Main   Challenge 7X73 by Richard Pavlicek  

The Worst Leading Man

Never to be outdone by the many award shows these days, I’ve decided to start my own. Forget the silly Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes or whatever, and say hello to the PavCo Awards honoring ineptitude at the bridge table. I’ve won a few myself over the years, but I won’t be greedy; I wish to share this glory with the many other deserving people around the world.

This year’s PavCo in the “worst leading man” category goes to your partner, West, on these six problems. As East, your goal is to recover from the bad start by choosing your next lead from the choices listed. Each option is rated on a 1-to-10 scale, based on my judgment.

In April of 2004 these problems were presented as a contest with 908 entrants from 115 locations. The contest is closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find your score immediately. If you’re lucky, you might win a valuable prize.*

*Prizes include two gleaming statuettes (13½ inches high, 8½ pounds) handcrafted in 24K gold, and 50 tickets to The Lord of the Rings: PavCo Returns. Employees of PavCo Oscar Heists are ineligible. Prizes void where prohibited by law, or wherever such prohibitions do not exist.

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.

Well, are you ready to face the man with the not-so-golden arm? Then plop yourself down in the East chair. It might boost your morale if you close your eyes on the opening lead; but after that debacle, partner will be on your side. See if you can find the best defense. TopMain

Problem 1

Matchpoints Both Vul

West
WL Man

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North


1 H
3 S*
East
You

Pass
Pass
South

1 C
1 S
4 S
*forcing

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

Partner leads the D 4, ducked to your 10 and South’s queen. At trick two South leads the S 5 (partner plays S 3) to the jack and your queen.

Your next lead:  SHHDCC 2 TopMain

Problem 2

Matchpoints None Vul

West
WL Man
3 H
Pass
Pass
North

Pass
4 D
Pass
East
You
Pass
Dbl
Dbl
South

4 C
5 C
All Pass

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

Partner leads the S K (you play S 7) to the ace. South leads the C A and C Q (partner plays C 4 then C 5) to your king as dummy pitches hearts.

Your next lead:  SSSDDC 3 TopMain

Problem 3

Matchpoints None Vul

West
WL Man

Pass
North


4 H
East
You
1 NT
All Pass
South

3 H

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

Partner leads the C 4; jack, ace, ruff (with H 6). South next leads the H Q (partner plays H 2) to your ace.

Your next lead:  SHHDDC 2 TopMain

Problem 4

Matchpoints E-W Vul

West
WL Man
4 H
All Pass
North

Pass
East
You
Pass
South

4 S

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

Partner leads the H 3; four, five, nine. Believe it! South then leads the S Q (partner plays S 5) to your ace.

Your next lead:  SHDDCC 10 TopMain

Problem 5

Matchpoints None Vul

West
WL Man

Pass
Pass
North


2 C
3 NT
East
You

Pass
All Pass
South

1 NT
2 S

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

Partner leads the D Q, won by South’s ace. South then leads the H 4 (partner plays H 5) to North’s jack and your queen.

Your next lead:  S 10  H 10  HDCC 4 TopMain

Problem 6

Matchpoints Both Vul

West
WL Man

All Pass
North

1 NT
East
You
Pass
South

4 S*
*Transfers are off if West can be put on lead.

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

Partner leads the H A, ruffed with the S 3. South next leads the S 5 (partner plays S 9). Your defense? (Choose one letter A-F)

  1. Win S A; lead S 2
  2. Win S A; lead H 5
  3. Win S A; lead D J
  4. Win S A; lead C J
  5. Duck; win next spade
  6. Duck twice

To see how you did click

TopMain

© 2004 Richard Pavlicek