LotG and I started poorly on board two:
I knew LotG would hold seven cards and an outside card for a second-in-hand vulnerable pre-empt, but I wimped out as we don't really have any useful methods to locate outside kings. At the other table Brian faced a similar problem and, eventually I'm told, just bid six notrump. What I should have done!
We did better later in the session, on board twenty-seven:
LotG and I play a 2/1 system, unlike most at the club, so I was able to a forcing two hearts on the second round of the auction. I was slightly nervous at this point, as my hearts were poor and a void in partner's suit is not really a positive. LotG's raise to three hearts was a slam try in this case, but could have just been a lack of further distributional features but too strong for an immediate four hearts call.
I'm not a huge fan of cue bidding shortage in partner's suit but LotG felt a little fixed over three spades. The hand is too good for four hearts, as I am unlikely to move forward with poor trumps, and the Blackwood option uses a lot of space and might not help. So she temporised with four clubs. I would say that perhaps the only time I'd do this is with excellent trumps.
My four spades bid showed a massive hand in context, given my failure to jump to three hearts over two diamonds. It is highly unlikely that I'd go past game with only one ace and poor trumps, so LotG presumed that I must either have the ace of diamonds, ace of clubs or a diamond void. Well bid, even if I say so myself!
There were even more slams in the opposite direction, starting with board three:
A fairly straightforward auction this time. And then there was board nineteen:
Diana made a good decision to bid four clubs, whereas our opponent bid three notrumps and played there.
And finally, board twenty-three:
Ros made a good decision to support clubs immediately, an advantage of playing Acol, with a passed-hand inverted raise. The hand is a good play problem for an intermediate player. How do you make the contract on the lead of the four of spades?
We finished the evening in second place and finished the season in second place too, with Brian, George, Reg and Malcolm taking the title and winning four of the seven evenings. Illness and travel meant that we missed two of the nights, something we could not afford if we really wanted to challenge them, but as we only finished above them once in the five nights we both played they clearly deserve the trophy.