Kim and I entered the Life Master pairs but a few too many errors, together with some appalling luck left us well below the cut (for example, on the very first board our opponents reached a making 6NT on a combined 30hcp with two totally balanced hands). Thus, we "qualified" for the Saturday compact KO with our teammates Don and Daniel.
Our team total was 10,000 which put us in bracket 3 [wow! do we really have a five figure team total these days?]. The opening three-way was uneventful, winning one and losing one (the latter due to some carelessness -- you have to play every board to its full potential!) The result of the second match was unfortunately based on a director call -- and subsequent appeal decision. I hate it when that happens, but in truth it was a clear-cut issue. The auction had started on my left (we were white, they were red) with 1NT (14-17). Partner bid 3D and RHO bid 4D (transfer). LHO completed the transfer and now RHO bid 5D. This call (they had no particular agreement as to what it would mean) put LHO in the tank for 20-30 seconds and he came out with 5H. RHO then bid the slam. We called the director over and all were agreed there was a break in tempo (BIT). At least our opponents were good enough not to say "I didn't notice a break in temp" and "no, I didn't hesitate," as would typically happen at a club game.
The slam made but the director rolled it back to 680. At the other table, the bidding started out the same but they stopped in 4H making 710. We won the match by two, pending the appeal. This being a regional event, the director-in-charge heard the appeal (a slightly less formal process than for NABC+ events). After a very professional handling of the situation by the director, the other team withdrew.
After the dinner break, we faced a team of Swedish/Finnish juniors. We were very impressed by their comportment at the table and we enjoyed this match very much. They played a very complex big club relay system at our table which sometimes propelled them to 4NT contracts. Indeed the twelve boards we played included three 4NT contracts: one of ours, making; two by them, one failing by one trick (11 IMPs to us), one by two tricks (3 IMPs). I also made two doubled contracts which between them were worth 27 IMPs. I had to apologize for one of these as it was a bidding error by me that turned out luckily. But there is a lesson here for my LHO. After 1C -- 1D (both alerted), I bid 3D with my seven diamonds to the ace and not much else. Reasonable, right? Well, no, because we play suction in this situation and Kim alerted. LHO doubled and all passed. Dummy had enough for me to make nine tricks. The moral of this story is this: when RHO makes an artificial bid that could possibly have been intended as natural but is going to be taken out by your LHO, wait until they get into trouble before doubling. I was happy to note that we didn't need that lucky result for the win.
The other hand, referred to in my title was this:
At the other table, the auction was identical, except for the final double. And the play to the first three tricks was also identical. My counterpart went down two (no helpful double), all the same. I told my teammates that the contract was always cold. Not so. At trick two, if East leads any black card, I can no longer make the hand, as you can see by pressing the GIB button in the replay.
A note on the bidding. Kim hates it when I steal the contract from her. So I do it with great trepidation. Here you can see that my decision was probably wrong (again!) for her notrump contract would make actually make ten tricks on the likely heart lead. But on a club lead, I think we'd be in trouble. In any case, if I had passed, there'd be no story.
I entitled this blog "A baby throw-in" because that's how the Hideous Hog would describe it. He would undoubtedly claim at trick four (he can't claim until the trump king falls otherwise the later throw-in will only generate one extra trick and two will be needed). Remind me not to make such heavy weather of it next time :)