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The Beast of Velvet Cave

Welcome, spelunkers! I will be your guide. Before we begin I must warn you to stay with the group; your safety cannot be assured if you stray into the catacombs. The temperature inside the cave is 44-45 degrees Fahrenheit, so wear a coat or jacket; and it’s dark down there, so keep your lanterns lit at all times. If you’re ready, follow me.

OK, OK, this is really a bidding challenge on six problems from a past tournament. The venue is my little secret for now, though you’re invited to guess from the clues. But don’t worry about that; just select your call as South on each problem.

In March of 2004 these problems were presented as a poll, with 1337 entrants from 122 locations.
The poll is closed, but you can still try it as a quiz and find your score immediately.

Assume both sides use Standard American bidding (unless noted otherwise) with 15-17 notrumps, five-card majors and weak two-bids. Object is to find the best call based on judgment so only basic conventions are allowed. For a system reference, see Standard American Bridge.


Proceed with caution. If you select good bids, you have nothing to worry about — but I lie a lot. Bwa-ha-ha! Did I mention the dragon?

Problem 1

IMPsN-S VulYou, South, hold:
 
West

Pass
North

1 S
East

2 C
South
1 D
?
S A 8
H Q 9 6 2
D A K Q 4
C A 8 2
 
Your call: Double (penalty)  2 H  2 NT  3 C  3 NT

Problem 2

IMPsNone VulYou, South, hold:
 
West
Pass
3 S1
North
1 C
Pass
East
1 S
Pass
South
Dbl
?
S J
H K J 10 8 3
D K 6 5
C J 8 4 3
 

1. weak

Your call: Pass  Double (card-showing)  3 NT  4 C  4 H

Problem 3

IMPsE-W VulYou, South, hold:
 
West

Pass
North
1 S
3 D
East
Pass
Pass
South
2 D
?
S A 10
H J 9
D K Q J 6 3
C K J 6 2
 
Your call: 3 H  3 S  3 NT  4 C  4 D  4 S  5 D

Problem 4

IMPsNone VulYou, South, hold:
 
West

1 D
Pass
North

Dbl
2 S
East

Pass
Pass
South
Pass
2 D
?
S K 7 6
H Q 8 6 4
D A 10 7
C K 7 6
 
Your call: 2 NT  3 D  3 H  3 S  3 NT  4 H  4 S

Problem 5

IMPsBoth VulYou, South, hold:
 
West
Pass
4 S
North
1 D
Pass
East
1 S
5 C
South
2 C
?
S 4
H
D K J 7 5
C A Q J 10 6 5 4 3
 
Your call: Pass  Double  5 D  5 S  5 NT  6 C  6 D

Problem 6

IMPsE-W VulYou, South, hold:
 
West
Pass
North
1 NT
East
Pass
South
?
S J 4 2
H A K 9 8
D 9 6 4
C 10 9 8
 

Call and follow-up 
if you use Stayman: 
A. Pass
B. 2 C then 2 NT or raise to 3 H
C. 2 C then 2 NT or raise to 4 H
D. 2 C then 3 NT or raise to 3 H
E. 2 C then 3 NT or raise to 4 H
F. 2 NT
G. 3 NT

To see how you did click

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© 2004 Richard Pavlicek