My partners favorite hand did not really start out that way, in fact, it started out looking like the biggest disaster of the week. Playing IMPS, Vul vs Not, in the A/X Swiss on the final day, she picked up 63 875 8642 Q983 and decided to pass in first seat for some reason. Her LHO, one of the higher MP holders in the ACBL, opened 1D and of course I was in there with a Double, just what she wanted to hear. Her RHO came to the rescue with 1S, so she passed again and LHO went 1N. Not being done, I Doubled again, and over RHO’s Pass, she admitted to her Clubs with 2C. This now went P, P to a Double on her right, and that ended the auction. The opening lead was the K of Clubs, not something she wanted to see with her balanced nothing, until dummy came down with A42 AKT6 A3 AT54. Her LHO had made a good lead based on the auction and the expected trump holding in his partners hand, but his partner had made a very speculative Double based on expecting my hand to be far weaker. The hand now played out very well and partner made 4 for a nice +580. Since we are not shy on bidding, and partner had passed over the first Double, I think I need a really good hand to take the unilateral action of a second Double like I did. Perhaps not quite this nice, but pretty close.
The next hand was another high level blink first auction. Vul vs Not, I held Q98 KJ873 A62 J8 and heard the auction go Pass by me, 3N (65 in the minors) on my left, Double (Cards, not majors) by partner, and 5D on my right. We have a method of showing 1 or both majors of varying lengths over a 3N bid like this, so the Double was just values, but it still left me with a problem. I finally decided to bid 5H here, and that ended the auction.
The opening lead was the 6 of Diamonds, and this dummy came down, creating an interesting play problem, KT43 AQT --- AT9765. So of course the minors are now known to a card, but the majors are still up in the air. At least LHO did not lead a black card, which probably kills this before it starts. It looks like I need the AJ of Spades on my right, with the 5/6 card holding, and Hearts no worse than 4-1. And actually, the 4-1 is better than the 3-2, since that would leave LHO 0265, something I am not sure I can handle. So playing LHO for the 1165 hand, I ruffed the Diamond with the 10 of Hearts, cashed the A of Hearts, all following low, and led a little Spade off board, putting in the 9 when RHO played low. When LHO played a low Spade on this, the hand was counted out. I now ruffed a small Diamond with the Q of Hearts, and led another Spade off board, RHO winning with the A as LHO pitched a Diamond. RHO now led a Diamond to my A and I was in. RHO is known to be 5440, and has a Heart trick coming.
I now have to admit to a complete blind spot on the hand. I had done all the heavy lifting already and the hand had gotten easy, so I decided to outthink it. The easy play that I decided to miss at the table for some reason, is to cash the Q of Spades, play 3 rounds of Hearts, throwing RHO in with her Heart winner, then claim, as the A of Clubs and K of Spades take care of my Club loser. I decided to fixate on the Club suit, and that I had to sneak a Club by LHO for some reason, so I led a little Club right now, planning to play low if LHO did. This was of course punished with the Q of Clubs, like it should be, and I wound up 1 down on a hand that I had gotten right, sigh. Fortunately, we had done a lot right on this round, so it only cost 1 VP in the match, but it was extremely annoying to get an ending like that wrong by watching cows drift by in the air.
The next hand was from the final day of the Mini-Blue Ribbons. Playing in Western Canada, it is easy to not have many MP’s, so we can sneak into these restricted events for quite a while. My partner picked up T3 A2 Q654 AKQ86 and bid 2C over a 1H bid on her right. This bought the auction, since LHO had been looking for a TO Double that he could pass. The opening lead was a Heart, cutting losses in that suit to 0 when I held QJxx in an entry less dummy, the defense slipped another couple of tricks, and partner wound up making 2C even though there were 5 to the JT behind her. This was against the eventual event winners, and at the time, we chalked it up as a good score, since 2C goes down all the time on any reasonable defense. When we looked after the round, it was one of the results that changed what we thought had been a good round into something below average, we scored 8 on a 25 top. Turns out that opener did reopen with a Double at most tables, and my hand ran to 2S. We had not looked at that, and how well 2S plays with the Club pitches (I had a Club Void and 6 little Spades), so most people were scoring +110 or +140 against our +90.
The last hand to report on is more because of an ethical dilemma I wound up with. All Vul, IMPS, I held 86 AK4 AK987 J63 and overcalled a 1C opener by RHO with 1D. This went Pass on my left, and partner bid 2D. We play transfers at the 2 level in a competitive auction, so this should show Hearts, which I alerted and explained to the opps. RHO now went 2H TO, and I Doubled this to show Hearts. This went around to partner who bid 3D, showing a relatively weak hand. It also worried me that she had forgotten the transfer, and made an automatic Diamond raise. When 3D was passed to me, I was not sure I could pass, so I wound up bidding 3H. When partner had forgotten the transfer, we were down 2 in 3H, where 3D would have made. Talking about it with 2 directors after, 1 said I should bid 3H, the other thought it was OK to Pass. I was not sure if my Double of 2H showed enough or not, and if I can Pass 3D or not? I was pretty sure that 3D was where we should play this, but it did not take that much from partner to have play for game in Hearts, xxx Qxxxx Qxxx x for example, and that is sub-min for the 2D bid, since it is above my suit.