The torch goes on! Keep your eyes on Athens this month and you may witness the Modern Hexathlon. This inaugural event for both men and women combines traditional disciplines of track and field (javelin throw, long jump and marathon) with aquatics (backstroke, freestyle and high dive). In all aspects, a superb test of athletics and a treat for spectators. I know Ill be glued to my TV set.
The Modern Hexathlon also relates well to bridge, as these six problems illustrate. Unfortunately there wont be any bridge competition in Athens, because bridge is a winter sport or so the World Bridge Federation tried to make us believe several years ago. For an insight see my February 2002 challenge Leading for the Gold.
Therefore, this challenge will be your only chance to ascend the Olympic podium. As South, simply choose your play from the choices listed. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.
Bidding is Standard American, and your opponents use standard leads and signals. For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.
In August 2004 these problems were presented as a contest with 871 entrants from 121 locations. The contest is closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find your score immediately. If youre lucky, you might even win a valuable prize.*
*Prizes include a 24K gold Olympic torch and five interlocking rings. Winners must be at least 18 years of age and will berequired to submit urine samples to PavCo Labs for drug testing. Greek citizens and foreigners are ineligible.
Well, the opening ceremonies are over. Grab your javelin and move to the starting line. Get a running start, and go for the distance!
1. Javelin transfer
A. Win first club; A; lead JB. Win first club; lead JC. Win first club; Q; run 9D. Win second club; A; lead JE. Win second club; lead JF. Win second club; Q; run 9
1. backstroke (why go down in four?)
After such a clever bid, how do you play?
A. Win A; run QB. Win K; finesse QC. Win K; finesse 10D. Win K; A; run QE. Win K; A; ruff a diamondF. Win K; lead a club
1. short of the record but a good first attempt
A. Win A (pitch spade); lead 3B. Win A (pitch spade); ruff a clubC. Win A (pitch diamond); lead 3D. Win A (pitch diamond); ruff a clubE. Ruff first trick; draw trumps; lead QF. Ruff first trick; draw trumps; lead 4
Note: Trumps split 3-3.
1. freestyle (Michaels is for wimps)
West next leads the 3 to Easts ace. Your play?
A. Ruff; run the 9B. Ruff; lead spade to kingC. Ruff; win A-K; ruff club; lead KD. Ruff; win A-K; ruff club; lead 10E. Ruff; win A-K; ruff club; ruff heartF. Pitch your last diamond
Note: If you lead clubs, West has Q-3.
1. reverse somersault with a half twist
At trick two East leads the 6 (West plays 8) to the queen. Your play?
A. Ruff 7; win two trumps; duck a heartB. Ruff 7; win two trumps; lead JC. Ruff 7; win four trumpsD. Win two trumps; duck a heartE. Win two trumps; lead JF. Win four trumps
Note: West has a blank Q.
You ran out of bids! Now play something:
A. Win A; AB. Win A; K; AC. Win A; K; A; ruff a diamondD. Win A; K; A-KE. Win A; A-K; ruff a diamondF. Duck the first trick
Click to see how you did
© 2004 Richard Pavlicek