Just played a set on BBO in an 8 board team match that had a game swing on every hand, and I wasn't even the cause of all of them :) (Much as some of my pards will question that)
First hand you hold AJ74 2 KQ83 AQ92 with no 1 vul and hear pard open 1H P to you. You bid 1S and pard bids 2S. You finally decide to BW, and pard bids 5S. So you sign off in 6S, and get the lead of the K of Hearts to see this dummy. 9853 At765 A64 K. Not sure what the 5S bid was, but you play it out and the 10 of Spades is offside, so down 1 for an 11 IMP loss. This was the first contribution from the opps to the cause.
Second hand you hold KQ953 AK85 AK76 --- and decide to open 1S playing SAYC. Pard bids 2S, so hoping pard has anything actually usefull, you bid the scientific 6S. The opening lead is the 4 of Spades, and dummy appears with T87 J74 J3 AKT93, not the dummy you were praying for, but some hope. The opening lead goes to the A on your right, and the 8 of Diamonds comes back. Since there are no entries for setting up Clubs in time, it looks like you need the J of Spades with the 4th Diamond, so embark on that path, planning to pitch the 2 loosing Hearts on the AK of Clubs, and cross-ruff the hand. There is a little care required to score everything, cashing the AK of Hearts early, but it does not matter, the 4th Diamonds is over-ruffed with the J of Spades on your right. At least this is a push board.
Third hand you hold AJ K95 K76 A5432 Vul vs Not and hear it go P 1H P to you. Even though this is not poker, you decide to bid 2C on your bicycle, and hear it go 3S on your left, 4D by pard, P back to you. Not sure what was going on, but pard should have an OK hand for this, so I jumped to 6H. I think anything much less is an insult to partner. Pard held Q AQ762 AJ83 K86, and when Hearts and Clubs went 3-2, claimed 12 tricks for a 13 IMP win, the opps played in 3N at the other table on the auction (3S) DBL (P) 3N. Think you have a pretty nice hand to bid 3N when partner makes a Vul TO double of 3S, but it would have worked if any rounded suit did not behave.
4th hand you pick up KQJ982 QJ4 T943 ---, all Vul, and hear it go 1C by pard, 1H on your right. You bid 1S and it now goes P on your left, 2D by pard, P on your right. Not sure what is best on this hand, finally decided to bid 3S, trying to show good Spades, since was betting pard was short on this hand. This now went (P) 4C (P) back to me. Sigh, problem is almost anything could be right here, but finally decided to just bid 4D and hope pard could work out what to do, this went all pass. The opening lead was the A of Hearts followed by the K of Hearts which partner ruffed. Partners hand was 6 3 AKQJ7 A96543, I think I would have bid 5D here, and would have been happy not to lose 2 major suit tricks, but whatever. Pard now ruffed a low Club, pitched the Spade on the good Heart, and played a Diamond back to hand, all following. Think a full cross-ruff would have been better, since it turned out Diamonds were 3-1 and Clubs were 5-2 behind you. But the kind person with the Clubs cashed the final Club winner before playing a Heart, and let 4D make. At the other table, they got to 5D, but only got the 2 Major suit Aces, the Clubs going on the Spades and Ruffs. So we lost 10 IMPS on this board, up 24-10.
5th Board, you hold J7 4 AKJ9852 A85 NV vs Vul and hear it go 1C on your right. There are many ideas on what to bid on these hands, anywhere from going very slow to bid lots, to 3N. I have to call it a hunch, but I thought the opps were not happy, so decided to go for the push, and if I missed a slam our way, I could apologize to our pards, so I bid 4D on the hand. This went 4S on my left, 4N on my right, 5D on my left, 6S on my right. Not sure what kind of BW these guys are playing, but this is getting interesting. The opening lead is the 3 of Diamonds, and this dummy hits, AT92 AKQ986 QT Q (HUH!?), precision and no alerts, gotta love it. I would have bid 4D almost for sure if I knew that is what they were playing. Anyways, covered the Q of Diamonds with the K which held, so cashed the A of Clubs, then the A of Diamonds, and declarer claimed the last 10 tricks for down 2 (?). Not sure what the guy on myright is up to, but that is another 11 IMP loss for him, we are up 35-10 now.
6th board I held T52 85 Q8 KJ5432 Vul vs Not. This is a brutal pre-empt even for me, so I passed, and it went 3 Passes to 1C on my right. Now that I know they are playing precision, I have an easy 2C bid over that, and it goes 2S on my left, 4D (cue bid) on my right, 4S on my left, 5H on my right, 5S on my left, all pass. The opening lead is the 9 of Clubs, and this truly amazing dummy tracks. AQ AKQT9742 --- QT6, that is right, a solid 8 card major hit in dummy :) Declarer covers the 10 of Clubs with my Jack and his A, and plays a Spade to the Q, which holds. He now plays the A of Hearts, pitching a Club, and the KQ of Hearts, pitching a Diamond, and now it is my turn, ruff or not? First, I do not like the spot cards in Clubs, that stupid 6 in dummy is setting up, thanks to my wonderfull suit, and if declarer has 6 Spades, overruffs my Spade here, and plays a Spade to board, it will be good. So I pitched a little Club as declarer pitched another Diamond and pard dropped the J of Hearts. Now came the good T of Hearts, I pitched a Club, declarer another Diamond, and pard ruffed with the J of Spades. Pard now played the A of Diamonds, and declarer pitched (!) from board. So partner now played the 8 of Clubs, covered all around, and ruffed by declarer. The 9 of Spades went to partners K and dummies A, but I now had the good 10 of Spades for down 1. Declarers hand was 98643 --- KJ9765 A7. It turns out with the amazing spot cards in Clubs, I think 6H is cold on any lead, since you can lead out the Q of Clubs covered winning the A, Spade hook, and play the 10 of Clubs, pinning everything, with that damn 6 becoming the 12th trick again. Dare anyone to find that line at the table :) Anyways, the Hearts were not put down in dummy at the other table, so we won another 11 IMPS for a 46-10 lead.
The 7th board was about the only one I could have anything but great things to say for my partner. She listed herself as Advanced, but based on her declarer play and defence, she was a lot ahead of most experts on BBO :) I held QJ7 76 AJT93 A94 All vul, and with the opps silent throughout, bid 1D over my pards 1C opener. Pard now bid 1S and I was at the first crossroads. We were playing SAYC, and I sorta had to decide now if this was a game forcing hand, or what. I rejected 2S, since pard will pass on most hands where I would want to be in game. 3S sets the trump suit, perhaps wrongly, and almost always should show 4. 2H sets a GF, one of the times where I would be happy if it set a 1 round force, perfect for this hand. Since all my values were in partners suits and I had good spot cards, I decided to treat it like a GF hand and bid 2H, this also had the advantage of letting partner tell me more about her hand. She now bid 2N and I bid 3S, hoping with only 4 Spades and a good Heart stopper, she might prefer 3N if it looked right. This went all P, and the opening lead was the 2 of Spades. Sigh, so much for forcing. When I saw pards hand, I was not sure I wanted to be in any games, she held AT86 KQ3 K75 765, something even I might have passed unless playing a weak NT. But it turned out almost every card was friendly, with Spades 33 and the K onside, so she made 5 in 3S, losing 10 IMPS to the opps in 3N at the other table, we were now up 46-20.
The last board was a sorta decision, do you open a Strong NT holding J9 KJ5 AQJ96 KQ4 or decide to upgrade it and open 1D, planning to rebid 2N. I finally decided to open 1N, which proved wrong on this hand when it went all P and pard put down K873 984 T83 A32. Everything was friendly, and the opps set up my Spade and Heart tricks right away, so I made 3N on the hand. Fortunately, they played in 3D at the other table, so the final score wound up 46-20 our way.
Still not sure what game my RHO was playing, but he was flying high on a few of the boards. Plus I guess when to jam their auctions correctly, and gave them problems instead of us a minus. The same calls I made here could cost almost the same next time if the hands are a little different. But I will still follow the philosophy that the opps will not make as many mistakes in an uncontested auction as in a lively one. So keep on bidding and let the cards fall as they may.
Happy New Year to all, and may 2010 be a fun time to play bridge :)