I was playing with David, another serious blogger and contributor to the BBO forums. We have played against each other in real life, but I couldn't remember playing with him before. Our opponents were worrisome: Justin, a non-serious blogger but one of the major contributors to the BBO forums and always happy to share ideas and opinions, is a multiple junior world champion and one of the young stars of the game; I don't really know Ron Smith except that I've kibitzed him a few times in the latter stages of the Spingold, a real world-class professional. Ron was actually playing in the GNT at the time, well sitting out of course, but was happy to play.
The first board was a quiet 1NT. We gained 6 IMPs on the second hand when Ron and Justin were two down in game and our team mates, Jason and Matt, played safely in the part score. Three flat boards followed and then:
On our auction Justin mused what would have happened if he had passed 2♥, would I also have passed? In truth I was still deciding but would probably have saved David by responding 2NT. But once he had raised I thought we had a sensible auction to the slam. A spade lead (or switch) would have forced David to guess the heart position, but on the diamond lead and trump switch it did not matter.
Then we got lucky.
As you can see, this contract needs the hearts to be 3-3 and the king to be onside before we start. So it is less than 18%, but the cards were very friendly and we emerged with +600.
The key to the result is my 3♥ bid. It is not a thing of beauty and really needs the ♥J, but I chose the call as we open some real filthy hands and I was afraid that David would pass a simple 2♥ rebid with game having some play (David and I had played for the previous hour and there is no doubt that we open more hands than most). A very lucky 10 IMPs when they sensibly played in 2♥ making 9 tricks in the other room.
We lost a non-vulnerable game swing on the next board when we failed to find the only making game, in a 4-3 fit, and played quietly in a part score. Board 9 saw identical declarer play in a tricky 3NT contract:
Both Wests led a 4th best-looking diamond. There is a clear danger that the defence can take four spades and the top diamond, so you'd like to take 9 tricks without losing the lead. This means taking the heart finesse.
However, if this loses you want the defence to continue diamonds to establish a ninth trick rather than switch, so the key play is the ♦K to trick one. Then take the heart finesse before the defence realises what may be happening. Both declarers did this, the finesse lost and the West players continued diamonds hoping for a misguess when East holds the ♦J. Flat board.
A quiet final board meant a win by 28-7 IMPs.