Main   Challenge 7V89 by Richard Pavlicek  

Slammin’ Sammy Goes Deep

Where can you find grand slams, doubles, squeeze plays and sacrifices? In bridge, of course, and in baseball as well. These games share a number of common terms and analogies. On each of these six problems, Slammin’ Sammy (no offense, Mr. Sosa) has overbid to a slam, or if you prefer, has hit a deep fly ball. Will you catch it? Or will it clear the fence for a home run? All the balls can be caught! That is, each slam can be defeated.

This is a defensive-play challenge for all bridge players. You are the left fielder (West) on the first three problems and the right fielder (East) on the last three. All you have to do is choose your lead at trick two from the options given. Each option is rated on a 1-to-10 scale, based on my judgment.

Bidding is standard, and you use standard leads and signals. For a reference, see my outline of Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.

In August 2002 these problems were presented as a contest, which had 638 entrants from 103 locations. The contest is now closed, but you can still challenge yourself and find your score immediately. If you’re a Golden Glover, you might even win a valuable prize!*

*Prizes include six outfielder’s mitts, personally autographed by Sammy Sosa (or Sammy Pavlicek) and a bronzed batting helmet. Winners must be at least 18 years of age and well corked. Employees and non-employees of PavCo Sports Memorabilia are ineligible.

Batter up! Pitch is on the way… craaack! It’s a deep fly ball and you run back, back, back to the warning track… to the fence… and leap! TopMain

Problem 1

Matchpoints None Vul

West
You

Pass
All Pass
North

1 NT
4 H
East

Pass
Pass
South
Sammy
4 C*
6 D
*Gerber

6 D South
S A K 4
H K 10 8 6
D Q 8 7 5
C K 3
S Q 9 8
H Q J 9 7
D 2
C Q 9 8 6 5
Table

You lead the H Q (dummy plays low), partner plays the five and South the three.

Your next lead:  SSHDCC 6 TopMain

Problem 2

Matchpoints Both Vul

West
You

Pass
Pass
North

1 NT
2 S
4 D
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
Sammy
2 H*
3 H
6 H (AP)
*Jacoby transfer

6 H South
S Q 2
H K Q J
D A K 5 4
C Q 8 6 3
S J 10
H 9 5 4 3
D Q 8 7
C A K 9 2
Table

You lead the C K, partner plays the seven and South the 10.

Your next lead:  S 10  HDDCC 2 TopMain

Problem 3

Matchpoints E-W Vul

West
You

Pass
Pass
North


3 S*
5 D
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
Sammy
1 S
4 NT
6 S (AP)
*limit raise

6 S South
S Q 10 9 6
H 6
D J 10 9 7 6
C A 10 2
S 4 3
H 10 4 3 2
D A K Q 5
C J 9 7
Table

You lead the D K, partner plays the three and South the two.

Your next lead:  SH 10  HDCC 9 TopMain

Problem 4

Matchpoints N-S Vul

West


Pass
All Pass
North

Pass
2 NT
East
You
Pass
Pass
South
Sammy
1 D
6 D

6 D South
S K 9 6
H J 10 9
D K J 5 4
C K 10 3
TableS Q 10 8 5 4
H A 5 3 2
D 3
C Q 9 4

Partner leads the H 6, you win the ace, and South plays the king.

Your next lead:  S 10  SHDCC 4 TopMain

Problem 5

Matchpoints None Vul

West


2 S
Pass
Pass
North


3 H
5 D
6 H
East
You

4 S
Pass
All Pass
South
Sammy
1 H
5 C
5 H

6 H South
S 3
H 9 6 4 2
D A 10 8 3 2
C K 8 4
TableS A 9 5 2
H 10 3
D J 9 7 4
C Q 9 7

Partner leads the S J, you win the ace, and South plays the queen.

Your next lead:  SHDCCC 7 TopMain

Problem 6

Matchpoints Both Vul

West


Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

Pass
3 S
5 D
East
You
Pass
Pass
Dbl
South
Sammy
1 S
4 NT
6 S

6 S South
S A J 3
H K 10 2
D 8 6 5 3
C K 5 4
TableS 8 5 4
H J 9 7 4
D A K 7 2
C 10 3

Partner leads the D J, you win the king, and South plays the queen.

Your next lead:  SHDDC 10  C 3

To see how you did click

TopMain

Acknowledgments to Sammy Sosa, the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball.
© 2002 Richard Pavlicek