Last week we had a simultaneous pairs and usual grumblings about 'fixed' hands. But they had been a random computer-dealt set and complaints were unjustified. So this week, in the club teams championship, people just commented on what a wild set of hands they were and no suggestions of 'fixing' or a mad computer.
But the hands were far wilder. LotG and I bid three of the five slams, one of which was very difficult to bid, and we scored well as our opponents did not bid any of them. I held an eight-card suit, a powerful 5-5 and two 6-5 hands. Generally we did the right thing and emerged comfortable winners. Early days in the overall competition but nice to have a first and second place in the bag.
We bid, and missed, our slams with varying degrees of competence:
My rebid is a little wet but I knew the auction was not going to stop. Actually I had forgotten that LotG plays strong two bids so I should have opened two diamonds (we don't play Acol Strong Twos, eight playing tricks is sufficient).
We missed the following one:
North's interference made it difficult for me to get the support for both suits safely across. Even if LotG had rebid four hearts there is no safety at the five level. On the actual layout the only making slam is six diamonds, as South has a diamond void. Well, six hearts makes by East but few will be able to arrange that.
LotG showed excellent technique playing this slam:
North led a diamond and this looks an easy slam. If hearts are 3-3 then you will make all the tricks (five spades, five hearts and three diamonds); if hearts are 4-2 then you can establish them for two club discards and ruff your losing diamond in dummy for all the tricks again. If hearts are 5-1, then you will only make twelve tricks.
So it probably does not matter which hand you win the opening lead in. And on this particular hand that was true as the hearts did break 3-3. However spades did break 4-0 and suddenly the hand is not so simple if the hearts do not break. Where is your entry to dummy after you have established the hearts? The answer is that you better still have the king of diamonds available, so you must win the first trick in the strong hand.
I'm not certain that LotG thought this all through at trick one, but keeping an entry in dummy just looks the right thing to do.