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Toby's Guardian Angel has a busy weekend
day 1—Portland Bowl

A few weeks ago now, we (the mighty Trinity College Portland Bowl team) took a trip to Oxford, intent on exacting revenge for a massacre in the Varsity Match (read Toby's report on that on the UBC website).

The first stanza was close, with a game swing each way and a few overtricks leaving us 13–12 up.

At this point, my guardian angel began to fret. He had been hoping that our natural skills would prevail, allowing him a well-earned rest to build up strength for the following weekend (the finals), but with the introduction of Currencyboy in the next stanza, it seemed that all his powers would be required to see us safely into the next round.

So it was that he chose this stanza to begin using his powers to twist fate. First, I hold this fine hand:
S Q 8 x x
H A K 8 x
D K x
C K x x

LHO opens 1S (5 card suit, 11–16 HCP), and I elect not to make the close 1NT overcall, quietly passing instead. Opponents then bid up to 3S and make it. My defense is not optimal because I place an early trick the wrong way, and thus end up playing to hold the contract tight, rather than to set it, but fortunately (or perhaps by my Guardian Angels great powers), the contract was unbeatable. Meanwhile, at the other table, the 1NT overcall is found, doubled, and (after a somewhat strange decision not to run to 2D) set by 3 tricks for 800 and 12 IMPs to Trinity.

Not content with that, my Guardian Angel sets up another 11 IMP swing on board 16:
West deals  S K x x 
 H x x 
 D K x 
 C A T 9 x x x 
 S Q J T x x x x 
 H x x x 
 D T 6 2 
 C  — 
EW vul  S
 H x x 
 D Q J x x x x 
 C K Q x x 
 S A x 
 H A K Q J x x 
 D A x 
 C J x x 


all pass






¹ multi: 3-level heart or spade pre-empt "with poor suit quality"
² pass or correct
³ hearts or takeout of hearts
As South, I have a clear double of the 3H bid, but when Teymur bids 3NT my hand is far too good to just bid 4H. On the other hand, we haven't thoroughly discussed our methods in this position, and I think my only slam try in hearts is the 5H bid. Teymur now has a tricky decision, since he doesn't know much about my hand. He is close to maximum for the pass of 3D, with aces and kings, rather than useless queens and jacks. On the other hand, he isn't quite maximum, and he does have only a low doubleton in hearts. I think that on balance he's worth a raise, but he decided to pass at the table, and that swung in lots of IMPs when 6H proved unmakeable on the 4–0 club break.

second stanza: 30–14 to Trinity.

Teymur and I sat out the third stanza, and decided not to watch. We returned at the end expecting to see our lead annihilated by Jonathan's use of the –1100 score, but no!

third stanza: 17–17—a 17 IMP lead going into the last stanza.

Needless to say, this lead persuaded Phil & Mike to attempt to swing some IMPS, resulting in a 35–19 fourth stanza win for Trinity—their Guardian Angels weren't on as good form as mine. In total 95–62 to Trinity.
After that, it was a long bus journey back to Cambridge and we were ready for another long day of bridge...