Main   Challenge 8Y49 by Richard Pavlicek  

Analyses    Scores  

I Walk the Line

Hello, I’m Johnny Cash…

No, wait! I’m Richard — but I have a guitar case full of cash (thanks Matilda).

When I was young I remember my Father listening to the title song on the car radio. I thought it was cool, despite being baffled by part of the lyrics. Does “I keep the ends out for the tie that binds” mean he sticks out his butt cheeks when his necktie gets too tight? Whatever! Ever since I’ve been a devout fan.

In memory of the 10-time Grammy winning “Man in Black,” you have been dealt 10 black cards and become declarer in a black suit on each of these problems. Aggressive bidding may have driven you overboard, so be prepared to walk the line. And keep your eyes wide open all the time, or you’ll be going down, as sure as night is dark and day is light.

As South, choose your play from the options (A-F) 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 July 2007 these six problems were presented as a contest with 690 entrants from 110 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 are all cash. You bring the truck, and I’ll fill it! I have millions to unload before it burns, burns, burns in a ring of fire.
Winners must be at least 18 years of age. Offer void where prohibited by law, or in Interpol member countries.

You’ve got a way to keep me on your side… For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide… Now walk the line!

Problem 1

IMPs
None Vul
S Q 9 8 4
H A K 2
D Q 8 6
C K 10 5
West

2 D1
3 H
All Pass
North

Pass
3 NT
East
1 NT
2 H
Pass
South
Pass
3 C
4 C
Lead: H 10TableEast plays H 5



4 C South
S A 5 3
H 3
D 10 3
C Q 9 7 6 4 3 2

1. Jacoby

After winning the H A, what next?

A. Win H K (pitch spade); ruff heart
B. Win H K (pitch spade); run C 10
C. Win H K (pitch diamond); ruff heart
D. Win H K (pitch diamond); run C 10
E. Ruff heart; lead C Q
F. Ruff heart; lead C 3

Problem 2

IMPs
E-W Vul
S A 5 2
H A 5 4 3
D 4 3 2
C J 6 3
West
2 D
Pass
All Pass
North
Pass
3 S
East
Pass
Pass
South
2 S
4 S
Lead: D KTableEast wins D A
(overtakes)



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

East returns the D 7 to the eight, then West leads the D J (East pitches the C 8) and you ruff. Next?

A. Win S K; S A
B. Win S K; S Q
C. Win S K; C A; S A
D. Win S K; C A; H A
E. Win C A; S A
F. Win C A; H A

Problem 3

IMPs
Both Vul
S 10 9
H 7 4 3 2
D Q 10 7 5 2
C A J
West
1 C
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
Pass
2 D
3 S
East
1 H
Pass
Pass
South
Dbl
2 S
4 S
Lead: H KTableEast plays H J



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

West next wins the H A (East plays H 10) then leads the S 3, won in dummy (East plays S 7). Next?

A. Draw trumps
B. Ruff heart (high); draw trumps
C. Ruff heart (high); finesse C J
D. Ruff heart (low); finesse C J
E. Win D A; finesse C J
F. Lead the C J

Problem 4

IMPs
N-S Vul
S 3 2
H 9 8 3
D A Q 10 6
C K 10 9 8
West

2 H
All Pass
North
Pass
Dbl1
East
1 H
3 H2
South
1 S
5 C
Lead: H 4TableEast wins H A



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

1. responsive
2. obstructive

East returns the H 7. Your play?

A. Pitch a diamond
B. Ruff (high); win S A; C 10
C. Ruff (high); win C 10; ruff heart
D. Ruff (high); win C 10; C Q
E. Ruff (low); finesse D Q
F. Ruff (low); finesse D 10

Problem 5

IMPs
None Vul
S A J
H A K 10 5
D Q 7 3
C A K 4 3
West
1 D
Pass
North
Dbl
5 S
East
Pass
All Pass
South
4 S
Lead: D KTableEast plays D 5



5 S South
S K 10 9 8 7 6 5
H 2
D 9 4
C Q 6 5

West next wins the D A (East plays D 6) then shifts to the C J. Your play?

A. Win C K; S A
B. Win C K; ruff D Q; win S A
C. Win C K; ruff D Q; finesse S J
D. Win C K; ruff D Q; win H A
E. Win C Q; S A
F. Win C Q; finesse S J

Problem 6

IMPs
Both Vul
S A Q 8 6
H K J 7 5 4 3
D A J 8
C
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
1 H
4 C1
6 C
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
5 S
6 S
Lead: D 10Table



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

1. splinter

So much for walkin’. This time you ran the line. How do you justify such optimism?

A. Win D A; H A; lead S J to queen
B. Win D A; H A; lead S 7 to queen
C. Win D A; H A; lead D 6
D. Win D A; H A; ruff club
E. Play the D J
F. Play the D 8

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Credits to Johnny Cash (1932-2003) and his song “I Walk the Line.”
© 2007 Richard Pavlicek