Quiz 8D35 Main

# Valentine’s Legacy

by Richard Pavlicek

Few people are aware that Valentinus Episcopus, better known as St. Valentine, was the greatest bridge player of all time (future included) and if anyone doubts this I can offer proof.

Archaeologists recently excavated six more clay tablets of hands played by St. Valentine, all fittingly in hearts, but water erosion has made his plays indiscernible. That’s where you fit in! Try to determine how St. Valentine played, but don’t fret. If you butcher the play, just chalk it up to another St. Valentine’s Day massacre.

Choose your play on each problem then click “Score Me” to see how you did. Explanations follow the quiz.

Are you ready? Then play away!

### Problem 1

 Total points 7 2 West North East South None vul Q J 10 Pass 1 A Q J 5 2 Pass 2 Pass 3 NT Q 7 3 Pass 4 Pass Pass Pass Lead: 8 East plays 2 A J 3 A K 5 4 3 4 3 4 South A 10 2 You will discover that hearts split 3-2

 Your play? A. Win K, finesse QB. Win 10, lead 2 to jackC. Win 10, K, finesse QD. Win 10, Q, K, finesse QE.  Win 10, lead QF.  Win 10, lead 3 to 10

### Problem 2

 Total points 4 3 West North East South Both vul K J 10 9 1 Q 10 6 Pass 1 NT Pass 2 K 8 7 6 Pass 3 Pass 4 Pass Pass Pass Lead: Q East plays 5 A K 8 7 6 5 A Q 7 2 9 8 4 South 4 You duck, and West continues with Q-J-10-9

 Your play? A. Ruff, win A-KB. Ruff, win A, J, lead 4C. Ruff, win A, A, J, lead 4D. Ruff, win A, duck a spadeE.  Ruff, lead 9F.  Pitch a diamond

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### Problem 3

 Total points 10 8 7 3 2 West North East South N-S vul K Q Pass Pass 1 K 10 9 8 Pass 1 Pass 2 J 6 Pass 2 Pass 3 Pass 4 All Pass Lead: 2 East wins Q A J A 9 8 7 5 4 7 4 South K Q 7 2 East shifts to the 6 (West’s lead shows 3 or 5 diamonds)

 Your play? A. Win A, K, lead 9 and ruffB. Win A, K, lead 9 and pitch JC. Win A, K-Q, lead 9 and ruffD. Win A, K-Q, lead 9 and pitch JE.  Win A, lead 2F.  Finesse J

### Problem 4

 Total points 9 8 7 West North East South None vul 10 2 4 6 10 7 2 Pass Pass Pass Q 6 5 4 2 Lead: 6 East plays 10 A A K Q J 9 A J 4 6 South A K 8 7 You win the A and lead trumps (both follow to two rounds)

 Your play? A. Win A-K-Q-J, lead 4B. Win A-K-Q-J, run clubsC. Win A, 10, ruff spadeD. Win A, 10, give up spadeE.  Win A, 10, run 10F.  Win A, 10, finesse J

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### Problem 5

 Total points Q J 10 9 West North East South E-W vul J 10 4 1 Q J 8 2 Pass 1 Pass 3 NT A 6 Pass 4 Pass 4 Pass 5 Pass 6 Lead: J East plays 7 All Pass A 2 A K 9 8 3 2 K 10 9 6 South K Q You win K and cash A (West discards 2)

 What next? A. Lead K (wins), lead 9 to queenB. Lead K (wins), A, run JC. Lead 9 to queenD. Win A, run QE.  Win A, run JF.  Win A, lead Q

### Problem 6

 Total points A J 6 5 4 3 West North East South N-S vul A K 2 1 Pass 2 2 Pass 4 1 Pass 5 K 9 8 Pass 5 Pass 6 Pass Pass Pass Lead: J East plays 4 1. splinter bid — Q 8 7 6 3 A J 7 6 5 4 6 South A J You win the K

 What next? A. Win A, ruff spadeB. Ruff a spadeC. Lead 3 and pitch diamondD. Win A, ruff a diamondE.  Duck a diamondF.  Finesse the J

## Explanations

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### Problem 1

 Total points 7 2 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th N-S vul Q J 10 1. W 8 10 2 3 A Q J 5 2 2. N 2 4 J K Q 7 3 3. W 9 J 6 4 K 9 6 Q 10 8 5 4 4. N 7 5 A 6 9 8 7 6 2 5. S 3 9 Q 8 10 9 8 7 6 K 6. N 3 5 A 4 J 6 4 K 9 8 5 7. S A 6 2 7 A J 3 8. S 3 7 J K A K 5 4 3 Win 4 more tricks 4 3 4 South A 10 2

Ruffing a spade in dummy is a virtual guarantee, while trying to set up diamonds could run afoul with a bad break in either red suit.

### Problem 2

 Total points 4 3 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th N-S vul K J 10 9 1. W Q 6 5 4 Q 10 6 2. W J 7 2 9! K 8 7 6 3. W 10 8 3 8! J 10 2 Q 9 4. W 9 K A 2 4 8 6 5 3 5. S A 2 3 9 A 7 5 4 3 K J 2 6. S K 10 4 Q Q J 10 9 A 5 3 2 7. S 5 J 9 2 A K 8 7 6 5 8. N 6 J 7 3 A Q 7 2 Crossruff the rest 9 8 4 South 4

Do not ruff the second or third club! Postponing the ruff-in allows either a complete crossruff, or the ability to establish spades if West shifts to a trump.

 Quiz 8D35 Main Top Valentine’s Legacy

### Problem 3

 Total points 10 8 7 3 2 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th N-S vul K Q 1. W 2 8 Q 7 K 10 9 8 2. E 6 A 4 2 J 6 3. S 4 2 K 3 K 4 Q 9 6 5 4. N 9 3 5 4 6 2 J 10 3 5. S 7 6 Q 10 J 6 5 4 2 A Q 3 6. N 10 A 8 5 A 9 8 3 10 5 4 7. S A 6 3 J A J 8. S 2 3 J 4 A 9 8 7 5 4 9. N K 5 J J 7 10. N 6 5 Q A 4 South K Q 7 2 Win 2 more tricks

West’s lead suggests the A will ruff out, and the J will likely be a late entry. Note that pitching the J on the 9 fails with a club shift.

### Problem 4

 Total points 9 8 7 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th N-S vul 10 2 1. W 6 7 10 A 10 7 2 2. S A 3 2 7 Q 6 5 4 2 3. S 9 4 10 8 6 2 K Q J 10 5 4 3 4. N 8 J 8! 2 6 5 4 3 8 7 5. E K J 3 9 Q 9 6 3 K 8 5 6. S K 5 2 3 J 10 9 3 7. S Q 6 7 4 A Win the rest A K Q J 9 A J 4 6 South A K 8 7

Internal blockage in the club suit is overcome by pitching a club on a spade after ensuring that trumps split no worse than 4-2.

 Quiz 8D35 Main Top Valentine’s Legacy

### Problem 5

 Total points Q J 10 9 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th N-S vul J 10 4 1. W J 6 4 K Q J 8 2 2. S A 2 10! 5 A 6 3. S 9! 3 Q! 6 K 5 4 3 8 7 6 4. N J 6 2 3 — Q 7 6 5 5. N 4 7 8 3 5 4 3 A 7 6 6. S K 7 9 Q J 10 8 7 3 2 9 5 4 7. S K 4 2 7 A 2 8. S 10 5 8 A A K 9 8 3 2 9. E 6 A 4 10 K 10 9 Win the rest 6 South K Q

Unblock in hearts to facilitate drawing trumps, then lead a diamond to reach dummy. Note that if you wasted the A entry early, East could hold up the A to shut out dummy’s fourth diamond.

### Problem 6

 Total points A J 6 5 4 3 Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th N-S vul A K 2 1. W J K 4 3 2 2. N 3 2 7! 10 K 9 8 3. W 9 A 5 6 K 10 8 Q 9 7 2 4. N 4 7 7 8 J 10 9 5 4 5. S A 10 2 3 Q 10 K 9 8 3 6. S 6 Q 2 8 Q 5 4 3 2 10 7 6 7. N 5 9 8 K — 8. S Q 10 8 9 Q 8 7 6 3 Win the rest A J 7 6 5 4 6 South A J

Establishing diamonds requires a 3-3 split (unlikely) so play to establish spades, which depends on a 4-3 split (likely). You can only ruff twice in hand, so concede a spade early while it is safe.

## Ding-Hwa Hsieh Wins!

These six problems were published in 2018 as a long-running contest, which is now closed. Congratulations to Ding-Hwa Hsieh (Missouri) who topped all participants with the only perfect score. Scoring was based on how many of the first eight plays on each problem matched my recommended plays, so the best possible score was 48 (8×6). Equivalent plays or transpositions were accepted as correct.

There were 49 participants, and only one attempt was allowed for each. Only those scoring 32 or higher are listed below. Ties are broken by the date and time of entry (earliest wins).

Honor Roll
RankNameLocationScore
1Ding-Hwa HsiehMissouri48
2Ben NortonEngland47
3Eddy ChoiHong Kong46
4John LuskyOregon46
5Tony ElmrothSweden43
6Jonathan MestelEngland42
7Perry GrootNetherlands42
8Nicholas GreerEngland41
9Tom SlaterEngland41
10Katalin SzentkiralyiHungary41
11Ido MoskovitsIsrael41
12Grant PeacockMaryland38
13Ufuk CotukEngland37
14Sjaak SmetsersNetherlands37
15Richard SteinCalifornia36
16Margaret ReardonEngland36
17Gareth BirdsallEngland35
18Sherman YuenSingapore35
19Charles BlairIllinois34
20Jim MundayMississippi32
21Tomasz MiauczynskiPoland32
22Jean-Baptiste CourtoisFrance32

 Quiz 8D35 Main Top Valentine’s Legacy