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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 City (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 when combined these two sports will have much 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 the fifth grade upward. By the time students reach high school, they’ll be competent skiers and marksmen, and those who excel can pursue bridge. What about students living in warm areas like Florida? No problem! They can tote their rifles on skateboards.

You too 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 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 carry $100,000 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!

Problem 1

IMPs
None Vul
S 6
H 10 9
D A K J 8 7 3 2
C K Q 8
You
West

Pass
Pass
 
North
1 D
2 D
3 NT
 
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
South
1 H
2 NT
S K Q 3
H K 5 4 2
D 5
C J 10 7 6 4
Table3 NT South

Trick
1 W
Lead
S K
2nd
6
3rd
10
4th
4

Your next lead: SSHDCC 6

Problem 2

IMPs
E-W Vul
S A Q J 7 6
H K 10
D 10 6 2
C 10 6 3
 
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
North

1 S
3 H
You
East

Pass
Pass
 
South
1 H
2 H
4 H
4 H SouthTable S 9 8 5 4
H A 6
D A J 8 3
C K 7 5

Trick
1 W
Lead
D 5
2nd
2
3rd
A
4th
Q

Your next lead: SHHDCC 5

Problem 3

IMPs
None Vul
S 6
H 8 3
D K J 10 8 5
C A K 8 5 2
You
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
 
North
1 D
3 C
5 D
 
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
 
South
2 S
4 NT
6 S
S 10 5
H K Q J 4
D Q 9 2
C Q 10 9 3
Table6 S South

Trick
1 W
Lead
H K
2nd
3
3rd
7
4th
5

Your next lead: S 10  SHDCC 3

Problem 4

IMPs
E-W Vul
S K 9 7 5 2
H 6 4
D Q 7 5
C A J 3
 
West

Pass
Pass
 
North

2 H1
3 NT
You
East

Dbl
All Pass
 
South
1 NT
Pass
3 NT SouthTable S Q J 6
H A K Q 10
D 9 8 6
C 10 9 8

Trick
1 W
Lead
H J
2nd
4
3rd
?
4th

1. Jacoby

A. Overtake; lead S Q
B. Overtake; lead S 6
C. Overtake; run hearts
D. Overtake; lead D 9
E. Overtake; lead C 10
F. Play the H 10

Problem 5

IMPs
N-S Vul
S A 4 3
H J 10 9 2
D J 8 4 2
C A 9
You
West

Dbl
All Pass
 
North

Rdbl
 
East

1 H
 
South
1 C
5 C
S K Q 10 8
H Q 8 5 3
D A K Q 9
C 2
Table5 C South

Trick
1 W
Lead
D K
2nd
2
3rd
3
4th
6

Your next lead: SSHHDC 2

Problem 6

IMPs
Both Vul
S Q 4
H K 4
D A Q J 9 8 2
C 9 8 5
 
West

Pass
All Pass
 
North
1 D
2 D
You
East
Pass
Pass
 
South
1 S
6 NT
6 NT SouthTable S J 7 2
H 10 9 8 5 3
D K 7
C 10 7 4

Trick
1 W
Lead
D 6
2nd
Q
3rd
?
4th

A. Win D K; lead S J
B. Win D K; lead S 2
C. Win D K; lead H 10
D. Win D K; lead D 7
E. Win D K; lead C 4
F. Duck smoothly

Note: South plays the D 3 at Trick 1.

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© 2006 Richard Pavlicek