TEST YOUR PAIRS PLAY

To win at pairs you need a number of qualities but perhaps the most important is the ability to concentrate equally on every board. Being able to think quickly can come in useful as well. An aggressive bidding style is essential and an understanding partner does not go amiss!

Now try your hand at these problems and see if you have got what it takes to become a champion.

Problem 1
Dealer West; Game All
                  West  North  East  South
                  1H    Pass   1NT   2S
                  ?

          West
          S  7
          H  A K 8 5 3
          D  8 7 5 4 2
          C  A K

 

Problem 2
Dealer South; Game All

                  West  North  East  South
                                     1S
                  Pass  4S     5H    5S
                  6H    ?

                           North
                        S  T 8 7 6 5 4
                        H  -
                        D  7 6
                        C  A T 7 6 2


 

Problem 3
Dealer East; North-South Game

                  West    North  East  South
                                 Pass  Pass
                  1NT(1)  Pass   Pass  ?

                  (1) 12-14


                           South
                         S  T 7 5 3
                         H  A K T 6
                         D  6 5
                         C  8 7 6

Problem 4
Dealer East; Love All
                  West  North  East  South
                               Pass  1NT (1)
                   ?

                  (1) 12-14

         West
        S  T 5
        H  K T 9 7 2
        D  K Q T 7 2
        C  2

 

Problem 5
Dealer North; East-West Game

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

                          S  9
                          H  A Q 8 6 5 3 2
                          D  9
                          C  Q J 9 6

                West   North   East   South
                       1NT (1) 4S     5H
                5S     Pass    6S     7H??!
                Dbl   All Pass
                (1) 12-14

West leads the C8 (its a singleton) and East cashes the king and ace and plays C7 which West ruffs. He exits with the D3. Can you reap any reward from your wild bidding?

 

Problem 6
North-South Game; Dealer North

                         S  Q T 9 7
                         H  9 3
                         D  Q J 8 5
                         C  Q J 4

                West   North   East   South
                       Pass    1H     Pass
                1S     Pass    2C     Pass
                2D     Pass    3NT  All Pass

What do you lead?

 

Problem 7
Game All; Dealer East

                West   North   East    South
                               1NT(1)  Pass
                Pass   2D(2)   Pass    2H
                Pass   3H      Pass    4H
               All Pass

                (1)  12-14
                (2)  Transfer

You are West; you lead the DK and this is what you see:

                          S  J 5 2
                          H  A K 9 7 6 2
                          D  9 3
                          C  K 5


                          S  Q 8 7 4
                          H  J
                          D  K Q T
                          C  Q 8 7 4 3

On your DK partner plays a discouraging D7 and declarer plays the D4. How do you continue?

(You will find the answers in below.

 

 

Answers to: Test Your Pairs Play

 



                         Problem 1

Given that partner has denied four spades, the opponents have at least a nine card spade fit. West had that in mind when he bid 3D. This was the full deal:

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

North doubled 3D and he also doubled East's correction to 3H. Declarer did well to make seven tricks but -500 was a poor score. While East might have run to 4C the real problem was caused by the 3D bid. West might double for take-out if that was available but otherwise it would be best to pass.

 

                         Problem 2

                 Did you decide to save?

                      S  T 8 7 6 5 4
                      H  --
                      D  7 6
                      C  A T 7 6 2
        S  Q                           S  --
        H  9 6 5 3 2                   H  A K J T 8 7 4
        D  A J 5 4 2                   D  Q T 9
        C  K Q                         C  J 5 4
                      S  A K J 9 3 2
                      H  Q
                      D  K 8 3
                      C  9 8 3

Provided you take advantage of the favorable club position which prevents East from gaining the lead you will escape for -500 which will be close to a top.

 


                         Problem 3

Did it occur to you to do anything?
Daniela von Arnim had a useful club in her bag and she was not going to let it go rusty for lack of use. She bid 2D promising both majors and her partner's 2H bid closed the auction.

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

    With most pairs collecting +50 for 1NT -1, making 2H
was a huge result.

 

                         Problem 4

No doubt many of you could bid 2C promising hearts and another suit.
One West player was able to bid a natural 2D which North doubled for take-out. When South converted this to penalties by passing West elected to stand his ground.  It proved to be rather slippery.

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

South's 1NT is a typical gambit flavored by users of the weak Notrump.
Declarer could only manage six tricks and +300 was a top.
The amusing part of this story is that it was usually North/South who got into trouble in diamonds. East opened 1S and South over called 2D. West passed and East reopened with a double which West was happy to pass. One East/West pair did even better. After a standard start (1S-2D-Pass-Pass) East decided to bid 2S. South now bid 3D and the axe fell from an even greater height!
Playing pairs it seems strange not to open the East hand. If the system does not allow an opening bid of 1S then we would try 2S!

 

                         Problem 5

This is a very typical Pairs problem. If the defense had cashed a spade trick you would already be four down and your score would depend on whether 6S was making and if so how many pairs bid it. Now you have a chance to escape for -500 which will surely be a top.

South placed East with the DK and went for the ruffing diamond finesse:

                     S  6 3
                     H  K J 4
                     D  A Q J 7 4
                     C  T 3 2
     S  K Q 5 4                    S  A J T 8 7 2
     H  T 9 7                      H  --
     D  K 6 5 3 2                  D  T 8
     C  8                          C  A K 7 5 4
                     S  9
                     H  A Q 8 6 5 3 2
                     D  9
                     C  Q J 9 6

South's reasoning was perhaps faulty. East could not be missing two first round controls for his 6S bid so he was surely void in hearts. He had to have at least eleven black cards and 7-0-1-5 was a very possible distribution. That should have pointed him towards the winning view.
Both 6S and 7H were poor bids but it was East who got a way with it.


                         Problem 6

If you managed to lead a club you would have won the Championship!

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

The 2C bid of east made it virtually impossible to find the winning lead.  What a way to treat your team mate and fellow World Champion!

 

                         Problem 7

A club switch gave declarer eleven tricks and a near top.

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

Declarer could ruff out the diamonds to set up one discard for a losing spade while the other went away on the
third round of clubs.
A club switch is only right when partner has at least the ace. A spade switch will work if partner has the ace or S KT but will turn out badly if declarer has S AKx. Since West knows that there is a strong possibility of South being able to set up the DJ there is a lot to be said for simply switching to the HJ, leaving declarer to do all his own work.