Main   Challenge 8X65 by Richard Pavlicek  

The First Bridge Biathlon

All eyes turn to Turin this month, as the 20th Winter Olympics take center stage. Alas, noticeably missing this time will be bridge, an exhibition sport in Salt Lake (2002). I have a plan to bring it back.

If Bill Gates and Warren Buffet can start a program to teach bridge in schools, I can do the same for biathlon; and combined, these sports will have far greater appeal. Think about it! A player like Meckstroth may seem formidable today, but imagine if he were packin’ a rod and a Rodwell.

Biathlon will be required in all Phys-Ed courses from fifth grade upward. By the time students reach high school, they’ll be competent skiers and marksmen, and those who excel will pursue bridge. What about students living in warm areas like Florida? No problem! They can ride skateboards.

Now you can be a bridge biathlete, and you don’t even have to cross-dress. Start as West on Problem 1; ski over to East for Problem 2; back to West, etc. At each stop, your target is to shoot down the contract. Aim well, and choose your defense from the options listed; each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.

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

In February 2006 these six problems were presented as a contest with 1053 entrants from 111 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 two lifetime free entries in WBF Biathlon Knockouts and eight cases of .22 long rifle ammunition. Winners must be at least 18 years of age and have at least $10,000 life insurance with PavCo beneficiary. Void where not prohibited by law.

Don your skis and load your rifle! The first bridge biathlon is about to begin. On your mark! Set! Go! TopMain

Problem 1

IMPs None Vul

West
You

Pass
Pass
North

1 D
2 D
3 NT
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
South

1 H
2 NT

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

You lead the S K, partner plays the 10, and South the four.

Your next lead:  SSHDCC 6 TopMain

Problem 2

IMPs E-W Vul

West


Pass
Pass
North


1 S
3 H
East
You

Pass
Pass
South

1 H
2 H
4 H (AP)

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

Partner leads the D 5, you win the ace, and South plays the queen.

Your next lead:  SHHDCC 5 TopMain

Problem 3

IMPs None Vul

West
You

Pass
Pass
North

1 D
3 C
5 D
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South

2 S
4 NT
6 S (AP)

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

You lead the H K, partner plays the seven, and South the five.

Your next lead:  S 10  SHDCC 3 TopMain

Problem 4

IMPs E-W Vul

West


Pass
Pass
North


2 H*
3 NT
East
You

Dbl
All Pass
South

1 NT
Pass
*Jacoby

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

Partner leads the H J. How do you defend?

  1. Overtake; lead S Q
  2. Overtake; lead S 6
  3. Overtake; run hearts
  4. Overtake; lead D 9
  5. Overtake; lead C 10
  6. Play the H 10
TopMain

Problem 5

IMPs N-S Vul

West
You

Dbl
All Pass
North


Rdbl
East


1 H
South

1 C
5 C

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

You lead the D K, partner plays the three, and South the six.

Your next lead:  SSHHDC 2 TopMain

Problem 6

IMPs Both Vul

West


Pass
All Pass
North

1 D
2 D
East
You
Pass
Pass
South

1 S
6 NT

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

Partner leads the D 6, and dummy plays the queen (South will play the D 3). Your defense?

  1. Win D K; lead S J
  2. Win D K; lead S 2
  3. Win D K; lead H 10
  4. Win D K; lead D 7
  5. Win D K; lead C 4
  6. Duck smoothly

To see how you did click

TopMain

© 2006 Richard Pavlicek