Picking up the penultimate board of the third and final qualifying session of the World Mixed Pairs, I was pretty confident that we would be in good shape with a good round; not so sure with a bad round. We had to deal with an unusual bid and also make a critical decision in the play.
Board 25. Unfavorable vulnerability.
I had a nice hand and opened 1club after RHO passed.
LHO then bid 2 clubs, described as a 2-suiter with spades. Partner, Bob bid 2 diamonds. RHO bid 2S and I bid 2NT. Pard bid 3D, and although we had a later discussion what our bids meant over this relatively unusual treatment, I bid 3NT.
Later, when we discussed the bidding, I noted that I thought Bob's 2 diamond, followed by 3 diamond bid showed weakness, as it would have over a Michaels cuebid. Therefore, I meant my 2NT bid as strength-showing. He thought his bidding showed 10 + points as it would have over an overcall and therefore took my 2NT bid as nothing more than a minimum. Check out your agreements with your partner!
A spade was led and RHO won and returned a spade to my king. I cashed the heart ace to get a look at the hand and RHO showed out. As LHO obviously had hearts and spades, I had to play the diamonds carefully--playing RHO for all of them. I led a diamond to the king and LHO showed out. I ran the 10 of diamonds, won the ace and went back to the board with the club ace to run the diamonds.
After reviewing this hand, and unable to accurately reconstruct it even with the hand records, I finally realized that an odd thing happened on the run of the diamonds. Due to the lateness of the hour (and possibly due to the fact that Bob was studying the score handout, trying to calculate our percentage), dummy's cards weren't played properly and I only made two discards on the diamonds.
I came down to these cards:
When I led a club to my king, LHO showed out. She had discarded several hearts and the queen or jack of spades. I had to decide whether to cash out for 10 safe tricks or to go for the endplay for the extra trick. LHO rated to have the remaining spade honor, but if RHO had it, holding myself to 9 tricks would net a pathetic score. This situation, (trying to decide whether to go for a top and risk a bottom) is not for the faint of heart. I finally decided I had to go for it so I closed my eyes (not really) and played the spade. LHO won and led into my heart tenace. Making 5 the hard way. After the game I was rather surprised that plus 660 didn't score better than 68%, and only now realize that making 5 would have been relatively easy if we had kept better track of the cards (6 diamonds, 2 hearts, 2 clubs and a spade).
LHO (South): QJ876/Q109865/void/Q5
RHO (North): A32/void/J854/J109642
All was well that ended well, as we played in the finals starting later that evening.
See you at the table!