Main   Challenge 7V65 by Richard Pavlicek  

Leading for the Gold

Oh! How I long for the splendor of winter sports — the breathtaking ski jumps; the thrilling bobsled runs; the emotional finals in ladies figure skating; and, of course, the greatest spectacle of all, Paul Soloway on opening lead. That’s right, folks. Bridge is now recognized as a sport and may soon become an official medal competition in the Winter Olympics. Incredible. Not only is bridge a sport, but it’s a winter sport.

Hello-o-o? Am I alone in finding this ridiculous? By any logical reasoning, a sport is a physical activity, so bridge is no more a sport than knitting or collecting stamps. Nonetheless, what I believe has no bearing on the powers that be. Further, living in Florida now puts me at a great disadvantage, so next year I plan to move to Alaska so I can prepare for the 2006 Winter Games. Rest assured; I will never go down in an ice-cold contract again!

While millions (billions?) had their eyes on the Salt Lake Winter Games in February of 2002, these problems were presented as a contest with a mere 754 entrants from 102 locations. The contest is now closed, but you can still challenge yourself and find your score immediately. As West, simply choose your opening lead from the options offered. Each option is rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment. Bidding is Standard American, and you use standard leads.

So, what are you waiting for? Warm up your leading arm and aim for the gold! If you have an Olympic future, you might win a valuable prize.*

*Prizes include a pair of 14K gold figure skates, a sterling silver Olympic torch, and a bronzed Jamaican bobsled. Winners must meet eligibility requirements of at least 18 years of age and a resident of Antarctica. Employees of PavCo-on-Ice and their immediate families are ineligible. TopMain

Problem 1

IMPs N-S Vul

West

Pass
All Pass
North
Pass
2 NT
East
Pass
Pass
South
1 NT
3 NT

S 10 8 4 2
H A 10 9 3
D 9 8
C Q J 4
Table

Lead:  SSH 10  HDC Q TopMain

Problem 2

IMPs E-W Vul

West

1 S
All Pass
North

3 C*
East

Pass
South
1 C
3 NT
*limit raise

S K J 10 6 5
H J 10 8 4
D A K 3
C 4
Table

Lead:  SSSHHD K TopMain

Problem 3

IMPs Both Vul

West

Pass
Pass
North

2 H
4 H
East

Pass
All Pass
South
1 H
3 H

S J 3
H K 7 2
D A J 8 6 4
C 8 6 4
Table

Lead:  SSHDDC 4 TopMain

Problem 4

IMPs None Vul

West

Pass
Pass
North

2 C
4 H
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 H

S K J 10 4
H 5
D Q 9 8 2
C J 10 4 3
Table

Lead:  SHDDCC 3 TopMain

Problem 5

IMPs N-S Vul

West

Pass
Pass
North
1 NT
2 D
4 S
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
2 C
3 S

S J 7 4
H J 10 2
D Q J 6 3
C A 7 5
Table

Lead:  SHDDCC 5 TopMain

Problem 6

IMPs Both Vul

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
2 H
3 D²
4 S
5 D
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 NT¹
3 S
4 NT
6 S
1. artificial force
2. feature

S A 7 2
H 4
D K J 9 5 4 3
C 10 9 2
Table

Lead:  SHDDDC 10

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© 2002 Richard Pavlicek