Main   Quiz 8L11 by Richard Pavlicek  

Calling a Spade a Spade

When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it!

Playing against Sam Spade, you find yourself on lead against 10 straight spade contracts. Choose the best leads and you will win a priceless black bird, or at least a few falcon IMPs. Decide the card you would lead and enter its suit and rank. For example, if you would lead the H A, type HA.

Compare your choice with the two experts who faced the exact same situation in real life and led differently. Click “Score Me” at any time to see your running score. If you finish plus after 10 boards, you’re a falcon hero!

Problem 1

IMPsBoth VulWest
Pass
Rdbl
Dbl
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
Pass
Pass
South
Dbl
1 S
Pass


S K J 8 2
H A 9
D K 6 5 2
C 10 9 6
Table

Your lead against 1 S×        


In real life…

1997 USBC Playoff, Nickell vs Katz

1 S× South S Q 10 5
H 8 6 2
D J 9 7 4
C J 8 5
S K J 8 2
H A 9
D K 6 5 2
C 10 9 6
Table S 7 6
H Q J 10 5 4 3
D A 8
C A Q 7
West leadsS A 9 4 3
H K 7
D Q 10 3
C K 4 3 2

Nick Nickell led the C 10. Down 2, +500.
Ralph Katz led the H A. Down 1, +200.

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Problem 2

IMPsE-W VulWest

Pass
Pass
Pass
North

1 NT
2 S
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 S
2 H
Pass


S K 10 6 5
H K J 9 4
D 7 6 5
C K 4
Table

Your lead against 2 S        


In real life…

2000 USBC Semifinal, Jacobs vs Nickell

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

Howard Weinstein led the D 5. Down 2, +100.
Bob Hamman led the C K. Down 1, +50.

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Problem 3

IMPsN-S VulWest

Pass
Pass
North

2 H
Pass
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 NT
2 S


S 9 4
H K 8 3 2
D K Q 10
C 9 8 4 2
Table

Your lead against 2 S        


In real life…

2001 Bermuda Bowl Final, Norway vs USA

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

Geir Helgemo led the D K. Down 2, +200.
Alan Sontag led the C 9. Made 2, -110.

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Problem 4

IMPsN-S VulWest

2 H
Pass
North

Dbl
Pass
East

3 H
Pass
South
Pass
3 S


S J 2
H A 9 7 6 5 2
D 10 6 3
C K 3
Table

Your lead against 3 S        


In real life…

2002 USBC Semifinal, Schwartz vs Welland

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

David Berkowitz led the D 3. Down 1, +100.
Fred Gitelman led the H 7. Made 3, -140.

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Problem 5

IMPsNone VulWest

Pass
North

Pass
East
1 C
Pass
South
2 S


S J 9
H K Q 4
D K 10 8 5 4 3
C 10 6
Table

Your lead against 2 S        


In real life…

2004 Vanderbilt Final, Jacobs vs Schwartz

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

Alfredo Versace led the H K. Down 2, +100.
Steve Robinson led the C 10. Made 2, -110.

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Problem 6

IMPsN-S VulWest
1 D
2 C
Pass
North
Pass
2 S
East
1 H
Pass
South
1 S
Pass


S 2
H Q 4
D A Q 9 6 2
C A 9 8 4 2
Table

Your lead against 2 S        


In real life…

2004 USBC Quarterfinal, Cayne vs Nickell

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

Sidney Lazard led the H Q. Down 3, +300.
Bob Hamman led the C 2. Down 1, +100.

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Problem 7

IMPsNone VulWest

Pass
Pass
Pass
North
Pass
1 NT
4 S
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
3 S
Pass


S 8 6 5
H A Q 10 5
D K 9
C 9 8 7 5
Table

Your lead against 4 S        


In real life…

2004 Olympiad Quarterfinal, Ireland vs Netherlands

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

Hugh McGann led the D K. Down 1, +50.
Sjoert Brink led the S 6. Made 4, -420.

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Problem 8

IMPsBoth VulWest

Pass
Pass
North
1 D
2 S
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
4 S


S 5 3
H 9 8 6 4
D 4 2
C A 10 9 7 4
Table

Your lead against 4 S        


In real life…

2009 USBC Round of 16, Robinson vs Strul

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

Peter Boyd led the H 6. Made 4, -620.
Lew Stansby led the D 4. Made 6, -680.

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Problem 9

IMPsBoth VulWest

Pass
Pass
Pass
North

3 H
4 D
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 NT
3 S
4 S


S 8 7 2
H A 9 7 6 3
D 8 7
C J 9 4
Table

Your lead against 4 S        


In real life…

2009 Bermuda Bowl Final, USA2 vs Italy

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

Jeff Meckstroth led the C 4. Made 4, -620.
Giorgio Duboin led the S 2. Made 6, -680.

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Problem 10

IMPsN-S VulWest

Dbl
Pass
North

Pass
Pass
East
1 C
2 H
Pass
South
1 S
2 S


S J 7 3
H Q 7 6 4
D 6 5
C K J 10 7
Table

Your lead against 2 S        


In real life…

2009 Bermuda Bowl Qualifying, Argentina vs Brazil

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

Carlos Pelligrini led the C 10. Made 3, -140.
Gabriel Chagas led the S 3. Made 5, -200.

Results and IMP scores are determined from actual play, so the winning lead is not necessarily correct in theory nor proves anything. This is the way it happened! Scoring gives full credit (plus IMPs) to any lead that would have worked as well as the winning lead.

If you finished with plus IMPs, I’m sorry to inform you: I just ran out of priceless black birds, so you’ll have to settle for a rubber ducky. No, wait! I’m out of them too, so take your falcon IMPs and get out of here!

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© 2009 Richard Pavlicek
Credits to Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) and The Maltese Falcon
Photo is Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in the 1941 film classic