Things started well on the first board when, after opening one heart and being overcalled by one spade, I reopened with a double (which seems the normal action) when the player at the other table rebid two hearts. With no game likely to make we were certain of +300 and, after a few efforts by both sides to hold it to this number, we found another trick for +500 and nine imps.
They gained some small swings and the match was almost tied when I had a decision to make on board 8:
At love all (white, or w/w US), what is your call?
On the following board it was Danny's turn to be in the firing line.
You will not get a consensus on whether you should open this hand with one heart or two clubs, but when you see the five clubs overcall pop up you certainly wish you'd opened with a natural bid!
At EW Game (red, r/w US), what is your choice now? Of course I expect Danny knew that pass was lack of values in this auction, as it would be for Alex and I as we play pass/double inversion at this level, but hopefully all my readers know the difference between pass and double from West. Of course you do!
Arriving at board 12 we were seventeen imps down when Alex and I failed to deal with another goulash hand.
The crucial decision in the auction was Alex's double. He could have bid four diamonds, a convention known as Leaping Michaels, to show a strong hand with spades and diamonds, but he was concerned that we would miss the spade game. Unfortunately, his four spades bid shows a strong flexible hand which is why I continued on to five clubs. I should have corrected five diamonds to five spades immediately, but I got there is the end.
However we were lucky as West failed to find the only lead that would defeat the contract and +850 was worth six imps.
On the penultimate board we lost twelve imps when the opponents outbid us, finding the diamond slam:
In the other room, playing a strong club system, North showed 6+ points whereas I was able to show less than eight. I am close to showing 8+, but the void in partner's suit did not look an attractive reason to upgrade.
On the final board Helen played four spades a lot better than our declarer, and we defended better than their defenders, to earn ourselves a game swing and 13 imps back.
So the final score was 29-41 imps which converted to a 12-18 VP loss. As it happened, the team below us in the table conceded their final match and we were comfortable whatever the result, but we only discovered that after the match.
Next week is the round of sixteen and we play Praha, the runaway winners of Group B. We'll need to play well to challenge them.