Martin brought a bridge table and bidding boxes, John made a stew. What a day! We played rubber bridge. Twice in the first few hands John and Martin made games and claimed extra points for honours, and Anna said Rubber Bridge was stupid. Once you already have a part score, like 1NT= for 40, there's no point bidding anything that scores more than 60 points unless you're interested in slam. So, bids like 3♥ become slam invites. That's the theory anyway, often the team with a part score forgot they had a part score, which John scrupulously alerted each time.
Me and Anna lost the first two rubbers heavily, despite the occasional victory in making 2♦x= and 2♥x=. Then we had the following strange auction:
I opened 1♦ and West overcalled 1NT. East bid 2♣ as Stayman, and I boldly weighed in again with 2♦, with a good six card suit. Then West doubled. At the time it wasn't clear what that double meant, and East-West went on to play 3♥. Afterwards though we all thought that the double should be penalties, as West has already shown a good Diamond stop with 1NT.
A similar auction happened later:
I dealt myself the tasty South cards. We do now play three Weak Twos so I could have opened 2♦. Given I have such short Majors, I also considered 3♦, but with partner being an unpassed hand decided not to risk her wrath. I went for a modest pass, planning to weigh in again later to show both my minors.
West opened 1NT showing 15-17 (it's the only option in Rubber Bridge apparently), and East bid 2♣ Stayman. I want to get involved now, and can see three ways to do it. The tamest is just to double, showing Clubs. I could also overcall 2♦. Lastly, I could bid 2NT, which would show minors. At unfavourable vulnerability I chose the middle road, and bid 2♦. West doubled, and East left it in.
West led the ♠K, and Anna rather bashfully put dummy down. It's rather poor, with just one trump. The upside is that the opponents having eight Spades and 25 points (and the Diamond finesse is sure to work) so you know they have a game on. I can't remember the hand diagram exactly, but the North and South hands are right.
There's only four obvious losers - two trumps, a Club and a Heart. And with the strong Club suit I've got enough winners too. The problem is, I'm going to lose trump control. I've got two more trumps than West, but I'm going to have to lose the lead four times. Once on opening lead, twice on drawing trumps, and once on losing the ♣A. Even if the opponents run out of Hearts after making me ruff three times (and then have to play Spades), ruffing three times is still too many, as I have only two more trumps than West. I should always come away with at least six tricks though - four trumps, a Club and the Spade Ace.
If I concentrate on Clubs, without drawing trumps, it doesn't help me keep control. Each time West ruffs a Club he can just play a major suit to make me ruff once more. And it might even be that East ruffs the Club. The final option is to try not to establish Clubs, and just ruff lots of times in my hand, but I think that fails from lack of entries to dummy.
I got a Spade lead. This is a slight reprieve, as I don't have to ruff straight away, but doesn't really help. I still have to lose the lead three more times. My only hope is that one of the trumps is onside, so I began with a trump to the ♦9. West could duck this, but it's dangerous to duck too many trumps, as then I might be able to start on Clubs and force her to ruff with top trumps.
West won the ♦Q and returned a Heart, which I ruffed. I played a Club to East's Ace, and John went into a think. The defence have taken four tricks so far:
He made his first blunder of the day (since revoking earlier) and played a trump to West's Ace. I'm now home. Whatever West plays I can ruff, draw trumps, and take all the Clubs. The final result was 2♦x+1.
Despite one good result we lost this rubber too. As a Gentleman I settled up on behalf of me and Anna. Then we played an exciting variant of bridge, where at your turn you produce two cards out the box, and flip a coin to see which one is your actual bid. I think it might need some work, as on the only hand we tried it the result was 4♣x-7.
We're ready for Peebles.