A test of skill for the holiday season

December 21, 1964

Here is a chance to find out if your game needs polishing. Below are 10 problems in bidding and two in play, plus two special puzzles. If you score 50 points or more, your opponents should beware. A score of 35 or more is creditable, but to those who get fewer—well, a Merry Christmas anyway

1 As South you hold:

[Jack of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Spade]
2 [Spade]
3 [Diamond]

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

2 [Heart]
2 N.T.
?

WEST

PASS
PASS

What do you bid now?

2 As South you hold:

[Jack of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

PASS
?

WEST
PASS

NORTH
1 [Diamond]

EAST
DOUBLE

What do you bid now?

3 As South you hold:

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
2 [Heart]
?

WEST

PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Diamond]
3 N.T.

EAST

PASS
PASS

What do you bid now?

4 As South you hold:

[Queen of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[Queen of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

SOUTH

1 [Spade]
?

WEST
PASS

NORTH
2 [Club]

EAST
PASS

What do you bid now?

5 As South you hold:

[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]

NORTH

PASS
1 [Spade]

EAST

PASS
PASS

SOUTH

1 [Club]
?

WEST
PASS

What do you bid now?

6 As South you hold:

[Ace of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

WEST

1 [Spade]
PASS

NORTH

PASS
2 [Club]

EAST

1 N.T.
PASS

SOUTH

DOUBLE
?

What do you bid now?

7 As South you hold:

[8 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[7 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH
2 N.T.

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

WEST

What do you bid?

8 As South you hold:

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 [Diamond]
?

WEST
PASS

NORTH
1 [Spade]

EAST
PASS

What do you bid now?

9 As South you hold:

[2 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

PASS
1 N.T.
4 [Heart]
?

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS

NORTH

1 [Spade]
2 [Heart]
5 [Heart]

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

What do you bid now?

10 As South you hold:

[King of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 N.T.
2 [Diamond]
?

WEST

PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Club]
2 [Spade]

EAST

PASS
PASS

What do you bid now?

Now for some problems on play

11 These are the cards of West and East:

WEST

[King of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

EAST

[Ace of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

EAST

1 N.T.
PASS

SOUTH

PASS
PASS

WEST
6 N.T.

NORTH
PASS

South leads the 10 of clubs, to which North follows suit. How should East plan to bring home the slam?

12 These are the cards of West and East:

WEST

[Ace of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

EAST

[Queen of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

EAST

1 [Diamond]
1 N.T.
3 N.T.

SOUTH

PASS
PASS
PASS

WEST

1 [Heart]
2 N.T.
PASS

NORTH

PASS
PASS
PASS

South leads the 6 of spades, dummy plays low, and North produces the jack. How should East plan the play?

The next two hands may keep you busy from Christmas to New Year's. The first was devised 36 years ago by Sidney Lenz as a gimmick for a shaving-cream concern. The second, the Whitfield Six, has confounded even expert players for 73 years. Give yourself five points for solving either, 15 if you can solve both.

NORTH

[5 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

WEST

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[9 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[— of Clubs]

EAST

[8 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[6 of Clubs]

Hearts are trumps. West leads the queen of clubs. Win all the tricks.

NORTH

[— of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

WEST

[Queen of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[— of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

SOUTH

[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[— of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[10 of Clubs]

EAST

[Jack of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[— of Hearts]
[10 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[8 of Clubs]

Hearts are trumps. South leads. North-South are to win all six tricks.

THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE

1
3 SPADES—5 PTS. 3 NO TRUMP—3 PTS. 3 HEARTS—1 PT.

It seems that none of our high cards are wasted and we should suspect that game is within reach. However, partner may have six spades and four diamonds, in which case a contract of four spades probably will be superior to three no trump.

2
REDOUBLE—5 PTS. 3 DIAMONDS—3 PTS. 1 SPADE—1 PT.

With 12 points in support of diamonds it behooves us to redouble. It is of course our intention to support diamonds at the next opportunity. Three diamonds over the takeout double leaves partner in the dark with respect to the actual strength of our hand. One spade is likely to work well only when it matches a four-card fit in partner's hand, which is unlikely.

3
4 NO TRUMP—5 PTS. 6 NO TRUMP—2 PTS. PASS—2 PTS.

After partner's jump into three no trump there is a definite slam aroma in the air. Interest should be manifested by a bid of four no trump, which is not Blackwood since there is no agreed suit. If partner has maximum values he is at liberty to contract for slam. Bids of six no trump and pass afford partner no opportunity to participate in the final decision.

4
3 CLUBS—5 PTS. 2 DIAMONDS—2 PTS.

You have the material for a raise in clubs, since the void suit is worth five points in support of partner. To defer the raise by bidding two diamonds first will lead partner to believe that your club support is rather shabby, when in fact it is excellent.

5
2 HEARTS—5 PTS. 3 CLUBS—3 PTS.

To bid a four-card suit before rebidding a good six-card minor may seem questionable, but the quality of the heart suit steers us in this direction. If partner raises hearts or calls no trump we shall proceed to game. The jump in clubs is a reasonable alternate but misses the mark if partner fails to bid no trump for lack of a heart guard.

6
PASS—5 PTS. 3 CLUBS-1 PT.

In view of the bidding by the opposition, partner may have been dragged into the fray with very little, and a discreet pass is indicated. A gentle raise to three clubs may seem harmless, but it is quite possible that partner has spades and has been constrained to bid a three-card club suit in response to our takeout double.

7
6 NO TRUMP—5 PTS. 6 HEARTS—3 PTS. 5 HEARTS—2 PTS.

Partner's two-no-trump opening marks him with the king of hearts, and it appears that he should have a reasonable chance to bring home 12 tricks. We prefer no trump to hearts in case partner has a guarded king which needs protection against the adversities of the opening lead.

8
2 SPADES—5 PTS. 2 CLUBS—3 PTS. 1 NO TRUMP—1 PT.

We do not consider the lack of a fourth trump an obstacle against a raise in spades. Although worth 16 points, our hand is a minimum opening; and since we have adequate support for spades, the two-spade bid is attractive. Two clubs is worth considering but may result in a spade game being missed if partner has length in that suit, plus a key card or two.

9
6 HEARTS—5 PTS. PASS—1 PT.

The key to the auction is partner's failure to cue-bid five diamonds or five clubs. This indicates that he is not interested in your holdings in these suits and must, therefore, be interested in spades and hearts. Since you have strong trump support and a singleton spade, you should bid the slam forthwith.

10
4 SPADES—5 PTS. 3 SPADES—3 PTS. 2 NO TRUMP—2 PTS. PASS—1 PT.

Although your hand is worth only 17 points in high cards, you have a doubleton heart and all your values are in control cards. These are factors which should persuade you to upgrade your hand now that you know partner wishes to play in spades. A raise to three spades is appealing and does not preclude a final contract of three no trump.

11
DRAW NORTH'S CLUBS, THEN TAKE A HEART FINESSE—5 PTS.

The hand offers a rich variety of plays for a 12th trick. One could not be severely criticized for simply taking two heart finesses—a 75% chance—in an attempt to secure the contract.

However, you can convert this 75% chance into certainty by the simple expedient of removing North's clubs before taking a heart finesse. If four rounds of clubs arc necessary to achieve this, dummy throws the 8 of hearts on the fourth round. East now leads the jack of hearts and lets it ride if South plays low. North wins but has to lead into one of three tenace positions in the West hand, giving declarer a free finesse for his 12th trick.

Give yourself 3 points even if you took a heart finesse before cashing out the clubs, provided you cashed all your other winners before taking a second heart finesse. Such a sequence of play affords you some secondary possibilities.

North's actual hand is: spades Q 6 3, hearts K Q 4, diamonds J 9 8 7, clubs 8 7 6.

12
PERMIT NORTH'S JACK TO WIN THE FIRST TRICK—5 PTS.

Unless North is playing a very deep game by holding back with the spade king, this is the best way to increase your chances.

Declarer must set up his diamond suit, so he should take a precaution against a 5-2 spade division. By ducking the opening lead, declarer prevents South from bringing in his long spade suit unless he has both diamond honors. Suppose North returns a spade, assuring you of two tricks in the suit; when you drive out one of the diamond honors, North either has no spade to return or the suit will originally have been divided 4-3. In either case you make your contract.

It is not likely that North, having won the first trick, will shift. Should he do so, you can always finesse for the king of spades yourself.

South's actual hand is: spades K 9 8 6 2, hearts 3 2, diamonds K 7 6, clubs Q 9 5. Notice that if East wins the first trick with the spade queen, North will take care to win the first round of diamonds and return a spade, and East will still have to let South into the lead with the diamond king.

AS FOR THOSE PUZZLES...

On the Lenz hand, South discards a diamond on the ace of clubs, and North leads the club king.

1) If East trumps, South overruffs, cashes the spade ace, ruffs out West's spade king, and North leads trumps to pick up East's queen.

2) If East discards a spade, South ruffs, trumps out West's spade king, leads a heart from North for a winning finesse and cashes his good spades. North is put in with a diamond to lead a club for South to ruff. A second diamond puts North in and East's trumps are couped.

3) If East discards a diamond, South discards a spade. A heart is led for a finesse, dummy is reentered with a top diamond for a second heart finesse, and South runs all his trumps. West is squeezed in three suits.

On the Whitfield Six, South leads the diamond king and North plays the diamond jack! A spade lead is ruffed with the heart 7, and North leads the heart 8. East throws the club 8, South the club 10. West cannot safely discard other than the spade queen. North leads the club ace. If East discards the spade jack, South discards the diamond 9 and wins the last two tricks with his remaining diamond and spade. If East discards the diamond 8, South discards his spade leaving him with two good diamonds.

ILLUSTRATION PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)