Main   Challenge 8Y41 by Richard Pavlicek  

Waltzing with Matilda

Congratulations! You’ve been hired by Matilda Mayer to be her partner at the Sun Valley Regional. After 40 years of bridge playing, Matilda is nearing her goal of Life Master, and this could be her moment.

Money is no object! The meat-packing heiress (eldest daughter of Oscar) will endow you for life if you can put her over. No pressure there! Alas, Matilda knows about as much about playing bridge as you do about packing bologna. If you fail, you may end up as her chauffeur, driving an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Matilda is eager to play all the bracketed knockouts, as her friends tell her that free masterpoints are available, courtesy of the ACBL’s going-out-of-business sale. With you as her partner she has high hopes, needing only 20 points — fewer than the carats of her ring!

Luck of the draw keeps your team out of the top bracket (slipping a C-note to the Director didn’t hurt either). In your first match, you end up defending a lot, and six of those deals are presented here. Matilda’s opening lead and the early play are given. As East, choose your defense 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 my summary of Standard American Bridge. Assume opponents are experts. Matilda, however, is pretty bad. You can rely on her opening lead to be the proper card, but little else. The only signal she knows is “high if you want me.”

In June 2007 these six problems were presented as a contest with 763 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 include a flawless 25-carat diamond ring (cut by PavCo Diamonds) and a lifetime supply of Oscar Mayer wieners. Winners must be at least 18 years of age and all beef, without fillers. Void in Idaho, Illinois, 48 other states, and non-US habitats.

After giving Matilda a pep talk, you sit down against your first opponents. “Hello.” says Matilda, “Nice to meat you.” TopMain

Problem 1

IMPs None Vul

West
Matilda
1 D
2 D
All Pass
North

Pass
2 H*
East
You
1 H
Pass
South

1 NT
2 S
*transfer to spades

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

Partner leads D K-A-3. South follows D 5-Q-J. You pitch the C 3 then ruff the third round. What next?

  1. Win S A; lead S 4
  2. Win S A; lead H J
  3. Win S A; lead C 10
  4. Lead the S 4
  5. Lead the H J
  6. Lead the C 10
TopMain

Problem 2

IMPs E-W Vul

West
Matilda

Pass
North


3 NT
East
You

All Pass
South

1 NT

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

Partner leads the H 5, ducked in dummy. Your play? What if declarer next wins the S A and leads the C 10?

  1. H Q; cover C 10 (king)
  2. H Q; cover C 10 (jack)
  3. H Q; duck C 10
  4. H 10; cover C 10 (king)
  5. H 10; cover C 10 (jack)
  6. H 10; duck C 10
TopMain

Problem 3

IMPs N-S Vul

West
Matilda

2 S
3 S
North


Dbl
Dbl
East
You

2 NT
Pass
South

Pass
Pass
4 H (AP)

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

Partner leads the S J, you win the ace, and South plays the four. What next?

  1. Lead the S 7
  2. Win H A; lead S 7
  3. Win H A; lead H 2
  4. Lead the H 2
  5. Lead the D 7
  6. Lead the C 3
TopMain

Problem 4

IMPs None Vul

West
Matilda
3 H
Pass
North

Pass
Pass
East
You
4 H
Dbl
South

4 S
All Pass

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

Partner leads the D 3. (South plays the D K.) Your defense?

  1. Win D A; S A
  2. Win D A; lead S 3
  3. Win D A; lead H Q
  4. Win D A; lead D 10
  5. Win D A; lead D 5
  6. Duck the first trick
TopMain

Problem 5

IMPs N-S Vul

West
Matilda

4 S
North

Pass
5 H
East
You
2 S
All Pass
South

4 H

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

Partner leads the S J. (South plays the S 6.) Your defense?

  1. Overtake; lead S 8
  2. Overtake; lead H 4
  3. Overtake; lead D 3
  4. Overtake; lead C 6
  5. Play the S 9
  6. Play the S 2
TopMain

Problem 6

IMPs E-W Vul

West
Matilda
2 S
Pass
All Pass
North

Pass
5 H
East
You
Pass
Pass
South

4 H
6 H

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

Partner leads the S K. How do you defend?

  1. Ruff; lead H J
  2. Ruff; lead D A
  3. Ruff; lead D 7
  4. Ruff; lead C 6
  5. Pitch the D 9
  6. Pitch the C 6

To see how you did click

TopMain

© 2007 Richard Pavlicek