Main   Challenge 8X09 by Richard Pavlicek  

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Let Your Heart Be Light

“Here we are, as in olden days, happy golden days, of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us, once more.”

Yes, that’s a pretty Christmas song — except maybe the line “Make the yuletide gay,” which could use an update. Regardless of faith, however, I think we all agree there is too much hatred in the world today. Too many heavy hearts. The solution may be for people to lighten up a little; laugh at the enemy instead of killing them. Live and let live.

While the world crisis is difficult to change, being light with your heart(s) is sure to help with these defensive problems. In each case, partner leads the H K and you hold the ace. Do you signal? Or overtake? (In all cases South follows with the H 4.) As East, choose your defense from the options listed. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.

Bidding is Standard American (or as noted) and you use standard leads and signals. For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.

In December 2004 these problems were presented as a contest with 1040 entrants from 116 locations around the world. The contest is closed, but you can still quiz yourself and find your score immediately. If you’re lucky, you might even win a valuable prize.*

*Prizes include a fully decorated 20-ft. scotch pine, and a case of figgy pudding (if I ever figure out what that is). Winners must be
at least 18 years of age, named Nicholas, and be ordained Catholic saints. Employees of Saint PavCo Inc. are ineligible.

Are you ready to hang a shining star upon the highest bough? Then try this quiz, and from now on, your troubles will be miles away.

Problem 1

IMPs
None Vul
3 S South
S A 8
H 9 3
D A 9 6 5 3 2
C Q 10 4
 
West

Pass
Pass
 
North

2 D
3 S
You
East

2 H
All Pass
 
South
1 S
2 S
Lead: H KTable S Q J 7
H A Q J 10 7 2
D 4
C K J 9

Your defense?

A. Play the H Q
B. Play the H 7
C. Play the H 2
D. Overtake; lead H Q
E. Overtake; lead H 10
F. Overtake; lead D 4

Problem 2

IMPs
N-S Vul
3 NT South
S 8 4 3
H 8 3
D A K Q 8 4
C 5 3 2
 
West

2 D1
 
North

3 NT
You
East

All Pass
 
South
1 NT
Lead: H KTable S J 2
H A 2
D J 10 9 7 6
C Q J 10 8

Your defense?

1. both majors

A. Play the H 2
B. Overtake; lead S J
C. Overtake; lead S 2
D. Overtake; lead H 2
E. Overtake; lead D J
F. Overtake; lead C Q

Problem 3

IMPs
None Vul
4 S× South
S Q J 9 4
H 3
D A 5
C K Q J 9 5 2
 
West
2 H
Pass
 
North
Dbl
Pass
You
East
4 H
Dbl
 
South
4 S
All Pass
Lead: H KTable S A 6 5 3
H A 10 9
D K Q 8 6 2
C 4

Your defense?

A. Play the H 10
B. Play the H 9
C. Overtake; lead H 10
D. Overtake; lead D K
E. Overtake; lead D 6
F. Overtake; lead C 4

Problem 4

IMPs
E-W Vul
4 S South
S A 4 3
H 9 8 2
D Q J 10
C A 10 9 2
 
West

3 H
 
North

4 S
You
East
1 NT
All Pass
 
South
2 S
Lead: H KTable S K 6 5
H A J 5
D K 9 7 3
C K Q 5

Your defense?

A. Play the H J
B. Play the H 5
C. Overtake; lead S 5
D. Overtake; lead H J
E. Overtake; lead H 5
F. Overtake; lead D 3

Problem 5

IMPs
N-S Vul
5 C South
S A K Q 7
H 10 5
D 10 7 3
C A Q J 6
 
West

4 H
All Pass
 
North

Dbl
You
East
2 H
Pass
 
South
Pass
5 C
Lead: H KTable S 10 3
H A J 8 7 3 2
D 9 8 2
C K 5

Your defense?

A. Play the H J
B. Play the H 8
C. Play the H 2
D. Overtake; lead S 10
E. Overtake; lead S 3
F. Overtake; lead D 9

Problem 6

IMPs
Both Vul
6 S South
S A 4
H 9 6 5 2
D A K 8 5 2
C A 6
 
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
North

2 D
2 NT1
5 C
You
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
 
South
1 S
2 S
4 S
6 S
Lead: H KTable S 7 6
H A J 8 7 3
D J 9 4
C 10 9 2

Your defense?

1. game force

A. Play the H J
B. Play the H 8
C. Play the H 3
D. Overtake; lead S 6
E. Overtake; lead D 4
F. Overtake; lead C 10

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Credits to Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, composers of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
© 2004 Richard Pavlicek