We didn't do too much wrong, most of the time. But here's a definite blunder that cost us:
Anna was sitting South and opened 1♠. I was North and replied 2♣. Anna then rebid 2♦, and I bid a natural 2NT. All fairly normal up to now I expect. My 2NT is invitational to game, and of course Anna wants to accept. But she wasn't sure if 3NT or 4♠ was the best contract, so bid 3♠, expecting me to either bid 3NT or raise her to 4♠ with a doubleton. But I surprised her with a Pass. We've not discussed this situation and I assumed the 3♠ was a weak bid. I did consider bidding 4♠ anyway, but I've got weak doubletons in both Anna's suits, and I'd just gone three off on a previous hand and was a bit scared.
Anna started shaking her head as soon as dummy came down, and was still silently tutting as she took her eleven tricks for 3♠+2. For further embarrassment, at the half time break John Faben asked if we'd considered bidding a slam on Board 13, and I had to confess we weren't even in game. Following John's on-the-spot advice we've agreed for future reference that in these situations a bid like 3♠ is indeed weak.
After this disaster we rallied slightly, before finishing with two zeroes against Joan Lees & Michele Gladstone. Overall we scored 44.13%, good enough only for the Consolation Final. On the upside I was sitting North throughout, and operated the Bridge Mate perfectly with no incorrect scores.
The top pairs in qualification were Christine Howe & Trish Matheson (NS) and Grace & James Walker (EW).
In the break I wasted far too much time talking about the hands. "You were very boring" said Anna. I also largely missed out on the sandwiches, and had to make up for that with a plate of cake. The cake was a bit sweet for my liking, and I should know, as I had four slices.
For the consolation final I bought myself a gin and tonic and some iced water for Anna, but unfortunately they got mixed up and Anna had my gin. On the first deal I commented that all my cards were already sorted in suits and Anna chuckled at my stupidity. Apparently everyone knows that since the cards are computer dealt they're always arranged into suits on the first hand.
With the pressure off we did much better now, and everything seemed to go our way. For example, I doubled 6NT, which went off 3. Twice I stumbled into an aggressive 4-3 fit which got a good score. I made some dodgy bids, but they paid off. For example, this was a lucky one:
I was sitting West and opened 1♠. It was the best hand I'd had in ages, and I was excited. Anna replied 1NT and I pushed the boat out with a 3♦ reply, which is game forcing and shows 18-19. I don't have that, and my singleton ♥K is a bit rubbish, but I felt I was too good to just bid 2♦. Anna has no choice but to bid 3NT. South lead a Heart and I went off to get a whisky and another piece of cake.
When I came back, Anna had got her nine tricks and was just losing the last four. "You're lucky I had the Ten of Spades", she said. With five Spades, three Hearts and a Club there's a routine nine tricks. You need the ♠T as an entry to the Hearts. Without it I guess you'd have to overtake the ♥K and hope for three Heart tricks anyway, if the ♥J falls. Bidding and making 3NT got us an excellent score, as only one other pair in the Consolation Final bid it (Mandy and Ronnie Simpson), and no pairs at all in the Main Final.
On the final board of the event me and Anna both got good hands, and reached an excellent slam:
West opened with 3♥ and Anna had a think then doubled. The other option is maybe 3NT. Doubling looks better, but not sure what she would have done if I replied in Diamonds. As it is Anna hit the jackpot with her double as I jumped to 4♠, then showed two Aces and no Queen of trumps with 5♥. Without the Queen of Trumps Anna conservatively stopped in 6♠. I think 7♠ has a decent chance: I could have five Spades (with six I would have lied and said I had the Queen); the trumps could be 2-2; or you could find the Queen. As it is they were 2-2 (and in fact East dropped the Queen on the first round), so I duly made 6♠+1.
After the deal Anna asked if she should have bid the Grand Slam. I said that it would probably have made virtually no difference to our matchpoint score, but would have been glorious. I was proved right; 6♠+1 was worth a massive 93% as only one other pair in the Consolation Final bid the slam (Ricky Finlayson and Horst Kopleck). In the main final three out of eight pairs bid it.
We finished on a comfortable 63%, enough to win the Consolation Final. According to Anna, who took the envelope, the prize was only £1 each, but she did take me out to dinner afterwards.
In the main event the runaway winners were John Faben and Norman McGeagh. Second equal were Grace & James Walker and Jim McLaughin & Peter Cairns. There were supposed to be some tankards for the winners, I'll have to ask John about that.
Full results on the Buchanan website here here.