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The Twelfth of Never

Never is a long, long time!

You ask me why I bid six… must I explain?
I try to crush my ego… and torture my brain.
You ask me how I’d play this… I’ll tell you true:
Twelve tricks may be never… I have not a clue.


I’ll ruff out all my losers… ‘til trumps run dry.
I’ll set up dummy’s side suit… its deuce will be high.
I’ll throw in my opponent… but I don’t know why.
Life is just eleven… twelve tricks pass me by.

Hopefully, you play slam contracts better than I write lyrics, and here’s your chance to prove it! Six slams, and all you have to do is find a twelfth trick on each. As South, simply choose your play from the options listed. Each option will be rated on a 1-to-10 scale per my judgment.

Bidding is standard, and your opponents use standard leads and signals. For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Assume all players are experts.

In August 2006 these six problems were presented as a contest with 1001 entrants from 111 locations. 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 12 days with Tinkerbell in Never Never Land, or 12 nights with Michael at the Neverland Ranch.
Winners must be at most 18 years of age. Employees of PavCo Nevermind Scams are ineligible.

Come on, you can do it! And pay attention, or “The Twelfth of Never” will be your theme song. Never say never!

Problem 1

IMPs
E-W Vul
S A Q 10 6 5 4 2
H Q J
D A
C Q J 10
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 S
2 S
5 C
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
3 C
6 C
Lead: D KTableEast plays D 8



6 C South
S
H A 7 6
D 9 4
C A 9 8 7 6 5 4 3

You win the D A, cash the S A (pitching H 6) and ruff a spade as both follow low. What next?

A. Ruff diamond; ruff spade; win C A
B. Ruff diamond; ruff spade; lead C 5
C. Ruff diamond; run H Q
D. Ruff diamond; run C Q
E. Win the C A
F. Lead the C 4

Problem 2

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

Pass
Pass
North
2 C
2 H
6 D
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
South
2 D
3 D
Lead: H 10TableEast plays H 3



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

After winning the H A, what next?

A. Win D A; D J; lead H 7
B. Win D A; D J-10; lead S 10
C. Win D A; D J-10; finesse S J
D. Win D A; C A; D J; lead H 7
E. Win D A; C A; D J; ruff club
F. Win C A; D J; lead H 7

Note: West has three trumps.

Problem 3

IMPs
None Vul
S K
H J 7 6 4
D A 6 4
C A 10 4 3 2
West

5 S
North

6 H
East
4 S
All Pass
South
5 H
Lead: S 4TableEast plays S A



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

You ruff with the H 9 and cash the H A (East pitches S 5). What next?

A. Win H J; lead C 2 to queen
B. Win H J; lead C 2 to nine
C. Win C A; D A
D. Win C A; lead C 2
E. Run the C Q
F. Run the C 9

Problem 4

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

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 D
2 S
5 H
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
4 NT
6 S
Lead: S 3TableEast plays S 2



6 S South
S A K Q J
H A K 3
D 5 2
C Q 7 4 2

After winning the S J, what next?

A. Win H A; ruff heart; draw trumps
B. Win H A; ruff heart; win D A-K
C. Win H A; ruff heart; lead D 4
D. Win H A; ruff heart; lead C 3
E. Win D A; lead C 3
F. Duck a diamond

Problem 5

IMPs
N-S Vul
S Q 5
H K J 10 4 2
D A K 10 2
C A K
West

Pass
Pass
North

Dbl
6 NT
East
2 S
Pass
All Pass
South
Pass
3 NT
Lead: C QTableEast plays C 2



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

After winning the C A, what next?

A. Lead S Q (king, ace); H A-Q; finesse D 10
B. Lead S Q (covered) and duck
C. Win H A; overtake H Q; run hearts
D. Win H A-Q; D A; run hearts
E. Win H A-Q; finesse D 10
F. Win H A-Q; C K; run hearts

Problem 6

IMPs
Both Vul
S K J 9 8 3
H A 2
D J
C A J 8 7 3
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 S
4 C
4 H
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
4 D
6 C
Lead: H KTableEast plays H 9



6 C South
S A 10
H 6 5
D K Q 7 4
C K 10 6 5 2

After winning the H A, what next?

A. Win S A-K; ruff spade with C K
B. Win S A-K; ruff spade with C 10
C. Win S A-K; ruff spade with C 6
D. Draw trumps; win S A-K; run S J
E. Draw trumps; win S A-K; ruff spade
F. Draw trumps; win S A; finesse S J

Note: West has two trumps. Both follow low on spade leads.

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Acknowledgments to Jerry Livingston, composer of the title song
© 2006 Richard Pavlicek