Main   Challenge 7X57 by Richard Pavlicek  

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Our Finest Gifts We Bring

Pa-rum pum pum pum! If you have ever played in a large pair event, you know that the secret to winning is not just to play well but to receive gifts. Meeting the right opponents at the right time is just as important as being a good bridge player. The age-old proverb, “It is better to give than receive,” may be the spirit of the season and a virtue of life — but it brings no rewards at the bridge table.

This is a defensive-play challenge for all bridge players. On each of the six problems you are East, and your opponents have bid optimistically to an aggressive contract. Translation: They have bid like maniacs. Partner has made a normal lead, and it’s up to you to find the best defense to accept your gift. Simply choose your next lead from the choices offered. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.

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

In December 2003 these problems were presented as a contest with 854 entrants from 114 locations. The contest is closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find out your score immediately. If you’re lucky, you might even win a valuable prize.*

*Prizes include a 50 kg. ingot of pure gold, and 50 ounces of frankenstein and myrrh — oops, wrong contest, make that frankincense.
Winners must be at least 18 years old and reigning king of their country. Employees of PavCo Drum Corps are ineligible.

Well, are you ready for some gifts? Or shall I play for you, pa-rum pum pum pum? Don’t worry about the time (the ox and lamb will keep track of that). Just play your best for Him, and He will smile at you, pa-rum pum pum pum.

Problem 1

Matchpoints
None Vul
S K 9 8 7 3
H 4
D 9 6 5 4 3
C 10 3
 
West

Pass
Pass
 
North

2 H1
4 S
You
East

Dbl
All Pass
 
South
1 NT
3 S
4 S SouthTable S A 4 2
H A K 7 6 5
D Q
C A J 9 7

Trick
1 W
Lead
H 2
2nd
4
3rd
A
4th
9

1. Jacoby transfer

Your next lead: SHHDCC J

Problem 2

Matchpoints
Both Vul
S Q 2
H K J 9
D A K 9 5 4 3
C A K
 
West

Pass
Pass
 
North
2 C
3 D
4 H
You
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
South
2 D
3 H
4 H SouthTable S A K 8 3
H A 4
D Q 2
C Q 8 7 6 3

Trick
1 W
Lead
S 4
2nd
Q
3rd
K
4th
6

Your next lead: SHHDDC 6

Problem 3

Matchpoints
E-W Vul
S K 6 5
H A 10 9
D K 8 6 5 4 2
C K
 
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
 
North

2 D
3 S
4 H
6 S
You
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
South
1 S
2 H
4 D
5 S
6 S SouthTable S Q
H Q J 8 2
D Q 10 9 7 3
C A Q 9

Trick
1 W
2 S
Lead
D J
C 8
2nd
2
2
3rd
3
K
4th
A
A

Your next lead: SHHHDC Q

Problem 4

Matchpoints
E-W Vul
S 7 2
H 10 4 2
D K Q J 10 8 7
C A 9
 
West

1 S
Pass
 
North
1 D
2 D
3 NT
You
East
Dbl
Pass
All Pass
 
South
Rdbl
2 NT
3 NT SouthTable S A Q 6 3
H K 8 7 5
D A 5
C Q 7 5

Trick
1 W
Lead
S 4
2nd
2
3rd
A
4th
5

Your next lead: SSHHCC 5

Problem 5

Matchpoints
Both Vul
S K 9 3
H K 3
D J 9 3 2
C K 9 4 3
 
West

Pass
 
North

4 S
You
East

All Pass
 
South
2 S
4 S SouthTable S A 2
H A 10 6 4
D Q 6 5 4
C J 8 2

Trick
1 W
2 W
Lead
D K
H 5
2nd
2
K
3rd
6
A
4th
7
8

Your next lead: SSHDDC 2

Problem 6

Matchpoints
N-S Vul
S Q
H Q 6
D Q J 10 8 4 2
C Q 5 3 2
 
West

Pass
All Pass
 
North

4 C1
You
East

4 S
 
South
2 NT
6 NT
6 NT SouthTable S A 10 9 8 7 6 5 4
H 10 2
D 3
C 10 9

Trick
1 W
Lead
S J
2nd
Q
3rd
?
4th

1. Gerber

Partner leads the S J. How do you defend?

A. Win S A; lead S 10
B. Win S A; lead H 10
C. Win S A; lead H 2
D. Win S A; lead D 3
E. Win S A; lead C 10
F. Duck the first trick

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Credits to K. Davis, H. Onorati and H. Simeone, lyricists of “The Little Drummer Boy”
© 2003 Richard Pavlicek