At the weekend me and Anna entered a very exciting event, the World Bridge Federation Simultaneous Pairs. We played a set of boards at the Buchanan Club in Glasgow, and they played the same set of boards in other clubs all over the world. So for every single deal your score is compared to thousands of others. To win the event you'd need a pretty amazing score, at least 70%. That was never likely to happen, but me and Anna did do fairly well.
[Note - I'm writing this before all of the final results are in, but of course won't publish it until every club has played the event]
There's three boards of interest I'm going to show below. Two of them feature 5 of a minor contracts (our speciality) and the other the board I predict to be the flattest of the event.
This was a great board for us. I opened 1♣, and North doubled. Anna has a six card Spade suit and support for my Clubs so has an easy 1♠ bid. When it came back to me I overbid with 3♣, which is a bit much with a void in partner's suit, but I did it anyway. North now bid 3♦, and Anna with a great fit for Clubs bid 4♣, though could have bid game herself. I had a twinkling that slam might be possible so cuebid 4♦, but Anna told me to settle right down by signing off in 5♣. We actually only have 19 points between us.
North lead her ♦K and I had to decide whether to win my ♦A or ruff. I ruffed with the ♣3, and now all of my trumps are high. I ruffed a total of three Diamonds in dummy, crossing back with Spade ruffs, then drew trumps and cashed the ♦A, just losing two Hearts. 5♣ is an excellent contract, to beat it North has to play a trump on the opening lead.
Could anyone do better than our score of +400? I suppose some EW pairs will make 5♣x, and some NS pairs might sacrifice in Diamonds and go for 500. And just maybe some EW pairs will bid a crazy 3NT and make it if the defence set up a ninth trick for declarer. But overall I think 5♣= is a great result, and I predict we will get a global matchpoint score of 89% for this board.
[Update - we actually scored 69% for this board, less than I predicted. Our score of +400 for East-West was the most common result]
My second featured board is one where we decided to play in 3NT instead of 5♦, and lived to regret it. I say we decided to play 3NT, it was me who bid it, as Anna kept pointing out afterwards. She hates to miss a good 5♦ game:
As Eric Kokish says in his commentary for this event "...the mission for East-West will be to identify the perfect fit and find a route to the unassailable 5♦". We didn't manage this. When Anna rebid 3♦ I thought with my ♦Kx there was every chance the Diamonds would run. Plus I had a good stop in Spades and I knew that our weak suit was probably Hearts which they wouldn't lead after I cunningly bid it. Bidding 3NT seemed a no-brainer. Anna thought for ages over my 3NT, and reluctantly passed.
North lead the ♠K and when dummy came down I felt a guilty flush, as it was clear right away that 5♦ would have just two losers and make easily. In 3NT I'm in trouble. I have just one stop in Spades and one in Hearts. There's two ways to play it. Option One is to duck the Spade lead twice, and hope that they are 5-3 and the person with the ♦A has no more Spades. However, this line isn't as good as it looks, because an alert defence can switch to Hearts. Here after South wins the second Spade, he can see that by playing a low Heart to dummy's Ace he can get two more Heart tricks for himself, along with the ♦A. Option Two is to win the ♠A straight away, which works nicely if Spades are 4-4. I decided that Option Two was more likely, as North didn't overcall 1♠, and duly won the ♠A and went one off.
We finished this round a bit early and Anna spent five minutes lamenting that we weren't in 5♦. I think it's easier for her to bid it than me, as she has only four losers in 5♦, and knows that the Diamonds aren't running in 3NT. In the commentary it suggests that -50 will be a common result for those playing 3NT, but I reckon actually lots of defenders will give away the contract. Plus of course the East-West pairs in 5♦ or in part scores will beat us. So I'm going to say that for 3NT-1 we will get a global score of 24%.
[Update - we actually scored just 6% for this board. The most common result was +150 for East-West, presumably for scores like 3♦+2 or 1NT+2]]
My final featured hand is a simple game:
I decided to open the West hand 1NT, as if I open 1♥ I have to rebid 2♥, and someone once told me "Only perverts rebid 5 card suits". Anna bid Stayman, and I thought about inventing a 3♥ bid to show five Hearts, but it would have been pretty confusing and totally unnecessary. I'm glad I just bid 2♥. Anna raised me to 4♥ and playing the hand was easy. I lost the Heart finesse and also lost the ♠A for 4♥+1.
I can't see any way you could make more or less tricks in 4♥, so it ought to be very flat. I suppose you might try 6♥ and go off one, or 3NT which will probably get a Spade lead and go down. Or if North leads a low Spade you might lose two Spade tricks and just make ten tricks. So I predict that our 4♥+1 will be worth 55% of the global matchpoints.
[Update - we actually scored a healthy 70% for this board. The most common result was indeed +450 for East-West, but there were also some +420 (4♥=) and -100 (6♥-1)
Overall me and Anna scored 61% within the club, and in the global comparison 55.55% (though this might still change). Not bad.