Double Dummy Corner



Hugh Darwen

Next update: 26 October

About Double Dummy Corner.

Click here for history of updates to this web site, starting with the latest.
Click here
for table of links to other sections.

Donations (voluntary, to me and cancer research)

Competition Problem 187

composed by Steve Bloom 

♠ KQJ8



♣ 5432

♠ 10



♣ AKQ9

♠ 9765



♣ 1087

♠ A432



♣ J6

West leads the ♠10 to South's contract of five spades.
(a) With the cards as shown, how is the contract made?     
(b) What would be the effect of swapping the
A and K?

To send me your solution, and please suggest a DR.
Entries to reach my inbox before:
13:00 UTC on Sunday, November 1st, 2020.
Copy available at Bridge Magazine, here.
(If you don't see click here above, you may need to enable JavaScript in your browser.)

  Click here for the result of Competition Problem 186. 

All competition problems are previously unpublished.  You can add to your overall DD Master Points score (though not your annual one) by solving Competition problems 1, 2, 3, and archive problem 517.

Selected section links:

Competition Rules Main archive Complete set of links
Ernest Bergholt’s collection The Yarborough Collection The Pachabo Collection
George Coffin’s collection Previous competition problems Curios
History of updates to web site Problemist tables DDC at Bridge Magazine
Problems by each composer Problems by Difficulty Rating Problems Nobody Has Solved Yet

I welcome links from other bridge related web sites.  For example, here is this Dutch bridge portal.  The double dummy page at Majala Bridge Indonesia includes several problems from this web site, with my permission.  I am always pleased for my collection to reach a non-English-speaking audience.

About Double Dummy Corner

Double Dummy Corner was started in January 2001 for the benefit of people interested in double dummy bridge problems, in which all players are assumed to play perfectly with all hands exposed.  Its main purposes are

  • to provide a repository of every worthwhile DD problem that has ever been published; and

  • to provide a medium for publication of new problems for competitive solving

It is updated every Monday, in principle, subject to the vagaries of the webmaster’s personal life.

This web site will almost certainly expire when I do, if not earlier.  I am therefore most grateful to Bridge Magazine (see here), for providing a more permanent repository.  The Bridge Magazine copy does not provide for interacting with me by email, nor does it include solutions to the competition problems.

As a matter of policy I provide solutions only to Competition Problems (usually shortly after the closing date), but you can send me a solution to any problem and I will reply (not always immediately!) telling you if you are right or, if you are not, where your solution goes wrong.  If you are right and it is your first attempt at the problem in question, then I add your name to the list of solvers for that problem.

Whenever you send me a solution, please be sure to include the problem number (and section name if it is from any section other than the first, my own collection) and your name, to appear in the list of solvers.  The best way, if it works for you, is to use my “click here” buttons, as shown with the two current competition problems shown above.

Nowadays these problems can be solved by computer programs; indeed, I use such a program myself to check all the problems that appear here and to check submitted solutions.  I assume, unless you tell me otherwise, that your solutions result from your own mental efforts, not assisted by any computer program.

My archive of previously published problems is divided into six sections:

The first section is my own collection.  It has 496 problems and consists mainly of problems that appeared in solving competitions in my magazine column and that of my predecessor, Ernest Pawle, from 1949 to 2005.  (The highest problem number is 517, but there are some gaps and there are some duplicates that came to light after their appearance here.)

The second section, consisting of problems composed and collected by Ernest Bergholt towards the end of the 19th century, has 51 problems.  The book contains 56 problems but I found five of these to be unsound.  There are gaps in the problems numbers because I used the book’s problem numbers throughout.

The third section has 32 miniature problems from another early book, Royal Auction Bridge: Problems of Analysis, by “Yarborough”, believed to be the pen name of Colonel G.G.J. Walshe.  In addition to the problems appearing in this section the book includes six problems under the heading NULLO DECLARATIONS, referring to a variant of bridge in which a side could declare to lose a specified number of tricks, as in “misθre” at solo whist, rather than win them.  Examples appeared as Competition Problem 125c in July, 2015, and Competition Problem 130c in January, 2016.

The fourth section, contains 32 problems from a bridge column appearing in an Australian newspaper in the 1940s under the by line “Pachabo”, a pen name used by Les Parker.

The fifth section, consists of 299 problems collected by George S. Coffin during the middle of the 20th century.  There are some gaps in the problem numbering because over the years after I had placed them at my web site several turned out to have been duplicated.

The sixth section consists of previous competition problems that have appeared on my front page.  Because these were all previously unpublished, they appear along with their solutions.

Every problem is checked by a computer, which has so far caused me to discard 212 as being “cooked” (though in many cases nobody seemed to notice when they were first published).  I found 77 cooked problems in George Coffin’s two books, out of 413.  Several of these cooked problems are given high accolades by Coffin.  Of the 635 problems published in my magazine column and, before me, Ernest Pawle’s, 135 were cooked.  It all goes to show just how tricky this business is!

In addition to the main repository, there is a section entitled Mistakes From The Media giving some interesting examples of incorrect double dummy analysis by prominent bridge writers.  Yet another section, Exchange & Win Problems, is devoted to a comparatively new, intriguing kind of problem invented by Luigi Caroli.  Finally, I offer a small collection of deals I call Curios, concocted deals showing some of the extremes that can arise in card play.  The first five are taken from my book Bridge Magic (Faber, 1972).

Click on Competition Problem #1 if you want to have a go at one of the toughest problems ever composed.  During the period at the beginning of 2001 when I had no magazine column, I started to place “competition problems” here.  I only got as far as #2 (though much later added #3).  In 2005 I lost my magazine column again and restarted competitions here with #4.  Correct solutions to #1, #2, #3, archive problem 517, and the current one(s) on this page, sent by e-mail, earn D.D. Master Points.

Why The Site Was Unavailable Towards The End of March, 2020

July 2020: I hope this announcement is now redundant as there has been no repetition of March's down time.  Although I'm still copying the current competition to Bridge Magazine, I've reverted to the normal deadlinr of the first Sunday of the month.

The web hosting service I use subjects me to what it calls a "bandwidth limit" of 200 megabytes of data transfer per month.  In March 2020 this limit was exceeded for the first time since 2010, when I engaged this service.  They offer an upgrade to 10 gigabytes per month for an annual fee of GB£30.  I am reluctant to pay this amount to cater for a loss of service that happens so rarely and not for long when it does happen.  Instead, I am taking some mitigating measures:

  • The site is copied at Bridge Magazine (to ensure that my collection survives longer than I will!).  You can see a copy of the current competition problem there.  You can bookmark that page.  There is also a link in the table of links at the top of the home page.

  • I'll make sure the deadline for competition entries is always several days after the start of the month, giving solvers time to submit entries in case the data limit was exceeded towards the end of the previous month.

  • I'll try to keep an eye on allowance %age through each month when I do my regular Monday update.

Complete Set of Links

Main archive Most recent addition to archive First problem in archive
Problemist tables Previous competition problems Ernest Bergholt’s collection
The Yarborough Collection The Pachabo Collection George Coffin’s collection
History of updates to web site W.H. Whitfeld (19th century D.D. composer) Problemist tables
Mistakes From The Media Exchange & Win Problems Curios
Problems by Theme (incomplete) Problems by Difficulty Rating Problems by each composer
Competition Rules Back to beginning Problems Nobody Has Solved Yet
Majalah Bridge Indonesia Richard Pavlicek’s collection Eddie Kantar’s problems


© Hugh Darwen, 2020

Date last modified: 16 October, 2020