The district finals of the GNT was help this last weekend. It was the first time the district tried holding the event on BBO, primarily due to the size of our district. I will not say it was an unqualified success, a lot of potential teams did not play in the event, especially in the Open Category, but it worked and those people that did play enjoyed the experience a lot. It was very well run by the District Coordinator, and everyone pitched in to make it a success.
We played in the A category, with me playing with Ray again. I thought we played quite well, but we lost the last match, and missed the 2 team playoff by 1 VP, ouch. There were a bunch of interesting hands, some good for us, some not so good. Here is the first interesting decision.
I think once you force a cue bidding sequence, and hear the perfect response, no Club cue and a Diamond cue, instead of 4S, you need to make a forward going move. 4S, expecting partner to bid again, is just a little too pessimistic. They had no problem bidding the slam at our table, so we lost 11 to start.
They got it back fairly quickly on this board. At our table, the West hand only bid 2D, buying the contract. With the A's and the 6 card suit, I really like our partners choice to upgrade the hand and get to 3N. With the K of Diamonds singleton onside, there was not much to the play.
We got a gift on the last board to win the first match by 16. A nice start, especially after losing 11 on the first board.
In the 2nd match, our team mates had a hard time on a couple of boards, bidding a close slam off 1 on a losing hook, then doubling a part score that made with an overtrick on a bidding misunderstanding, not getting to a cold game after a 2C opener, and finally, letting the opps off the hook when they bid the wrong game. This was our worst match, we wound up losing by 27.
The third match was fun, 3N was the contract of the match. If you got to it, it seemed to always make, even if it did not look nice from the bidding. The first one, I picked up 10852 AK85 974 K9 and after 3 passes to partners 1D call, I bid 1H. Partner bid 2C and I have a close decision. Being Vul, I upgraded my hand slightly, and partner raised my 2N to 3N, ending the auction. As you can see, the opps took their 4 Spades to start, but we had an easy 9 tricks and 10 IMPS when my hand bid 2D over 2C at the other table and they played there.
The last hand of the match was a good decisions by my partner not to hang me after I bid over an overcall. As he said after, no fit and a pre-empt meant bad splits around, and i was under some pressure with Spades over the pre-empt.
My 3N was based on having a Diamond Stopper and a fit for Clubs, not on any great confidence in making it when I bid it. A funny (mostly) thing occurred on the lead. East led the 10 of Hearts, then typed in, without being asked, that it showed 0 or 2 higher. I finally decided that I needed either it to have the Q, or West not to have too many Hearts. I was quite happy I ducked when the J of Hearts won the trick. Wound up not even needing the Clubs to break when Spades set up. At the other table, West passed, and North opened 2S. Not sure if they had an accident or not, but they got to 5S, definitely too high on the 3 of Diamonds lead. So we won this match by 15 Imps, to be in a virtual tie with the teams from our first and third matches for the lead at half time.
After lunch, we played the 2nd half of the round robin against the same opponents. We lost 6 Imps against the first team to still win a close match, but gained back all we had lost in the 2nd match to also win that. Mostly due to the opponents having a disaster bidding on 1 hand, and when the smoke cleared, they were -1700 on what should have been a part score hand, our partners played it in 1N at the other table, which can be but was not beaten.
The last match, we were in the lead by 7 VPs on the 2nd and 3rd place teams when 1 of our partners at the other table had a blind spot in a good 6H contract and went down for a 14 IMP loss. Combine that with a probable 6 IMP loss on the next board, and it set the stage for the next to last board. Do you double 4S with the East hand, knowing that you are basically down 20 at this stage?
It turns out this would have let us make the finals, by 1 VP. Instead, we missed out by 1 VP, on a really close score between the 3 teams at the top.
All in all, it was a fun event, that worked out quite well, and showed how BBO can aid in solving geography problems with medium events. For large events like the CNTC's, it will almost always be face to face, but for other events, we now have some other options for our large district.