Main   Challenge 8Y17 by Richard Pavlicek  

Analyses    Scores  

Beware the Ides of March

Friends, Romans, countrymen… Lend me your ears!

I come to bury declarers, not to praise them. The evil they do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

The noble Brutus hath told you the bidding was ambitious; a grievous fault that shall be punished. For Brutus is an honorable man, and together we shall defend with sterner stuff. What cause holds you to believe you can succeed?

O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, for declarers have lost all their reason. Bear with me. My heart is in the coffin with Caesar, but I must forgo due mourning to consider my opening lead. -Marcus Antonius

Julius Caesar was warned, and so are you. At least in his case, we were left with a great salad; while you might not even provide a crouton. As declarer on each of these contracts, you will do battle against Antonius (West) and Brutus (East). 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 (or as noted). For a reference see Standard American Bridge. Antonius and Brutus are aggressive and resourceful, using Roman leads (second highest of touching honors) and Roman signals (odd encourages).

In March 2007 these six problems were presented as a contest with 922 entrants from 117 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 free Cesarean births at any PavCo Clinic and a lifetime license for Nero CD-burning software. Winners must be at least 18
years of age and pregnant, or show proof of paternity. Void where prohibited by law or anywhere else I might end up in jail.

Veni, vidi, vici! Put on your toga and join me at the Forum. Et tu, Pavlicus?

Problem I

Matchpoints
None Vul
S A K 10 8
H 7 3
D A 7 5 4
C 9 4 3
Antonius
West

Pass
Pass
Dummy
North

2 C
3 NT
Brutus
East

Pass
All Pass
You
South
1 NT
2 H
Lead: C QTableEast plays C 7



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

West next leads the C 5 to the ace, and East shifts to the H 6. Your play?

A. Win H A; finesse S 10
B. Win H A; finesse S 8
C. Win H A-K-Q
D. Win H A; D A; D K-Q
E. Win H A; lead C J
F. Finesse the H 9

Problem II

Matchpoints
N-S Vul
S A Q 8 6 4 3
H Q 7 3
D 6 3
C A 6
Antonius
West
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Dummy
North
1 S
3 H
5 H
Brutus
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
You
South
2 H
4 NT1
6 H
Lead: D JTableEast plays D 7



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

1. Roman Blackwood

After winning the D A, what next?

A. Win S A; ruff spade
B. Win S A; lead spade and pitch D 2
C. Finesse the S Q
D. Win C A; C K; ruff club with H Q
E. Win C A; C K; ruff club with H 7
F. Win C A; C K; lead club and pitch D 6

Note: If you lead clubs, West follows to third round.

Problem III

Matchpoints
N-S Vul
S 7 6 5
H A K J 7 4
D A Q 10
C Q 3
Antonius
West
1 NT
2 C
Pass
Dummy
North
Dbl
Pass
4 S
Brutus
East
Pass
Pass
All Pass
You
South
Pass
3 S
Lead: C KTableEast plays C 4



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

West continues C A-J, ruffed in dummy (East plays C 7-9). What now?

A. Win S A; lead S J
B. Win S A; H A-K
C. Win S A; run D J
D. Win S A; finesse D Q
E. Finesse the S Q
F. Win H A-K; finesse S Q

Problem IV

Matchpoints
E-W Vul
S A K 6 4
H A 6 4
D A 6 4
C J 6 4
Antonius
West

Pass
All Pass
Dummy
North

4 NT
Brutus
East

Pass
You
South
1 NT
6 NT
Lead: S JTableEast plays S 2



6 NT South
S 7 5 3
H K 5 3
D K 3
C A K Q 10 9

A. Win S A; C A-K; duck spade
B. Win S A; C A-K-Q; duck spade
C. Win S A; C A-K-Q-10; duck spade
D. Win S A; all clubs; duck spade
E. Duck; win S A-K; C A-K-Q
F. Duck; win S A; C A-K-Q

Problem V

Matchpoints
Both Vul
S 2
H A J 7 2
D 5 3
C A Q J 8 5 4
Antonius
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
Dummy
North
1 C
2 C
2 H
Brutus
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
You
South
1 S
2 D
3 NT
Lead: H QTableEast plays H 4



3 NT South
S K Q 10 9 8
H 8 3
D A K 9 2
C 10 2

You duck. West continues with the H 10, won by the jack (East plays H 5). What next?

A. Lead spade to the king
B. Finesse the S 10
C. Win D K; run C 10 (win ace if covered)
D. Win D K; run C 10 (duck if covered)
E. Lead the C Q
F. Lead C 4 to the 10

Problem VI

Matchpoints
N-S Vul
S A 7 5 4
H K
D A K Q J 10
C A Q 10
Antonius
West

2 S
Pass
Pass
Dummy
North
2 C
3 D
4 S
6 D
Brutus
East
Pass
Pass
Dbl
All Pass
You
South
2 D
4 D
5 H
Lead: S 10TableEast plays S Q



6 D South
S 6 3 2
H A 8 7 5
D 9 8 6 4 3
C 2

A. Win S A; D A-K; H A (overtake); ruff heart
B. Win S A; D A-K; H A (overtake); finesse C Q
C. Win S A; D A-K; H A (overtake); finesse C 10
D. Win S A; D A-K; H K; C A; ruff club
E. Win S A; D A-K; C A; ruff club
F. Duck the first trick

Note: West has one trump.

To see how you did click

TopMain

© MMVII Richard Pavlicek