Our last match of the season and we finally got that famous win, clinching an 8.5-7.5 away victory against an understrength Maccabi team. It's a morale booster that has unfortunately come too late in the season, as we are already relegated. "If only we hadn't suffered all those big losses at the start of the season," a team mate suggested, "We'll know what to do next time".
In my first featured hand a tiny gap in me and Anna's bidding system was cruelly magnified to cause a missed grand slam:
I opened the 23 point South hand 2♣ and Anna replied 2♦, showing 5+ points. I showed a balanced hand then after Stayman showed 4 Hearts. Me and Anna have previously agreed that an artificial 3♠ from her now sets Hearts as trumps, and 4NT is quantitative. However, she didn't remember this or possibly thought I wouldn't remember this so bid 4NT as Blackwood. She was right that I wouldn't remember, as I did indeed take 4NT as Blackwood. At least we are on the same wavelength, having both forgotten our system. In response to Blackwood I have all five keycards. What do you bid with all five? You bid the same as if you had two. So I bid 5♥, showing two or five keycards and no Queen of Trumps. Anna was baffled by this. She didn't realise I was showing five keycards, couldn't believe I only had two and still had a niggling doubt that maybe I was replying to a quantitative 4NT . She settled for safe 6♥. I passed, feeling pretty confident something had gone wrong but not quite able to bid 7♥ myself.
6♥ made all 13 tricks. On the other table for Team Rowan Tom & Raymond bid and made 7♦ with the auction above. With that good score at the break we were about 2000 points up, an unprecedented postimargin
In the second half Maccabi clawed back some points. On our table our opponents Peter and Willy bid all of their available games, and you can't do more than that.
Here's one where I was faced with two tough decisions:
Anna had the East hand and went for a rather bold 1♦ opening. Peter Cohen sitting South has a balanced 21 count so doubled.
1. What would you now bid as West?
We hadn't discussed what 2♠ by me would have been so I decided that was too risky. I went for 1♠, which I am too light for but have six of them and some Diamond support. North stretched to bid 2♣ and South now bid 3NT.
2. What do you lead against 3NT?
I went for a safe Spade lead, which was no problem for Peter who quickly wrapped up nine tricks. The killing lead is of course a Heart, which kills the entry to dummy before he can unblock the Clubs. That would have been a tremendous lead on this layout.
At the end of the second half we nervously waited for the final table to finish. When the scores were all in we had retained a tiny margin for a famous win!