Normally it's total points at The Buchanan, but tonight with 5.5 tables it's Matchpoint. Therefore, the change in mentality is:
- Favour playing in NT and Majors
- Be aggressive in part score bidding, but don't stretch for games or slam
- In defence limit overtricks
What do you make of me and Anna's auction below, favourable vulnerability?
I opened the South hand 1♥, no problem there. Anna replied 1♠, She's not strong enough to bid 2♣ then introduce Spades later (that would be a game forcing responder's reverse), and replying 1NT denies four Spades.
After I rebid 2♥ Anna should probably pass, but with a Heart void chanced her arm with 2NT. This ought to show an invitational semi-balanced hand, something like 10-11 points with 1-2 bad Hearts, which she doesn't have.
The danger of her bidding 2NT is that I don't pass, and with my 14 point hand I planned to accept the invite, and was just trying to work out which of 3NT or 4♥ was better. At the time I wasn't sure I had definitely shown six Hearts (but actually the only hand I can have without six hearts is e.g. ♠Axx ♥AKQxx ♦xx ♣xx), so decided to confirm a sixth Heart with a creative bid, thereby giving Anna a choice of games.
I bid 3♦, showing a hand with six Hearts and four Diamonds. A bit cheeky with only three diamonds, but what's the danger? The danger was, Anna passed!
We were lucky to have landed in a semi-decent contract. The full deal was:
I got a Club lead, lost the first two tricks to the ♣AQ offside then won the third Club in dummy. Then over to the ♠AK and ♥A (throwing a Spade). That's four tricks so far. Wasn't sure whether to draw trumps with established Clubs or play a cross ruff, so to kill time tried a trump finesse. This won, and could now see my way home. Spade ruff, Heart ruff, and I have taken seven tricks and still have the ♦AK left.
I thought this was a pretty good result, but actually the analysis shows that ten tricks are available in Diamonds (if I don't draw any trumps can get one more ruff in), and even eleven in Clubs if South plays it (so can't get a trump lead). These contracts are a bit unlikely though, the real comparison is with 2♥. This ought to make I think, you lose only two Clubs and three Hearts. But results from other tables were mostly 2♥-1, so we got a good board for 3♦=.
In fact even 2NT makes if I decide to pass Anna's 2NT rebid. To hold it to eight tricks the defence needs to lead Hearts, to get their three Heart tricks and two Clubs. If they never touch Hearts declarer has plenty of tricks, and on e.g. a Spade lead the defence get only two Spades and two Clubs, so in fact 3NT probably makes.