Main   Challenge 7X57 by Richard Pavlicek  

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, 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 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 and Bugle Corps are ineligible.

Well, are you ready to receive 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 may smile at you, pa-rum pum pum pum. TopMain

Problem 1

Matchpoints None Vul

West


Pass
Pass
North


2 H*
4 S
East
You

Dbl
All Pass
South

1 NT
3 S
*Jacoby transfer

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

Partner leads the H 2, which you win with the ace as South plays the nine.

Your next lead:  SHHDCC J TopMain

Problem 2

Matchpoints Both Vul

West


Pass
Pass
North

2 C
3 D
4 H
East
You
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South

2 D
3 H

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

Partner leads the S 4, and the play goes queen, king, six.

Your next lead:  SHHDDC 6 TopMain

Problem 3

Matchpoints E-W Vul

West


Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
North


2 D
3 S
4 H
6 S
East
You

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South

1 S
2 H
4 D
5 S

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

Partner leads the D J, won by South’s ace. Declarer next leads the C 8 (partner plays C 2) to your ace.

Your next lead:  SHHHDC Q TopMain

Problem 4

Matchpoints E-W Vul

West


1 S
Pass
North

1 D
2 D
3 NT
East
You
Dbl
Pass
All Pass
South

Rdbl
2 NT

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

Partner leads the S 4 to your ace as South plays the five.

Your next lead:  SSHHCC 5 TopMain

Problem 5

Matchpoints Both Vul

West


Pass
North


4 S
East
You

All Pass
South

2 S

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

Partner leads the D K (two, six, seven) and then shifts to the H 5 (king, ace, eight).

Your next lead:  SSHDDC 2 TopMain

Problem 6

Matchpoints N-S Vul

West


Pass
All Pass
North


4 C*
East
You

4 S
South

2 NT
6 NT
*Gerber

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

Partner leads the S J. How do you defend? (Choose one letter A-F)

  1. Win S A; lead S 10
  2. Win S A; lead H 10
  3. Win S A; lead H 2
  4. Win S A; lead D 3
  5. Win S A; lead C 10
  6. Duck the first trick

To see how you did click

TopMain

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