Saturday night at the Buchanan, and it's total points scoring. There's only 3 1/2 tables, which is going to cause problems later on as no one's quite sure of the movements. The expected Director is absent, so we're going to have to muddle through ourselves.
On Board One I try and be clever and put Anna in a 4-3 Heart Fit, believing it will be better than 3NT.
Anna sitting South opens 1♦ which gets overcalled with 1♠. I'm sitting North and should probably just have bid a natural 2NT here, which Anna would raise to 3NT. But instead I bid a slightly dubious 2♣, which probably ought to show five clubs. Anna showed her hand with a reverse into 2♥, and West comes in again with 2♠.
I figured that since West had bid twice, he must have decent spades but also outside high cards, so 3NT would be a bad idea. I first bid 3♠ just in case partner had a Spade stop, but Anna could only bid 4♣. So I bid 4♥, knowing it would be a 4-3 fit.
Even with partner's bumper hearts, 4♥ is very dodgy. West led the ♠K, which declarer took with the Ace. She then cashed two rounds of trumps, then started on Diamonds. Leaving a trump in dummy is a good idea, but I think you should still go down if the defence forces you in Spades. To make it you either need hearts 3-3 I think, or only one Diamond loser. But on the actual hand, after winning a Diamond, the defence played Clubs. Declarer now just lost one Heart, One Diamond and One Spade, leading to 4♥=.
3NT actually makes easily, as West has no entry. You can duck the Spade lead twice then collect around 10 other tricks at leisure. Maybe I should have realised 4♥ wasn't going to be a great contract, as since I have three Spades it's partner who has short Spades and will be ruffing in the long trump hand.
Next hand, Anna opened a weak 3♠. The rule at aggregate scoring is "Bid game if its got any chance at all", so I topped her up.
The hands fit well. Anna gladly ruffed the club lead. She managed to somehow avoid any Diamond losers and when trumps split 2-2 she had 11 big tricks.
That's two games Anna's made for the team. In contrast, I was only allowed to play one level contracts. First I opened 1NT, which everyone passed. That's not so unusual. Then I opened 1♥ which again everyone passed. Don't worry though, I made it. Then I had a nice hand with lots of clubs so I kicked off the bidding with 1♣. Everyone passed again! Don't you trust me partner? I made it nicely, but 1♣+1 only gave us 90 points. Why do I only get to play one level contracts? Time to kick things up a notch.
Time in fact, for a master class in Reverse Benji slam bidding.
1. Eight playing tricks, with a strong suit and two outside winners.
2. Positive reply, with good spade suit.
3. My suit is diamonds.
4. How about spades for trumps?
5. No, diamonds, I already told you.
6. RKCB (in Diamonds?).
7. Showing 0/3 keycards (so must be three).
8. Excellent, any extra Kings?
9. Showing one extra King.
Here are the actual hands, which don't quite match the auction.
We've a bit of a hole in Clubs. I'd rather not be in 7NT. Where did it all go wrong? Let's look at the auction. Firstly, after partner's 5♦ I made a basic Ace-counting error. Partner showed three keycards, and I only have one, so we're actually one short. I also forgot about the Queen of trumps. But even though we're missing one keycard and the Queen of trumps, I decide to push on and ask for Kings with 5NT.
There's another mix up here with partner's 6♦ reply. I thought we were playing number of Kings, and partner had shown one (which mush be Clubs), but actually partner thinks we play specific King responses and she's denying the King of clubs. In my mind there's 13 tricks now - my top 3 spades, the AK of hearts, the top six diamonds, and the AK of clubs. So to stop the opponents getting a ruff I play it safe and bid 7NT. Partner may have bid diamonds five times, but I don't care.
There's an argument that at total points scoring it's worth having a punt at 7NT. If you figure it's only a a 50-50 that the defence will find the killing lead, then it's worth the gamble to have a 50% chance to get 2000+ points. Maybe West could infer partner had Clubs, because East never made a lead directing double of one of the other suits. To be fair though East didn't get much chance, as North has just bid Diamonds five times.