Main   Challenge 8X33 by Richard Pavlicek  

Par for the Course

Besides playing golf, what do Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson have in common? Answer: They would all flunk this quiz! (I think.) But then; you wouldn’t do so well either in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

Here’s your chance to make a run — at least for the first six holes — where you will play four Par 4’s, a Par 5 and a Par 3, just as on the Pinehurst No. 2 course. Level par is great, so don’t expect any birdies.

As declarer, your goal is to find the best play to make each of the following contracts. Simply choose your play from the options (A-F) listed; each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment. Try to stay clear of the bunkers!

Bidding is Standard American and your opponents use standard leads and signals. For a reference on these agreements, see my outline of Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.

In June 2005 these six problems were presented as a contest with 966 entrants from 115 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 three sets of uranium-shafted clubs, and six dozen plutonium-core balls. Winners must be at least 18 years of age and have won at least one “major,” and I don’t mean hearts or spades. Employees of PavCo Shafts ‘R’ Us are ineligible.

Get a move on! Your name was just announced, so you better head over to the first tee. A solid drive in the fairway should leave you just a short iron to the green. Fore! TopMain

Problem 1

Par 4 (401 yds)

IMPs, None Vul

West

2 H
All Pass
North
1 D
3 S
East
Pass
4 H
South
1 S
4 S

4 S South
S Q 9 3 2
H Q
D A Q J 10 5 2
C A 5
Lead: H KTableEast plays H 7
S K J 10 8
H 10 4 2
D K 7
C J 9 3 2

West continues with the H A. Your play?

  1. Ruff; win S J; lead S 10
  2. Ruff; win S J; ruff heart
  3. Ruff; win S J; run diamonds
  4. Ruff; win D K; ruff heart
  5. Ruff; run diamonds
  6. Pitch a club
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Problem 2

Par 4 (469 yds)

IMPs, N-S Vul

West

2 S
Pass
North

3 H
Pass
East
1 NT
3 S
Dbl
South
2 H
4 H
All Pass

4 H× South
S 7 6 4 3
H J 10
D 5 4 2
C A K 4 2
Lead: S QTableEast wins S K
S 8
H K Q 7 6 4 2
D A Q
C 9 6 5 3

East continues with the S A. Your play?

  1. Ruff; win H J; lead H 10
  2. Ruff; win H J; finesse D Q
  3. Ruff; win H J; C A-K
  4. Ruff; win C A-K
  5. Ruff; duck a club
  6. Pitch a club
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Problem 3

Par 4 (336 yds)

IMPs, E-W Vul

West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 D
3 S
East

Pass
Pass
South
1 S
2 S
4 S

4 S South
S Q 2
H A 2
D K 8 6 4 2
C Q 7 6 3
Lead: H 9Table
S K J 9 8 7 6
H K 10 3
D A 7
C 4 2

East plays H J when H 2 is played (or H 7 on ace). Your play?

  1. Win H A; H K; ruff heart
  2. Win H A; D A; D K; ruff diamond
  3. Win H K; lead S J
  4. Win H K; lead S 6
  5. Win H K; D A; D K; ruff diamond
  6. Win H K; lead a club
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Problem 4

Par 5 (565 yds)

IMPs, Both Vul

West
Pass
2 S
Pass
North
1 H
Dbl
5 C
East
1 S
Pass
All Pass
South
Pass
4 C

5 C South
S 10 3
H A Q J 7 5
D Q J 2
C A K Q
Lead: C 2TableEast pitches S 7
S 9 5 2
H 2
D A 10 5
C J 10 7 6 4 3

After winning the C A, how do you play?

  1. Lead the S 10
  2. Lead the S 3
  3. Win H A; run H Q
  4. Run the D Q
  5. Finesse D 10; lead a spade
  6. Finesse D 10; finesse H Q
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Problem 5

Par 4 (472 yds)

IMPs, N-S Vul

West

2 S
Pass
North
1 D
Pass
4 H
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 H
3 C

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

West finds another great trump lead! Your play?

  1. Win H A; finesse D Q; finesse S Q
  2. Win H A; finesse D Q; lead a club
  3. Win H A; lead a club
  4. Win H Q; finesse S Q; finesse D Q
  5. Win H Q; finesse S Q; lead a club
  6. Win H Q; lead a club
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Problem 6

Par 3 (220 yds)

IMPs, E-W Vul

West

Pass
Pass
North

1 H
3 NT
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
1 C
1 NT

3 NT South
S K 6 2
H Q J 3 2
D Q 7 4
C A J 9
Lead: S JTableEast plays S 8
S A 9 4
H A K 4
D 8 5 3
C Q 8 3 2

Finally, a notrump bid! Your play?

  1. Win S K; H K; run C Q
  2. Win S K; H K; finesse C J
  3. Win S K; run hearts
  4. Win S A; run C Q
  5. Win S A; finesse C J
  6. Win S A; finesse C 9

To see how you did click

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Acknowledgments to the USGA. Golfer pictured is Tiger Woods.
© 2005 Richard Pavlicek