Main   Challenge 8X09 by Richard Pavlicek  

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 all will agree there is too much hatred in the world today. Too many heavy hearts. The solution may be for people to lighten up; laugh at the enemy instead of killing them. Live and let live.

The world crisis is difficult to change, but being light with your heart(s) is sure to help on these problems. In each case, partner leads the H K, and you hold the ace. Do you signal? Or overtake? As East, simply choose your play. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale, per my judgment.

Bidding is standard (or as noted) and you use standard leads and signals. For a reference, see my summary of Standard American Bridge (note expanded carding section). Assume all players are experts. If you overtake, South plays the H 4.

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 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. TopMain

Problem 1

IMPs None Vul

West


Pass
Pass
North


2 D
3 S
East
You

2 H
All Pass
South

1 S
2 S

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

West leads the H K. As East, how do you defend?

  1. Play the H Q
  2. Play the H 7
  3. Play the H 2
  4. Overtake; lead H Q
  5. Overtake; lead H 10
  6. Overtake; lead D 4
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Problem 2

IMPs N-S Vul

West


2 D*
North


3 NT
East
You

All Pass
South

1 NT
*both majors

3 NT South
S 8 4 3
H 8 3
D A K Q 8 4
C 5 3 2
TableS J 2
H A 2
D J 10 9 7 6
C Q J 10 8

West leads the H K. As East, how do you defend?

  1. Play the H 2
  2. Overtake; lead S J
  3. Overtake; lead S 2
  4. Overtake; lead H 2
  5. Overtake; lead D J
  6. Overtake; lead C Q
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Problem 3

IMPs None Vul

West

2 H
Pass
North

Dbl
Pass
East
You
4 H
Dbl
South

4 S
All Pass

4 S× South
S Q J 9 4
H 3
D A 5
C K Q J 9 5 2
TableS A 6 5 3
H A 10 9
D K Q 8 6 2
C 4

West leads the H K. As East, how do you defend?

  1. Play the H 10
  2. Play the H 9
  3. Overtake; lead H 10
  4. Overtake; lead D K
  5. Overtake; lead D 6
  6. Overtake; lead C 4
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Problem 4

IMPs E-W Vul

West


3 H
North


4 S
East
You
1 NT
All Pass
South

2 S

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

West leads the H K. As East, how do you defend?

  1. Play the H J
  2. Play the H 5
  3. Overtake; lead S 5
  4. Overtake; lead H J
  5. Overtake; lead H 5
  6. Overtake; lead D 3
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Problem 5

IMPs N-S Vul

West


4 H
All Pass
North


Dbl
East
You
2 H
Pass
South

Pass
5 C

5 C South
S A K Q 7
H 10 5
D 10 7 3
C A Q J 6
TableS 10 3
H A J 8 7 3 2
D 9 8 2
C K 5

West leads the H K. As East, how do you defend?

  1. Play the H J
  2. Play the H 8
  3. Play the H 2
  4. Overtake; lead S 10
  5. Overtake; lead S 3
  6. Overtake; lead D 9
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Problem 6

IMPs Both Vul

West


Pass
Pass
Pass
North


2 D
2 NT*
5 C
East
You

Pass
Pass
Pass
South

1 S
2 S
4 S
6 S (AP)
*game force

6 S South
S A 4
H 9 6 5 2
D A K 8 5 2
C A 6
TableS 7 6
H A J 8 7 3
D J 9 4
C 10 9 2

West leads the H K. As East, how do you defend?

  1. Play the H J
  2. Play the H 8
  3. Play the H 3
  4. Overtake; lead S 6
  5. Overtake; lead D 4
  6. Overtake; lead C 10

To see how you did click

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