Main   Challenge 8Y73 by Richard Pavlicek  

Analyses    Scores  

Nevermore

Once upon a midnight Drury, sitting East, distraught with fury
O’er many a quaint and curious lead, deserving of a minus score
As I nodded, nearly napping, trumps he leads instead of tapping.
Then it happened, to my horror, suits I’ve bid he leads no more.
Is he void? I pondered truly. If not in my suit, cerebral core?
Only this, and nothing more.


Ah, distinctly I remember, the brainless West I could dismember
As each dreadful opening lead, sent grief no one could e’er ignore.
Eagerly I wished the morrow. Take me from this pain and sorrow!
Then the moron started clapping, laughing, dancing on the floor.
“‘Tis bridge in Hell!” I shouted madly, racing to the chamber door.
Fritzed again, but Nevermore!

Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news: If you play just six boards, your partner will cherish you forever. The bad news: Your partner is Fritz — and even worse, he’s on lead!

Try to salvage what you can after Fritz makes a terrible opening lead. As East, simply choose your defense from the six 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. Assume declarer is an expert. Fritz of course is a moron, but assume he won’t do anything stupid besides his lead.


In October 2007 these six problems were presented as a contest with 636 entrants from 109 locations. The contest is now closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find your score immediately. If you’re lucky, you may win a valuable prize.*

*First prize is a one-week stay with Fritz at the Raven Inn. Second prize is two weeks. Third, three weeks, etc.
Winners must be at least 18 years of age and gormless. Offer void where permitted by law.

Warning! What you are about to witness is not for the meek. If you have a heart condition, quit now!

Problem 1

Matchpoints
None Vul
S Q 9 8 6
H A 8 7
D 10 2
C K 10 7 2
Fritz
West

Pass
Dbl
Pass
 
North
Pass
2 C1
2 S
3 S
You
East
Pass
Pass
3 D
All Pass
 
South
1 S
2 D2
Pass
3 S SouthTable S K 10 4
H J 9 5 2
D J 6 5
C A Q J

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
S 2
C 4
2nd
9
5
3rd
10
K
4th
J
A

1. Drury
2. light opening

Your next lead: SHHDDC Q

Problem 2

Matchpoints
N-S Vul
S 10
H K 3
D K Q J 9 5
C Q 10 7 5 4
Fritz
West

Pass
All Pass
 
North

2 D
You
East
1 S
2 S
 
South
Pass
3 NT
3 NT SouthTable S A Q J 9 8 3
H A 8 7
D 4 2
C K J

Trick
1 W
Lead
H J
2nd
K
3rd
A
4th
2

A. Win S A; lead S Q
B. Win S A; lead H 8
C. Lead the S Q
D. Lead H 8; if wins then S A
E. Lead H 8; if wins then S Q
F. Lead H 8; if wins then H 7

Note: If you lead the S A, Fritz follows suit.

Problem 3

Matchpoints
E-W Vul
S 10 9 4
H J 10 9 8 5
D K 4
C A 10 5
Fritz
West

Pass
All Pass
 
North

1 H
You
East

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

Trick
1 W
2 W
Lead
S A
S 5
2nd
4
9
3rd
K
Q
4th
2
J

Your next lead: HHD 10  DCC J

Problem 4

Matchpoints
Both Vul
S J 4 3
H A K Q J 8
D J 5
C 10 7 2
Fritz
West
Pass
Pass
 
North
1 H
3 NT
You
East
Pass
All Pass
 
South
2 NT
3 NT SouthTable S 10 8 7 2
H 9 7 5 3
D A 4
C A J 8

Trick
1 W
2 N
Lead
H 10
D J
2nd
A
?
3rd
3
4th
4

A. Win D A; lead S 8
B. Win D A; lead S 2
C. Win D A; lead H 5
D. Win D A; lead C J
E. Win D A; lead C 8
F. Duck (play D 4)

Note: If you win the D A, South plays the D 2, Fritz the D 6.

Problem 5

Matchpoints
N-S Vul
S A K 7 6 5
H K 9
D J 4 3
C K Q 3
Fritz
West

5 C
All Pass
 
North
1 S
5 H
You
East
2 D
Pass
 
South
4 H
6 H1
6 H SouthTable S Q 10 2
H A 2
D K Q 10 8 7
C J 7 4

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
C A
H 6
2nd
3
3
3rd
4
K
4th
H 5
?

1. with Fritz on lead, why not?

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

Note: Fritz follows twice in hearts.

Problem 6

Matchpoints
None Vul
S A K Q 8 5
H A J 8
D J 10 9
C J 2
Fritz
West

3 S
4 C
 
North

Dbl
5 D
You
East
1 C
Pass
All Pass
 
South
3 D
Pass
5 D SouthTable S 9 4 2
H K 10 6 2
D A 2
C A K 8 4

Trick
1 W
2 N
3 N
Lead
S J
S K
D J
2nd
A
4
?
3rd
2
C 9
4th
C 3
3

A. Win D A; lead S 9
B. Win D A; lead H 2
C. Win D A; lead D 2
D. Win D A; lead C A
E. Win D A; lead C 4
F. Duck (play D 2)

Note: If you win the D A, Fritz plays the D K.

To see how you did click

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Acknowledgments to “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49)
© 2007 Richard Pavlicek