Jonathan Mestel: Keeping control if East is 4=4=1=4.

Steve White: To ruff two clubs using the D A and S A entries without letting East ruff two diamonds.

Lajos Linczmayer: Necessary to cut communication if East has, e.g., S K-Q-J-x H J-10-9-8 D x C A-Q-10-4.

Bruce Neill: Cutting enemy communication before ruffing two clubs, in case hearts and diamonds are both 4-1.

Jerry Fink: I have entries (S A and D A) necessary to secure two club ruffs, but I don’t want East to score two diamond ruffs (one is OK); so I give up a spade now to cut communication. Assuming diamonds are no worse than 4-1, opponents can do nothing to disrupt [my plan].

John Auld: If hearts don’t break, I need two club ruffs. I duck a spade now to cut opponents’ communication later, when East may be ruffing diamonds.

John Lusky: Protecting against four hearts with East and four diamonds with West. Other plays risk being tapped out or allowing two diamonds ruffs.

Roger Morton: Better to lose the spade now for control purposes, in case trumps break badly.

Leif-Erik Stabell: This enables me to ruff two clubs in hand and maintain control, if East is 4=4=1=4 or similar.

David Kenward: Trumps are probably 4-1, but this allows me to ruff two clubs and keep trump control at the end.

Neelotpal Sahai: Even 4=4=1=4 distribution in East (likely for his double) can be handled. Objective is to ruff two clubs in hand without losing trump control [or two diamond ruffs]. If East returns another trump, I will win the H Q, S A, club ruff, D A, club ruff, then play diamonds. …

John Reardon: I hope East has something like S K-Q-10-x H J-10-9-8 D x C A-J-10-x.

Rob Stevens: Preparing to ruff two clubs, then force East’s presumed four-card heart suit without sustaining two adverse ruffs.

Douglas Dunn: Aim is to ruff two clubs in hand. If trumps are 4-1, I will need East to follow to one diamond.

Julian Wightwick: I want to ruff two clubs in hand, and I must keep the S A for transportation and control. If East wins the spade and leads a second trump (West showing out), I win the H Q, D A, club ruff, S A, club ruff, then lead diamonds.

Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: I can overcome a 4-1 trump break by ruffing two clubs and playing diamonds until East ruffs; but I must cut communication first, otherwise East may get two ruffs.

Toby Kenney: This cuts the opposing communication. Next I’ll ruff a club, draw a second trump (if needed), and ruff a third club (using S A and D A as entries) then play diamonds.

David Brooks: This will make 10 tricks if East has at least one diamond with the anticipated four hearts.

Sebastien Louveaux: I need to ruff two clubs; but to protect against 4-1 hearts, I will concede a spade when opponents can do no harm…

Paulino Correa: If trumps split 3-2, the contract is easy, but East [probably] has four. I aim to ruff two clubs in hand; but I also must cut enemy communication in spades, else a second diamond may be ruffed later. [Play variations described].

Rainer Herrmann: If East has four trumps, he must have at least one diamond to succeed.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible East hand: S K-Q-J-x H J-10-9-8 D x C A-J-x-x. My aim is to ruff clubs in hand (not spades in dummy), but ducking a spade will cut the opponents’ transportation.

Rob Wijman: This will succeed when East has something like S K-J-x-x H J-10-9-8 D x C A-Q-x-x. Later I will use my two small hearts to ruff clubs.

Mark Chen: Then win the trump return (probably seeing the 4-1 break), D A, club ruff, S A, club ruff, and run diamonds.

N. Scott Cardell: This cuts opponents’ communication while preserving mine to protect against a 4-1 trump break. The best the defense can do is return a trump; I win the H Q, S A, club ruff, D A, and another club ruff. Then I lead high diamonds if trumps were 4-1, or ruff a spade to try for an overtrick if trumps were 3-2.

Carsten Kofoed: This preserves my options of where and when to ruff. East may have H J-10-9-8.

Dean Pokorny: If East holds S K-Q-x-x H J-10-9-8 D x C A-Q-x-x, I will have to ruff two clubs in hand, [break opponents’ communication] and prevent dummy from being forced in spades. This does the job.

Junyi Zhu: Planning to ruff two clubs in hand, as East is likely to be 4=4=1=4. Other options fall short, either in communication or trump control.

Bill Powell: This will snip West’s spade entry to prevent East getting two diamond ruffs.

Amiram Millet: And be happy West didn’t lead a trump (or diamond) holding S Q-10-x H x D x-x-x-x C Q-10-x-x-x.

Brad Theurer: East typically will have four hearts and a singleton diamond, so I must plan to ruff two clubs then play on diamonds to keep control. The early spade duck ensures West cannot get in to give East a second diamond ruff.

Harry Elliott: I expect to lose a club, a spade, and the long trump held by East. By a dummy reversal, I can win three top hearts, two club ruffs, the S A, and four diamonds (if East ruffs a diamond, I get a fourth heart). … If I ruff clubs immediately, I will have no [entry] back to dummy; so I duck a spade now. [Play described].

Javier Carbonero: Communication! Plan is to ruff two clubs with small trumps, going to dummy with the S A and D A; then cash the H Q (if not played at fourth trick) and lead diamonds. Even if both red suits split 4-1, I am home.

Gerald Cohen: I should be able to ruff two clubs using the S A and D A entries. By withholding the S A, I can’t be forced in spades [while breaking opponent’s communication].

Problem 3

IMPsS A K 9 3WestNorthEastSouth
N-S vulH 5 3LHOIkeRHOYou
D A K 7 63 HDblPass3 NT
C 5 4 2PassPassPass
Table 
Lead: C JEast plays C 8 
 
 
S Q 6 4
H K Q 6 2
D 5 4 2
3 NT SouthC K Q 3

After winning the C Q:

Next PlayAwardVotesPercent
E. Win D A, lead C 4107111
A. Win S A, lead H 389615
B. Win S A, lead C 476911
D. Win D A, lead H 36335
C. Lead the H K48613
F. Duck a diamond328945

You considered passing Ike’s takeout double, but the penalty might not offset a vulnerable game, so you bid the obvious. OK, that’s a lie. You really want to impress Ike with your declarer play so you can get that V.P. job.

To keep with the fall theme, West tries a bicolor defense (bid red, lead black) which is hardly unusual after a preempt, especially with no outside entry, hoping partner can lead his bid suit through declarer.

So what is the club situation? From East’s signal with the C 8, West apparently led from C J-10-9, perhaps with a fourth club; but not a doubleton.* East deduced to withhold the ace, because a preemptor rarely has K-J-10 outside his bid suit, and East probably has enough spade-diamond strength to see declarer is far from nine tricks.

*If West has C J-10 doubleton, East’s C 8 would be a falsecard (C 9 is standard). While possible, I try not to throw curve balls in problem scenarios. What you see is usually what you get. Problems are tough enough without random chicanery. It is possible that West led from C J-9 doubleton (East signaling properly) but far-fetched, as West would usually speculate with the unbid major.

West probably has seven hearts, but a six-card suit is plausible at the vulnerability. Many experts would eschew a weak two-bid for 3 H holding S x H A-J-10-9-x-x D x-x C J-10-9-x; and H J-10-9-8-x-x would not be a surprise for some, but if you ask me under oath I’ll take the Fifth. Assuming a mainstream preempt, a typical layout would be:

IMPsS A K 9 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
N-S vulH 5 31. WC J28Q
D A K 7 62. SS 45A2
C 5 4 23. NC 46K10
S 5 TableS J 10 8 7 24. SC 395A
H A J 10 9 8 7 4H5. EC 7H 2H JD 6
D 10 8D Q J 9 36. ED Q28A
C J 10 9C A 8 7 6continued below…
S Q 6 4
H K Q 6 2
D 5 4 2
3 NT SouthC K Q 3

After winning the C Q you have six top tricks. Two more are readily available (C K and a heart) so it looks you’ll need a 3-3 split in spades or diamonds. Forget that! Odds are overwhelming that East has at least four of each, in which case the third diamond in your hand will be a threat against East, unless you give it away by ducking a diamond (Line F). Therefore, to prepare for a squeeze you must lose tricks only in clubs and hearts.

Suppose you cross to the S A and lead a club (Line B) to your king as East ducks, then exit with a club. (This is safe, even if East held five clubs.) East does best to win and cash his long club, on which you can’t pitch a spade (entry to dummy) or a diamond (threat card) so you let go a heart. East exits safely with the D Q to the ace, leaving this position:

NT win 5 S K 9 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 5 37. NH 3S 7K4!
D K 7Declarer fails
C
S TableS J 10 8 7
H A 10 9 8 7 4H
D 10D J 9 3
CC
S Q 6
H K Q 6
D 5 4
North leadsC

Next comes a heart to the king, ace — you wish, but West cleverly ducks to prevent you from rectifying the count. Even if you duck the heart, win the diamond return and lead a second heart, West can duck that as well to prevent East from being squeezed. Argh! In the old days, people took their tricks; bridge wasn’t supposed to be this tough.

Evidently the fourth club squeezed you. If you had all your hearts (H K-Q-6-2) West could not afford to duck the H K, else he would be stripped and endplayed in hearts (an obvious play). The subtle solution is to cross to dummy with a diamond (Line E) at Trick 2. Then you can pitch a spade on the fourth club to reach:

NT win 5 S A K 9 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H 5 37. NH 3S 2QA
D 78. WS 537Q
C9. SH 6!75D 9
S 5 TableS J 10 8 7 210. WH 8D 7?
H A 10 9 8 7 4HEast is squeezed
DD J 9
CC
S Q 6
H K Q 6 2
D 5
North leadsC

Now when you now lead a heart to the king, West must take his ace (else be stripped and endplayed). Suppose he exits with a spade to your queen. The layout is an open book, so you lead the H 6 (not the H 2!) to West, and the forced heart return squeezes East. Whew!

Second place is a virtual tie among Lines A, B and D, as I couldn’t find a realistic layout where one gained over another; but Lines A and B get the edge because you will see West’s spade play.* (If West were void in spades, a 3-3 diamond break becomes a favorite, and you can change tack.) Proper defense beats all these lines unless West has a spade honor; then East can be thrown in with a diamond to lead away from his lone spade honor into dummy’s tenace. Between Lines A and B, the voting decided.

*Not stated in the problem. but when faced with incomplete information you should assume the ordinary (West follows low). If West showed out or played an honor, I would have to tell you, since it might affect your next play.

Distinctly worse is to lead the H K from hand (Line C), as it pays off big time if West made a trash preempt on H J-10-9-8-7-4, losing to East’s blank ace. Ouch! Many would consider such a bid insane, but strong players often do it because it works. Otherwise, Line C is effectively the same as Lines A, B and D.

After acing the first two problems, the consensus dropped to the basement here by ducking a diamond (Line F) which only works with diamonds 3-3 (a long shot). Not only does it lose the squeeze chance, but you can no longer endplay East when he has a single spade honor (e.g., S J-x-x-x) because a club return establishes a fourth trick for the defense, leaving you booked.

Comments for E. Win D A, lead C 4

Ding-Hwa Hsieh: The C J lead and C 8 signal strongly suggest West has C J-10-9. With a doubleton club, West probably would lead his three-card suit, though he could be 2=7=2=2 with East having C A-10-8-x-x.

Perry Groot: Spades and diamonds are unlikely to break. A squeeze (threats S 3 and D 5) on East may then give the ninth trick. Tricks may be lost in hearts, but first I must cut communication in clubs. Only a diamond entry should be used; because East may return a spade, and spade entries are needed for the endplay.

Dale Freeman: I assume both pointed suits are not breaking (East having 4+ cards in each). Hopefully, opponents will get three clubs and one heart (or two clubs and two hearts), then I can squeeze East.

Franco Chiarugi: East should have H A-J-10-x-x-x-x and C J-10-9. … If East ducks the second club, I will win and play another club… Important thing is not to touch hearts before eliminating clubs…

Imre Csiszar: I assume the lead is from C J-10-9,…as East’s C 8 would be an unlikely falsecard if West held C J-10 doubleton. … Leading the H K [might work] against average opponents but is inferior if East is an expert, as he can discard the C A [if necessary] to prevent a squeeze. [Proper play described]. This will squeeze East if West has a singleton spade; or allow East to be endplayed if West has S J-x or 10-x…

Tim DeLaney: Club plays suggest West has three and East has four. If East ducks the second club, I’ll lead a third club. Whether East cashes his fourth club or not, he will be squeezed later when I play hearts.

Joon Pahk: I hope to cut opponents’ communication, then squeeze East.

Jordi Sabate: I doubt West led from C J-9 doubleton (if C J-10 East would play the nine, or if C J-x East would play the 10); so I will play him for C J-10-9 (if C J-10-x East would play the nine). … If West is 1=7=2=3, I have to play three rounds of clubs immediately, then lose some heart tricks to squeeze East. … If East wins his fourth club, I must be able to pitch a small spade from hand; so I have to begin with a diamond to dummy, not a spade.

Jim Munday: Carding suggests West has C J-10-9. I need to engineer a squeeze [against East], but once again have to break communication. A premature heart play is fatal, since West will have a club entry. I must cross in diamonds,…as I need to keep both low spades in hand. I will win the C K and play another; then I can pitch a spade on the fourth club (hoping West began with only one) and rectify the count in hearts. I need to keep four hearts, in case West ducks the first…

Jonathan Mestel: Looks as though West has C J-10-9. I will clear clubs, then “Deep in December our hearts should remember” ducking as necessary to squeeze East.

Steve White: Planning to squeeze East in spades and diamonds, which may be a strip squeeze if West has S J-x or 10-x…

Lajos Linczmayer: West seems to have seven hearts and C J-10-9. If he has two diamonds, I must squeeze East in spades and diamonds. If West has one diamond and S J-x or 10-x, I can play a throw-in against East. I’ll play a third round of clubs; and if East cashes his last club, I’ll pitch a spade. If he leads a spade, I will win the queen, and I must guess West’s shape.

Bruce Neill: If West has seven hearts and C J-10-9, I aim to squeeze East. Plan is to cut communication in clubs before knocking out the H A. I cross in diamonds (not spades) to keep a spade discard available if East cashes the fourth club.

Jerry Fink: A key entry I must protect in the early going is the S Q; East cannot effectively attack spades without giving me a squeeze throw-in. … If West is 2=7=1=3, I have to hope he has S J-x or 10-x.

John Auld: Main plan is to squeeze East after losing a few tricks,…but there are lots of variations.

Charles Blair: I think West should be 1=7=2=3. (Famous last words.)

John Lusky: Goal is to squeeze East in spades and diamonds. Playing a heart early allows East to jettison the C A to prevent me from rectifying the count,…so I need to play clubs before hearts. (Many of the lines work if West has a spade honor, so East can be strip-squeezed.) Line E is better than Line B, because I will need to pitch a spade from hand on the fourth club, which I could not afford if I had led a spade already. If I pitch a heart, West can duck the first heart to stop me from rectifying the count; but if I keep all my hearts, he can’t do this without surrendering a second heart trick…

Leif-Erik Stabell: I hope East has a hand like S J-10-x-x-x HD Q-10-9-x C A-8-x-x. Line B doesn’t quite work, since I will have to discard a small spade on the fourth club to be able to squeeze East.

David Kenward: Starting my Vienna coup at trick two.

Douglas Dunn: I aim to squeeze East in spades and diamonds, but it’s not easy to rectify the count…

Julian Wightwick: If I believe the C 8, West probably has C J-10-9 or J-10-9-x. I plan to squeeze East in spades and diamonds using the D 5 threat. The early club play is to break communication between the defenders; if East ducks, I’ll lead another club. Later, I will cross to the D K and lead hearts appropriately to rectify the count. …

Thibault Wolf: Idea is to develop a spade-diamond squeeze against East.

David Brooks: I need to know how many clubs I will lose before conceding hearts to West.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this West hand: S x H A-J-10-9-8-7-4 D x-x C J-10-9. According to opponents’ play, I can either endplay West in hearts, or squeeze East in the pointed suits.

Mark Chen: Playing West for S x H A-J-10-9-x-x-x D x-x C J-10-9. I need to give East two clubs, and later make West win two hearts;…then East will be squeezed in spades and diamonds. If West does not take his H A on the first heart, he can be stripped of exit cards and thrown in with a heart…

Carsten Kofoed: After I disrupt opponents’ connection, West can choose my road to nine tricks by a squeeze or an endplay. If East cashes the 13th club, I will discard a spade…

Dean Pokorny: I’ll try to [squeeze] or endplay East for my ninth trick, which may require some guesswork. …

Amiram Millet: If West had led a spade or diamond with S x H A-J-10-x-x-x-x D J-x C J-10-9, I go down.

If a holding looks too good to be true, it probably is. Assume a setup, and lead something else!

Problem 4

IMPsS A 6 4 3WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH A 7 5 2LHOIkeRHOYou
D 10PassPass
C A K Q 21 DDblPass1 S
Table Pass3 SPass4 S
Lead: S QEast plays S 2 PassPassPass
 
 
S K 7 5
H 8 6
D A 8 6 3 2
4 S SouthC 6 4 3

PlayAwardVotesPercent
D. Win S A, C A-K, lead H 21015324
A. Win S A, lead H 2716125
C. Win S A, D A, ruff diamond, lead H 2612219
E. Win S K, D A, ruff diamond56210
F. Win S K, C A-K, lead H 2411117
B. Win S A, D A, ruff diamond, win S K2355

Many will disapprove of the bidding, but you wanted to give Ike an eye-opener. Anyone could make 4 S with a four-card suit, but when Ike sees you did it with three, that V.P. job will be a cinch. Good-bye, Tricky Dicky!

Seriously, I like the 1 S bid, as the ruffing value in hearts will benefit suit play vs. notrump, and a singleton diamond with partner is likely. This logic is justified, as 3 NT requires both black suits to split 3-3, while 4 S may come home with just one split.

West seems to be aware of your slippery tactics, as he attacks full throttle in trumps. Your best chance is to combine your seven top tricks with three ruffs (two diamonds in dummy, one heart in hand) which is easy with clubs 3-3 and a 4-3 split in each red suit. For instance, if West is 3=3=4=3, all you have to do is give up a heart, then a second trump won’t stop you from taking 10 tricks.

Even in the good old days, things were not that easy. You can reminisce all you want about kinder and gentler times, but it won’t help with suit breaks. Consider a more likely layout with clubs 4-2:

IMPsS A 6 4 3TrickLead2nd3rd4th
None vulH A 7 5 21. WS QA25
D 102. NH 2?J63
C A K Q 23. ES 8K103
S Q J 10 TableS 9 8 24. SC 37A5
H K Q 9 3H J 10 45. NC K84J
D K J 9 4D Q 7 56. ND 10QA4
C J 7C 10 9 8 57. SD 29S 45
S K 7 58. NH A489
H 8 69. NH 510S 7Q
D A 8 6 3 210. SD 3JS 67
4 S SouthC 6 4 3Declarer fails

Suppose you win the S A and duck a heart (Line A) won by East who returns a trump to your king. You can easily score three ruffs and two clubs (in any order) but cannot enjoy a third club due to West’s doubleton. Down one. Note that if you led a club toward dummy at Trick 7, West would not ruff but pitch a diamond; then you will win three clubs but lack the entries for two diamond ruffs. Same result.

To overcome the above hang-up, you must cash two clubs before ducking a heart (Line D). When you next win the S K, a third club leaves West with no answer. If he discards, you will grab the trick and crossruff (diamonds first). If he ruffs, he cannot stop your crossruff, and the top club wins later. Line D is a standout, as it works against virtually any layout where success is possible.

Lines A, C, E and F are equivalent as far as making 4 S, each needing clubs 3-3 and red suits 4-3, but not in the matter of undertricks. Second place goes to Line A, as conceding a heart early will be down only one barring fluke shapes. Lines C and E fail by two tricks when West has five diamonds (tie broken by voting); and Line F fares even worse, also going down two when West has four spades.

Worst of all is Line B, which works only with both black suits 3-3 (red suits 4-3) and then in a strange way. You cannot afford to give up a heart after winning S A-K, but four rounds of clubs allows a heart pitch; whoever ruffs cannot remove your trump, so you get a heart ruff after all. Like double fives in craps, 10 the hard way!

Comments for D. Win S A, C A-K, lead H 2

Perry Groot: Somehow, clubs need to bring in three tricks. Leading the third round from hand caters for a doubleton with West.

Dale Freeman: I think spades must be 3-3, and clubs 3-3 or a doubleton with West. [When I reach my hand], I will lead a club toward dummy. Hopefully, I will score two high spades, three ruffs, three clubs and two red aces.

Franco Chiarugi: To have any hope, I have to find either spades or clubs 3-3; thus, West can have four spades with three clubs, or three spades with 2-3 clubs. Line D maintains all possibilities and preserves necessary entries… In all cases, I will win S A-K, two diamond ruffs, one heart ruff, C A-K-Q and the H A.

Imre Csiszar: Almost anything works if West is 3=3=4=3. This also works when West is 3=4=4=2, enabling me to win seven high cards and three ruffs.

Tim DeLaney: The only way to make 10 tricks is to ruff a heart and [two diamonds]. I cash two clubs to guard against 3=4=4=2 shape in West; when in hand with the S K, I lead a third club, and West cannot gain by ruffing air.

Joon Pahk: I’m hoping to elope with five trump tricks and five side-suit tops. Cashing two clubs now will clear the decks, so I can lead toward the C Q next time in hand.

Jordi Sabate: I need spades to break 3-3, and there will be no problem if clubs also break 3-3; but I can protect myself against a doubleton club in West with Line D, then playing a club from hand when winning the S K.

Jim Munday: My only chance is to take [my top tricks] and three ruffs (conceivable with both red suits 4-3). Initially, it appears I need clubs 3-3; but if West has a doubleton, I can arrange to lead the third club from hand, leaving him without recourse. I must win the first trick in dummy to preserve entries to my hand…

Jonathan Mestel: This will sometimes gain when West has a doubleton club.

Steve White: Planning to score two high spades, two red aces, two diamond ruffs, one heart ruff and three clubs — requiring clubs 3-3 or West to be 3=4=4=2.

Lajos Linczmayer: I plan to win seven top tricks and three ruffing tricks, succeeding if West is 2=4=4=3, 3=3=4=3 or 3=4=4=2. In the last case I need to protect the C Q.

Bruce Neill: Easy!? Seven top tricks and three ruffs. Before crossruffing, I must lead the third club from hand, in case West is 3=4=4=2.

Jerry Fink: I have just enough entries — if I time them accurately — to come to 10 tricks if West is 3=4=4=2 (likely). When in hand with the S K, I must be prepared to “finesse” dummy’s C Q right then. Later I will use the D A and heart ruff to score two diamond ruffs in dummy.

John Auld: If clubs don’t break 3-3, I can still succeed if West is 3=4=4=2.

Charles Blair: “When you can elope, there is hope.” -Geza Ottlik.

John Lusky: Only this line works against 3=4=4=2 and 3=3=4=3 shape with West. I will win a spade return and lead a club.

Roger Morton: Tough call! I’ll win the trump return and play a third club before crossruffing, hoping clubs are 3-3 or West is short.

Leif-Erik Stabell: I hope to make seven top tricks and three ruffs, e.g., when West has S Q-J-10 H K-Q-x-x D K-Q-x-x C x-x.

David Kenward: I’ll win the next trump, and lead toward the C Q. If it wins (or West ruffs with his last trump), I can then ruff two diamonds and a heart for 10 tricks.

Neelotpal Sahai: Play requires luck (suits to break) not inspiration. …

Not as I see it… Good breaks bring inspiration. Bad breaks bring perspiration.

John Reardon: I hope West is 3=4=4=2.

Rob Stevens: If spades are 3-3, I can elope with five trump tricks. To avoid a club winner being ruffed, I must lead the third round toward dummy, so West can only ruff air.

Douglas Dunn: Looks like clubs have to break 3-3, but leading the third club toward dummy allows the extra chance that West has three spades and two clubs. (If West ruffs, East will have to follow to the C Q later.)

Julian Wightwick: If a second trump is led, I will win and lead up to the C Q, then take my red-suit ruffs. If West can ruff the third club, I hope he has only three trumps so he cannot lead another one; the C Q will cash later.

Toby Kenney: My main hope is a 3-3 club break; then with reasonable splits in the red suits, I can make [three ruffs]. This line also succeeds when West is 3=4=4=2.

Thibault Wolf: To be able to lead the third round of clubs from hand, in case West has a doubleton.

Gabor Lippner: Playing for either 3-3 clubs (when there is not much problem), or West having two clubs and at most three trumps. In the latter case, I must lead the third club from hand…

Sebastien Louveaux: Opponents will play back a trump, then I play a club. This works when West has a doubleton club (spades 3-3); either the C Q scores immediately, or West will be out of trumps if he ruffs (and the C Q scores later). Either way, I will score all my little trumps as well.

Thijs Veugen: This wins when West is 4=3=3=3, 3=3=4=3 or 3=4=4=2.

Paulino Correa: Actually I need a small miracle, not inspiration, to make three ruffs besides my seven top cards. If West is 3=3=4=3,…I’ll [make] easily; but if he has a more probably distribution, say, S Q-J-10 H Q-J-x-x D K-Q-J-x C x-x, I can still succeed by protecting the C Q from a ruff. [Play described].

Rainer Herrmann: Best chance seems to be to play West for 3=3=4=3, 2=4=4=3 or 3=4=4=2, the last requiring Line D.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible West hand: S Q-J-10 H K-J-x-x D K-Q-x-x C x-x. Whether or not West ruffs the third club, I will win the C Q…and crossruff for 10 tricks.

N. Scott Cardell: … With 3-3 in the minors, West would open his stronger minor (1 D), so he could be 4=3=3=3, 3=4=3=3 or 3=3=4=3. In each case I can score two high trumps, three ruffs and five side-suit tops with any play but Line B. Line D is best, as it also succeeds when West is 3=4=4=2. [Play described]. If West is 4=3=4=2 (a bit less likely than 3=4=4=2), I am down two…

Carsten Kofoed: Keeps control and households with my entrances. …

Sounds like the bridge version of “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” -John 14:2

Dean Pokorny: Supposing West has S Q-J-10 H K-J-x-x D K-J-x-x C J-x, my goal is to play the third club from hand. Therefore, I have to win in dummy and cash C A-K before ducking a heart. I win the trump return and play a club.

Junyi Zhu: … This caters for West having a doubleton club (3=4=4=2)… [After a third club toward dummy], I can win three small trumps by ruffing red suits.

Amiram Millet: If West has S Q-J-10 H K-J-x-x D K-J-x-x C J-x, only an original diamond lead would sink the contract.

Problem 5

IMPsS A 9 8 5 2WestNorthEastSouth
E-W vulH K 2LHOIkeRHOYou
D K 10 51 C
C 9 7 5Pass1 SPass2 H
Table Pass3 CPass3 D
Lead: S KEast plays S 3 Pass6 CAll Pass
 
 
S 7
H A 10 6 3
D A 8 6
6 C SouthC A K 8 6 4

After winning the S A:

Next PlayAwardVotesPercent
A. Ruff spade, win H K, ruff spade1018829
C. Ruff spade, win C A, H K, ruff spade99515
E. Win H K, H A, ruff heart812519
B. Ruff spade, win H K, H A, ruff heart510616
D. Ruff spade, win C A, H K, H A, ruff heart36510
F. Win C A, H K, H A, ruff heart26510

Someone once said that bridge is a game of aces and kings, and you and Ike are out to prove it. After your borderline reverse, Ike’s preference to 3 C was forcing (a popular treatment) after which he seems to have fallen in love with his hand. No, the former Supreme Allied Commander was just putting you to the supreme test: Make this and you’ve almost got the job! Oh well; you’ve been in slams with zero chance, and this one must be a tad better.

Assuming 3-2 trumps, you have nine top tricks. Two additional tricks may come from heart ruffs, as an overruff (or fore-ruff) will not matter if that hand has three trumps. Alas, that’s still only 11 tricks barring a miracle*, so you may need to establish dummy’s long spade (assuming a 4-3 split) which requires three ruffs and may tap yourself out of control. Ugh, things are looking bleak.

*If the player with three trumps held H Q-J-x, you could pitch a diamond on the good H 10, then ruff a diamond for a 12th trick.

But wait! If you combine spade ruffs and heart ruffs, you may reach a position where you can elope with 12 tricks if the defense prevents you from establishing spades. Certainly this requires luck, but the card gods may deliver, and you really want to impress Ike. Consider this friendly layout:

IMPsS A 9 8 5 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
E-W vulH K 21. WS KA37
D K 10 52. NS 24C 46
C 9 7 53. SH 35K4
S K Q 10 6 TableS J 4 34. NS 5JC 6Q
H J 7 5H Q 9 8 45. SH A728
D Q 3 2D J 9 7 46. SH 6JC 59
C Q 10 2C J 3continued below…
S 7
H A 10 6 3
D A 8 6
6 C SouthC A K 8 6 4

Suppose you start with a spade ruff, H K and another spade ruff (Line A) then continue with H A and a heart ruff to reach:

C win 6 S 9 8TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H7. NS 9C J!
D K 10 5Declarer fails
C 9 7
S 10 TableS
HH Q
D Q 3 2D J 9 7 4
C Q 10 2C J 3
S
H 10
D A 8 6
North leadsC A K 8

Alas, a dead end. If you lead another spade, you get fatally uppercut by the C J. If you come to hand with a trump or diamond to lead a heart, West can ruff with the C 10 and deliver the same uppercut. To succeed you needed to play three rounds of hearts first (Line E) then a spade ruff in hand to reach this position:

C win 7 S 9 8 5TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H6. SH 10D 2C 7Q
D K 10 57. NS 5JC 610
C 9 78. SC A293
S Q 10 TableS J9. SC K10S 8J
HH Q10. SD A354
D Q 3 2D J 9 7 411. SD 6QK7
C Q 10 2C J 312. NS 9D 9C 8Q
SDeclarer succeeds
H 10
D A 8 6
South leadsC A K 8 6

When you lead your last heart, West has no answer. If he ruffs, you will pitch a diamond then ruff your losing diamond in dummy. If he pitches a diamond, you will ruff the heart, ruff a spade, cash C A-K, D A-K, and ruff a spade for your 12th trick. If he pitches a spade, of course, dummy’s suit sets up to make it easy.

One friendly layout is hardly conclusive. Suppose the club and heart lengths were reversed, as in the following deal:

IMPsS A 9 8 5 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
E-W vulH K 21. WS KA37
D K 10 52. NS 24C 46
C 9 7 53. SH 35K4
S K Q 10 6 TableS J 4 34. NS 5JC 6Q
H J 9 7 5H Q 8 45. SH A728
D Q 3 2D J 9 7 46. SH 6JC 5Q
C 10 2C Q J 3continued below…
S 7
H A 10 6 3
D A 8 6
6 C SouthC A K 8 6 4

Assume you ruff spades first (Line A) which failed before. Now the position is:

C win 6 S 9 8TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H7. NS 8D 4C 810
D K 10 58. SH 10QC 7C 10
C 9 79. ED 7A25
S 10 TableS10. SC A293
H QH11. SC KQD 10J
D Q 3 2D J 9 7 4Declarer succeeds
C Q 2C J 10 3
S
H 10
D A 8 6
North leadsC A K 8

When you lead a spade, East has no answer. Ruffing makes it easy (pitch a red card). If he pitches a diamond, ruff low and ruff your last heart in dummy; whether East overruffs or pitches, he gets only one trump trick. Line A now works! If you follow Line E, which worked before, you arrive at this position:

C win 7 S 9 8 5TrickLead2nd3rd4th
H6. SH 10QC 7C J
D K 10 5Declarer fails
C 9 7
S Q 10 TableS J
H QH
D Q 3 2D J 9 7 4
C Q 2C J 10 3
S
H 10
D A 8 6
South leadsC A K 8 6

When West follows to your heart lead, the situation is hopeless. East can overruff and return any card but the D J. Line E now fails.

So far we have a dead heat, as the chance of West:East being 4=3=3=3:3=4=4=2 vs. 4=4=3=2:3=3=4=3 is identical. As usual in close cases that defy calculation, I ran a 1000-deal simulation to compare the six lines. Alas, this was inconclusive with the need to separate double-dummy continuations from logical ones complicated by the various magic holdings in hearts, diamonds and clubs.

Therefore, I examined several hundred random layouts by hand. About the time my mind started to change colors like the autumn leaves, it became apparent that Line A was best. Of course, you say; all I had to do was look at the voting! Sure… May I refer you to Problem 3? Second place goes to Line C, which is almost as good; cashing the C A costs when East is 4=4=3=2 with C Q-J, Q-10 or J-10.

Line E must settle for a close third, as it loses to Line A in the above case, as well as a few rare others. Further, Line E is more likely to go down two than Lines A and C. Even assuming the opposing team will be in game and never slam, down two loses 11 IMPs; down one, 10. Indeed, my partners consider themselves fortunate when my bidding loses only 10 IMPs.

A distant fourth goes to ruffing a spade and leading three rounds of hearts (Line B). This might seem like a compromise between Lines A and E, but in fact it loses the advantage of either in common layouts. For instance, if West is 4=4=3=2, it requires that he has D Q-J-x for an eventual squeeze. Also, if West is 4=3=3=3, he must have cH-3-2 to avert a damaging uppercut.

Line D is similar to the hybrid Line B, but cashing the C A early reduces chances further. For instance, if a defender has H Q-J-x and three trumps, he can ruff the good H 10 and return a trump to prevent a diamond ruff in dummy.

Worst of all is Line F. This seems just a slight variation of Line E, but cashing the C A loses its main advantage: If West has three hearts and three clubs, he can ruff the fourth heart high in front of dummy and return a trump, killing your diamond ruff.

Historical note: The N-S hands occurred in the 1983 Vanderbilt. Bill Root, South, did not consider his hand worth a reverse and rebid 2 C; I offered 2 NT and played a mundane 3 NT winning 10 tricks. When asked about his conservative choice, Bill noted, “I always like to have extras playing with Richard.” It is curious how age affects bidding habits. Now that I’ve matured, I find myself thinking the same way when playing with younger partners.

Comments for A. Ruff spade, win H K, ruff spade

Ding-Hwa Hsieh: If West is 4=3=3=3, Line E works; if he is 4=4=3=2, Lines A and C work. A tiebreaker: If West has S K-Q-J-x H x-x-x-x D J-x C Q-10-x, Line E fails, but Lines A and C work.* Comparing Lines A and C: If West has a singleton club honor, Line C can direct declarer to winning play after dropping the honor; however, if East is 3=2=5=3 with one club honor, Line A is better.

*True, in a sense, but it shows the labyrinthian nature of this problem. To succeed against the above hand with Line A or C, declarer must play differently than required when West is 4=4=3=2. Hence, there’s no gain without losing back to the main case. Legitimate tiebreakers were hard to find. -RP

Perry Groot: This wins, e.g., if East is 3=3=4=3; but so would Line C.

Dale Freeman: Continuing with the H A, heart ruff, spade ruff, and try to ruff the fourth heart. If East is 3=3=4=3, or if West is 3=3=4=3 with only one club honor, I think all goes well. Cashing the C A (as in Line C) allows West in the second case to overruff and lead a trump to stop the second heart ruff.

Franco Chiarugi: I have to play for 3-2 trumps, with three in the hand with three spades (East from the first play) and three hearts; thus, East 3=3=4=3. Any ruff by East on the fourth spade allows me to discard my last heart; then eliminate trumps and discard my diamond loser on the fifth spade. If East discards on the fourth spade, I then ruff my last heart…

Imre Csiszar: This wins if East is 3=3=4=3, and some other unlikely cases — a meager chance for slam, but I see nothing better.

Tim DeLaney: This wins more often than other lines (Line C is almost as good) but fails if West has S K-Q-J-x H J-x-x D Q-x-x C J-3-2, or similar — [unless] I could read the position after trick six. Line E works [anytime] West is 4=3=3=3…

Joon Pahk: Looks like I’m going to need to score a bunch of my low trumps, so I’ll start by ruffing some spades.

Jordi Sabate: Maybe West chose to lead spades with K-Q-J alone, but it’s dangerous to lead dummy’s suit without length. If he has five or more spades, I don’t think there’s a winning line, so I’ll play him for four (possibly K-Q-J-x). I also need other suits to break friendly. … This works when West is 4=4=3=2, no matter what honors he holds.

Jim Munday: A complex layout. A number of lines will succeed, depending on opponents’ distribution. Trick one suggests West has four spades. I need to elope with my small trumps, while using dummy’s long spade as a potential threat. I will next play the H A and ruff a heart, and continuation will depend on who I think has the fourth heart (I will play for split honors). This succeeds if West is 4=4=3=2, and sometimes against 4=3=5=1 and 4=3=3=3. Cashing an early round of trumps is necessary against 4=3=5=1 [with club honor] but fatal against 4=3=3=3…

Steve White: I need to find one opponent 3=3=4=3, so an overruff [or fore-ruff] costs his natural trump trick. … If East ruffs the fourth spade in front of me, I will pitch my last heart. If West overruffs the fourth spade, I am in trouble (unless he has cH-3-2); but West…is more likely to have the long spade.

Toby Kenney: This works if East is 3=3=4=3.

Gabor Lippner: I want to establish the fifth spade, so I need all of dummy’s entries.

Rob Wijman: An elopement is possible if spades and hearts break 4-3…

Mark Chen: I may need West to be 4=3=3=3 with C Q-J-10, or East to err by not ruffing the fourth spade high.

Jacques Cloutier: I think I need to [ruff] spades to come to 12 tricks; as even if I ruff both hearts, I still have a club and diamond loser. … [I will continue] with the H A, heart ruff, and a fourth spade…

Bill Daly: I think I have to hope West has exactly four spades. In any case, playing to ruff hearts early will leave me with a trick to lose in each minor.

J.J. Gass: Only a better declarer than I would have had the courage to reverse. A maxim for intermediate players like me: When faced with a choice between overbidding and underbidding, consider who is more likely to screw up the play — you or the possibly even more pathetic defenders.

Bineet Jha: Cashing the C A before ruffing hearts [might] jeopardize the only chance to make the contract, as West with three trumps and [shorter] hearts could ruff high and return a trump. …

Nick Kravitz: A problem in trump elopement and timing. I would try to ruff [three] spades; but if overruffed, retain the option to ruff two hearts. Therefore, I won’t touch clubs yet, in case the overruffer returns a trump.

Kevin Lane: Hoping, reasonably, for 4-3 spades and 3-2 clubs. I’ll attempt to set up the fifth spade, but of course it’s not that easy. West may be 4-3 in the majors with cH-3-2, in which case I can elope with my low trumps; or I may need a red-suit squeeze.

Javier Carbonero: Another miracle — a bigger one. I need to win a spade (besides the ace) or a second heart ruff; so I’ll ruff spades in hand, then hearts, hoping a ruff by the defense will leave the remaining trumps 2-2.

Comments for C. Ruff spade, win C A, H K, ruff spade

Jonathan Mestel: If West has a stiff club honor, I can still make if East has four hearts. Otherwise, I play normally.

David Brooks: Hopefully, the fourth spade will squeeze East in three suits.

John S. Robson: The key seems to be to get my diamond and club losers played together. How best to do this? I’ll play West for four spades, and East for three clubs. I still need…some luck!

Harry Elliott: … Besides our aces and kings, the H 10 and D 10 improve chances. I hope West has four spades, D Q-J-x and three clubs. I will [draw a second trump and ruff a heart] then ruff another spade in hand. When I lead a diamond toward dummy, West must split his honors; then my 12th trick will be the fifth spade, or an endplay if West ruffs.

Comments for E. Win H K, H A, ruff heart

Lajos Linczmayer: If West is 4=3=3=3, I can win seven top tricks and five ruffs. If West ruffs high on the fourth heart, I pitch a diamond.

Bruce Neill: Major miracle needed. I hope West is 4=3=3=3, [which allows] no effective defense when I try to ruff the fourth heart. A spade discard lets me establish spades; a diamond lets me elope with five ruffs; and a ruff lets me throw a diamond and later ruff a diamond.

Jerry Fink: Idea is to collect two ruffs in dummy, and three ruffs in hand, hoping West is 4=3=3=3. [Play described].

John Auld: If West is 4=3=3=3, he can’t profitably ruff the fourth heart. With care, I can scramble five ruffs…

Charles Blair: If West is 4=3=3=3, he will sense himself being squeezed in spades — Jane Austen and Geza Ottlik in one problem.

John Lusky: This works against West hands like S K-Q-J-x H J-x-x D Q-x-x C J-10-x. … and also against S K-Q-J-x H x-x-x-x D Q-x-x C J-x. Line A seems next best, as it works against hands like S K-Q-J-x H J-x-x-x D Q-x-x C J-x…

Leif-Erik Stabell: … Lines A and C work when West is 4=4=3=2; and [Line A] against 3=3=4=3 with only one club honor. This works when West is 4=3=3=3; or against 5=3=3=2 with zero or two clubs honors, which looks slightly better…

David Kenward: I will continue with a spade ruff and the last heart, playing for West to be 4=3=3=3. If West ruffs high, I can eventually ruff a diamond in dummy; otherwise, I can elope with all my trumps in hand. If West is 4=4=3=2 (same number of hands as 4=3=3=3), Lines A and C make; but on some of those hands, West would have a first-round double.

Neelotpal Sahai: Again I need favorable breaks (four spades with West) to be able to ruff in both the hands; and I need the opponent with three clubs to have shorter hearts. Lines A and C succeed if West is 4=4=3=2, but only this succeeds if West is 4=3=3=3. I’ll select Line E because it’s unique.

John Reardon: I need a little luck, but this gives me a fair chance to avoid a trump promotion.

Rob Stevens: I need clubs 3-2, with East holding the longer hearts. If I ruff two spades before the fourth heart, West with 4=3=3=3 and cH-H-x (6 of 10 cases) will be able to ruff ahead of dummy and lead his last spade for an uppercut. …

Paulino Correa: I need another small miracle. Consider West with S K-Q-J-10 H J-x-x D J-x-x C Q-J-2 — nothing preposterous, reasonably acceptable. Attempting a second heart ruff will either succeed or force a trump honor from West. …

Rainer Herrmann: Should I play West for 4=3=3=3 or 4=4=3=2 distribution? Playing for 4=3=3=3 gives the additional chance [against 4=4=3=2 or 3=4=4=2] that East has H Q-J-x.

Manuel Paulo: Consider this possible West hand: S K-Q-J-x H x-x-x D x-x-x C Q-10-x. At trick five, I ruff a spade then lead the H 10. [Play described].

David Grainger: Maybe West will be 4=3=3=3, so I can ruff both hearts and score small trumps in hand by ruffing spades. …

Bill Powell: Then a spade ruff and another heart, making when West is 4=3=3=3.

Brad Theurer: Besides the remote chances that West is 3=4=3=3 with C Q-J-10, or East 4=3=3=3 with C Q-J-10, it seems best to play West for 4=3=3=3 where honors and spots are irrelevant. I ruff hearts early to avoid an uppercut in spades.

Problem 6

IMPsS Q J 2WestNorthEastSouth
Both vulH A J 10 9 7LHOIkeRHOYou
D A1 HPass1 S
C A J 10 4Pass3 CPass3 D
Table Pass4 SPass4 NT
Lead: S 7East plays S 3 Pass5 SPass6 S
 All Pass
 
S A K 10 9 8
H 8 5
D K 7 4
6 S SouthC Q 5 2

After winning the S 10:

Next PlayAwardVotesPercent
C. Win D A, lead C J1017026
A. Finesse the H J812019
E. Run the C Q69915
F. Finesse the C J59415
B. Win D A, S A, ruff diamond49915
D. Win D A, lead C 436210

A sound auction with regular Blackwood (RKC was unknown) reaches an excellent slam, indeed a virtual claimer compared to Problem 5. Unfortunately, Ike’s three-suited description of dummy inspired a trump lead, which is annoying. (After a diamond lead you would have a nearly sure-trick line: Cross to the S 10, ruff a diamond, overtake the S Q, draw trumps and play clubs.) Now it’s not so easy. So what did you expect? Christmas in September?

Trying to ruff your diamond directly (Line B) is not a good idea, as it leaves you stranded in dummy with at least one trump out. At this point you must guess who has the C K: If West, cash the H A and exit with a heart, eventually finessing clubs; if East, lead a low club to the queen. If you guess wrong, you’re down (barring a miracle) so it’s about even money. Certainly, you can improve on this.

Suppose you take an immediate club finesse (Line F). Alas, if it loses and a trump comes back, you’re in dire straits. Unless the opponent with longer trumps has four clubs, you can’t enjoy the fourth club for a heart pitch and ruff your diamond.

What about establishing hearts (Line A) with finesses? This looks promising after West’s trump lead, which is often based on strength in dummy’s long suit; but it’s awkward. Suppose the first heart finesse loses and a trump comes back, taken in hand; then a second finesse wins. All is fine if hearts are 3-3; but if West has H K-x-x-x or Q-x-x-x, you can’t establish hearts and ruff your diamond, so you’ll need the club finesse as well. Consider such a layout:

IMPsS Q J 2TrickLead2nd3rd4th
Both vulH A J 10 9 71. WS 72310
D A2. SD 4!3A2
C A J 10 43. NC J!6!27
S 7 6 5 TableS 4 34. NS J4A5
H K 6 4 2H Q 35. SH 5!2JQ
D Q 10 6 3D J 9 8 5 26. ED 5K6C 4
C 8 7C K 9 6 37. SH 84A!3
S A K 10 9 88. NH 7D 8S 86
H 8 59. SD 710S Q9
D K 7 410. NH 9C 3S 9K
6 S SouthC Q 5 211. SS K6C 10C 9

After considering the shortfall of immediate finesses, you must look elsewhere. If leaves can change color, so can you. The smart move is to unblock the D A and lead the C J from dummy (Line C). If East takes this it’s over; you have entries to ruff your diamond, draw trumps and enjoy the fourth club for a heart pitch. If East ducks (best) you change tack: Return to hand in trumps and take a heart finesse. All East can do is return a diamond*, and with trumps 3-2 you don’t even need the second heart finesse; simply establish the fifth heart.

*If East had another trump and returned it, you should win in hand and finesse hearts again. When it works, the rest is easy.

Second place goes to the immediate heart finesse (Line A) presumably intending to finesse again. This has many winning parlays: H K-Q onside, honor-doubleton or tripleton onside, or honor-fourth onside with the C K. Even considering that West rates to have a heart honor from his lead, failure in the diagram (arguably the most common distribution) makes this clearly inferior to Line C.

Other plays essentially need to guess the location of the C K, with slim extra chances. Finessing clubs immediately (Line E or F) needs the C K with West; winning the D A and leading the C 4 (Line D) needs the C K with East; and ruffing a diamond as soon as possible (Line B) allows you to play either opponent for the C K as described, but you must decide which. Considering the trump lead, West is more likely to have the C K, so third and fourth place go to Lines E and F (tie broken by voting).

Fifth place is a close call. An early diamond ruff (Line B) allows you to play West for the C K with virtually no risk of a ruff, but there is no extra chance. Crossing to the D A and leading a low club (Line D) hopes East has the C K; but if West has it, there is a slim extra chance. Rather than spend time ranking two poor plays, the voting order will do fine.

Problems 5 and 6 have a rare similarity: The consensus aced both problems, and each option drew a double-digit percent. Evidently we all win; me for posing good bluffs, and you for seeing through them. But then, maybe we all lose with “Gee Dubya” in office. I like Ike!

Comments for C. Win D A, lead C J

Ding-Hwa Hsieh: If the C J wins, I will [return to hand] in trumps and try to set up hearts…

Perry Groot: If an opponent wins the C K, I have two entries to ruff a diamond [and draw trumps]. …

Dale Freeman: If an opponent takes this trick, I will make (barring a club ruff). … If not, I’ll play a trump to hand and a heart to the jack. East probably in, cannot lead a club or a heart and may not have a trump. …

Franco Chiarugi: If West or East wins the C K, everything will be easy,…so best defense is to duck. Then I will play a spade to the ace and finesse the H J.

Imre Csiszar: This will almost surely win against average opponents, and also looks best against experts who will know to duck. If the C J holds, I can double-finesse hearts; and with a club trick in the bag, chances are much better than with Line A.

Tim DeLaney: If this loses to the C K, I will have entries to ruff a diamond, provided clubs are 4-2 or 3-3. If the C J wins, I will pull trumps and finesse the H J.

Joon Pahk: It will be tough for the opponent with the C K to duck this; and he can’t beat me by winning unless clubs are 5-1. If the C J wins, I will pull trumps and play on hearts for three tricks with good chances.

Jordi Sabate: … If the C J loses to the king, I will succeed if clubs are no worse than 4-2. If it wins, I’m almost sure the defender with the C K will think for a while. If East thinks and ducks, I will overtake with the C Q and play a heart to the H J, winning if hearts are no worse than 4-2 (and trumps 3-2). If West thinks and ducks, I will play the H J (same result). …

And if neither opponent thinks, make them both submit to a polygraph test.

Jim Munday: After this trump lead, I will “try to remember” to keep West off lead in the future. Lines E and F are doomed when the C K is offside; and Line D will fail with the C K onside. Line A will succeed when hearts can be brought in for four tricks; or if the C K is onside when hearts don’t come in but the second heart finesse wins. This is better, requiring only three heart tricks when the C J holds (else I have an easy time barring a 5-1 club split);…then I would play a spade to hand and finesse the H J.

Jonathan Mestel: If this is ducked, I will surely know by whom and have many chances; whereas, if the C Q loses as in Line D, I’m sunk.

Lajos Linczmayer: I suppose trumps are 3-2, or West has four. If the C K is taken (I think West will), I make the contract unless clubs are 5-1. If the C J holds, I have 10 winners, and chances are improved. I play a trump to hand and finesse the H J. If East has, e.g., S 4-3 H Q-x D Q-10-x-x-x C K-x-x-x, I will be able to ruff a diamond and establish hearts.

Bruce Neill: If an opponent takes the C K, I’m looking good. If both opponents duck smoothly, I’m out of my class. :) …

Jerry Fink: A close calculation. This maintains all the favorable heart-suit options, provided clubs break 3-3 or 4-2 (or a singleton C K with one or two spades) — about 85 percent of the time. The gain occurs when West has H K-x-x-x or H Q-x-x-x, and East has the C K (or West has H K-x-x-x-x or Q-x-x-x-x and the C K).

Charles Blair: If the C J wins, I will overtake a spade and finesse in hearts.

John Lusky: If an opponent grabs the C K, I will make against normal splits by ruffing a diamond in dummy. If the C J holds, I will play a spade to hand and play hearts, with improved chances over Line A because I need [one less] heart trick…

Roger Morton: This ensures 12 tricks if the C K is taken and clubs behave. If the C J holds, I’ll guess who was the astute defender and think again.

John Reardon: Combining chances. If the C J holds, I will cross with a spade and take a heart finesse.

Rob Stevens: Unless clubs are 5-1 or 6-0, the opponent with the C K will have to duck. Then I will just draw trumps and take my best shot in hearts by taking two finesses.

Douglas Dunn: If the C J holds, I will pull trumps and rely on split honors in hearts to establish two discards. If the C J loses to the king, I have an entry back to hand after ruffing a diamond.

Julian Wightwick: If opponents manage to duck the C J smoothly, I will assume the C K is offside. Then I will come back to hand with a trump and try for three heart tricks.

Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: If the C J is taken, I have communication to ruff a diamond, draw trumps and discard a heart on the fourth club (as long as clubs are no worse than 4-2). If East or West is brilliant enough to duck (West even smoothly), I will continue with a low heart.

Toby Kenney: If this is ducked, I’ll play ace and another heart; and if spades break, I’ll try to ruff the hearts good (with additional squeeze or finesse chances if this doesn’t work).

Gabor Lippner: If the C J loses, I will make whenever clubs are no worse than 4-2. If it holds, I will lead a trump to hand and finesse the H J; then I can finesse hearts again, and even ruff a heart if they don’t break. …

Alon Amsel: If the C K is taken, I can ruff a diamond and throw a heart on the last club. If the C J holds, I’ll switch to hearts.

Thijs Veugen: If the C K is taken, I have communication to ruff a diamond and draw trumps. If not, I simply set up the heart suit: S A, finesse H J, etc.

Paulino Correa: If the defense wins the C K, the contract is made (barring a singleton club). If the C J holds, I lead the H J, win the likely spade return, and set up the long heart…

Mark Chen: I hope to make the C Q an entry, so I can ruff the diamond. If the C J wins, I will get to hand with a trump and finesse hearts.

N. Scott Cardell: Only this and Line A seem to offer much better than even chances. … If the C J wins, then: S A, heart finesse, win the trump return in hand, draw the last trump if necessary, finesse the H 10, ruff a heart and claim. If East has S x-x H K-Q-x-x D J-x-x C K-x-x-x, he will have to return a diamond on winning the first heart, then: D K, H A, heart ruff, diamond ruff, heart ruff, draw the last trump and claim.

Okan Ozcan: If someone takes the C J, I am home (unless clubs are 5-1). If the C J wins, I will overtake a spade and play a heart to the jack.

Junyi Zhu: This forces an opponent to duck one round, then I switch to hearts.

Bill Powell: Doubtless the C J will hold, foiling my attempt to create an entry to hand. In that case, I will draw trumps and hope for hearts to behave reasonably.

Final Notes

I hope you enjoyed the contest, as well as my reminiscence of kinder, gentler times. Yes, the world was a better place back then. I can remember when “bombers” made me think about Roller Derby; but it’s all different now. Thanks to all who entered, and especially those who offered kind remarks about my web site.

Comments are selected from those scoring 43 or higher (top 202) or in the overall Top 100 prior to this contest. On each problem I only used comments that support the winning play, except for close runner-up views on Problem 5. This may seem biased, but I feel it’s the best way to ensure solid content and to avoid potential embarrassment by publishing comments that are off base. Of all the eligible comments, I included about 85 percent. If you supplied comments that were not used, I thank you for the input.

Use of a comment does not necessarily mean I agree with it, but generally they are all worthy. Comments are quoted exactly except for corrections in spelling and grammar. If I use only part of a comment, an ellipsis (…) shows where text was cut. In some cases I have inserted text [in brackets] to supply an omitted word or phrase, or to summarize a cut portion. Comments appear in the order of respondents’ rank, which is my only basis for sequencing.

I am confident that my lengthy study of these problems (combined with the input of comments) has determined the best solutions in theory, but oversights are possible. Feedback is always welcome.

Well, it’s time to close shop, so I’ll leave you with these forgettable words:

Bill Powell: People used to reminisce more in the old days.

Bill Cubley: Try to remember, the hands of September… I tried, but I think I need Nathan Detroit.

Gerald Cohen: Not sure about Tibetan law, but I think it’s possible to win a prize this month (first time I can remember).

Rob Wijman: Try to be sober, for most of October…

Richard Stein: You mentioned Fritz is coming back next month. Please tell us that he will be sitting on our right, or on our left. Or at the very least, in a kibitzer’s chair?

Look at the bright side. He could be sitting on your lap.

Analyses 8Y72 MainChallengeScoresTop Try To Remember

Acknowledgments to “Try To Remember” lyricist, Tom Jones
© 2007 Richard Pavlicek