Perhaps the midnight starting time should have been a warning, but you accepted the invitation to play in a home team game. The evening arrives, and despite severe lightning and torrential rain, you make the half-hour drive to 666 Phantom Lane. Oh, what a fool you were to agree to this!
Having no umbrella, you park as near as you can and dash to the front porch to ring the doorbell. A grotesque, deformed man ushers you in. Apparently mute, he hands you a table assignment and points to a sign that reads Bridge Upstairs. As you ascend the stairs, you look back to meet the frightening gaze of his one good eye.
When you reach the card room, you are pleased to see familiar faces. Hey, Joe! you shout, Great to see you! Whereve you been all these years? Joe doesnt notice you. Then you spot an old flame you lost contact with about 20 years ago. Judy! Long time! You look as beautiful as the night we first, um, knew each other. Strangely, Judy continues her conversation with someone else.
Suddenly, a voice bellows over a loudspeaker, Game time! Find your places for the board-a-match Swiss: six teams, six rounds, six boards per round. You sit South at Table 6. Joe and Judy are your first opponents, and your partner is Fritz, the man you met at the door.
Predictably, Fritz becomes your worst nightmare, taking a phantom sacrifice on every board, except the one he passes you in a cue-bid. None of the contracts can be made. Your goal as South is to salvage whatever you can for a chance to win or tie the board. Choose your play from options A-F, which are rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.
Bidding is Standard American (or as noted) and Joe and Judy use standard leads and signals. For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Assume Joe and Judy are good players but not expert.
In October 2003 these problems were presented as a contest with 690 entrants from 103 locations. The contest is closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find out your score immediately. If youre blessed, you might even win a valuable prize.*
*Prizes include a sterling silver cross and a signed copy of Satanic Bridge Verses by Salmon Trustme.Winners must be at least 98 years old. Employees of PavCo Exorcism Clinic are ineligible.
Enjoy your game with Fritz. If you dont like his bidding, tell him to go to Hell. But be careful
You might already be there!
At trick two West leads the 6 (East follows). Your play?
A. Win Q; duck a spadeB. Win Q; lead JC. Win Q; lead 3D. Win K; A; ruff a spadeE. Win K; lead 7F. Win K; lead 2
West wins A-K-Q (East follows) then leads the J to your ace. Your play?
A. Win K-Q; ruff spadeB. Ruff spade; lead QC. Ruff spade; lead 3 to kingD. Win K; AE. Win K; lead 5 and finesse 10F. Lead the 2
1. Michaels2. Fritz no like Michaels
Joe grins as he leads the K to your ace. Despite the horror, you might win the board! Your play?
A. Win K; A; lead 9B. Win A; K; lead 5C. Win A; lead 9D. Lead 5 to jackE. Lead 4 to kingF. Lead 4 and finesse 10
East shifts to the 2 and your king wins (West plays 3). Your play?
A. Lead the QB. Duck a heartC. Win A-KD. Duck a diamondE. Ruff a club; lead 2F. Ruff a club; win A-K
1. Fritz like Yarborough
West continues with the A (East plays 7). Your play?
A. Ruff; win A-K; A-K-QB. Ruff; win A; A-K-QC. Ruff; win A; A-K; lead 2D. Ruff; lead 2E. Ruff; win A-K; lead 2F. Pitch a diamond
East next cashes the K (West pitches 8) then leads the 9. Your play?
A. Win A; K-Q; A-KB. Win A; K-Q; A; ruff heartC. Win A; K-Q; run JD. Win A; lead all trumpsE. Cover with 10 and let West win jackF. Duck (let East win 9)
Note: When you draw trumps, West has two and East one.
Click to see how you did
© 2003 Richard Pavlicek