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Toby's Guardian Angel has a busy weekend
day two—Jubilee Swiss Pairs


Not content with beating Oxford the previous day, André and I decided to play in the Jubilee Swiss pairs. By now, my Guardian Angel was on sparkling form.

Things started well when on the first board, André held S A K 3, H A 9 8 7, D A J 4 2, C 9, and opponents bid up to 4S. André had no problems doubling for +500 and a top, when he managed to give me a heart ruff. It was the second round when my Guardian Angel really started to show off:
South deals  S 9 6 5 3 
 H A 5 
 D 7 5 
 C Q 9 7 6 2 
 S K J T 
 H Q 8 3 
 D J 6 
 C J T 5 4 3 
none vul  S
 H T 9 7 6 4 
 D Q 9 8 4 3 2 
 C
 S A Q 8 7 2 
 H K J 2 
 D A K T 
 C A K 
The auction was straightforward:

West



all pass

North
Toby


East



South
André

3NT

The 3NT opener showed a balanced 22½–26 count, and I didn't feel I had any business responding to it, so we missed our 9-card spade fit. However, with the unfortunate spade lie, 11 tricks is all you can make in spades. At our table a helpful heart lead allowed André to make the same 11 tricks in no-trumps for a top, but 11 tricks are always possible on a squeeze, as East never gets in to lead a heart through. Victory for the 4 weak two system!
This left us near the top after two rounds (The rounds were scored immediately, which delayed things a bit too much). In the third round, my Guardian Angel intervened once more to bring us into the lead at half time:
West deals  S Q 9 6 2 
 H K Q 5 
 D K 7 
 C K Q T 9 
 S K J 8 4 
 H J T 9 3 
 D A Q J 2 
 C
both vul  S T 3 
 H 8 7 4 2 
 D 9 6 3 
 C 8 5 4 3 
 S A 5 4 
 H A 6 
 D T 8 5 4 
 C A J 6 3 

West


1D
pass
all pass

North
Toby

dbl
2S

East


pass
pass

South
André

2D
4S
André has a strong hand opposite my double of 1D, and sensibly asks for more information with 2D (which normally implies interest in the majors). I bid my 4-card major, and André, rather than seeking more information with 3D, takes it upon himself to bid 4S.

A diamond is led to the ace, and West then switches to her singleton club (continuing diamonds is the best defense). I now play a spade to the ace and lead one back towards the queen, and West rises with the king, preventing my second spade loser. After a heart to the ace, I take the spade finesse and make 11 tricks.

Even without the helpful defense, 4S is always making. On a diamond return at trick two, cross to the CA and lead a spade towards the queen. If this is allowed to hold, ruff two diamonds in hand (drawing East's last trump first) and cash winners—West can make only her two trumps. On the other hand, if West rises with the SK she must force in diamonds (or we draw two rounds of trumps and play side-suit winners). When she does, cash the SQ and cross to the CJ (West can't gain by ruffing) to ruff the last diamond. Then cross to the HA, cash the SA and play club winners. 4S making exactly may score reasonably, as some pairs might only make nine tricks in 3NT. On the other hand, 4S+1 was a very good score.
In the next round, my Guardian Angel allowed us to get away with absurdity:
East deals  S 6 3 2 
 H A J T 4 3 
 D K 6 5 
 C A 6 
 S Q 7 
 H Q 6 5 
 D Q J T 7 2 
 C K Q 3 
EW vul  S T 8 5 
 H K 9 8 2 
 D A 9 8 4 
 C 8 7 
 S A K J 9 4 
 H
 D
 C J T 9 5 4 2 

West



1NT
pass
pass

North
Toby


pass
4H
5C²

East


pass
pass
pass
all pass

South
André

pass
2D¹
4S²
¹ diamonds and hearts
² cue-bids
In second seat, Andre chose not to open. I suppose the club suit isn't great for a weak two [yes, they play four weak twos – Ed], and the hand does only have 9 points. I think I'd definitely open the hand either 1C or 2C. Anyway, by a passed hand we play doubling 1NT shows spades and another, while 2C and 2D show that minor and hearts. We hadn't thoroughly discussed exactly how many of each, but I think 1–1 was pushing things a little. I have an obvious 4H bid, and André (thinking his bid showed spades and another with better hearts if the other is hearts) corrects to 4S. This can't be natural, and must really be a cue-bid, though it's a bit odd for a passed hand to investigate slam opposite one that can't double 1NT, but I guess if Andre can pass hands like the one he has, perhaps it's not impossible. Anyway, I have an obvious 5C cue-bid, which Andre passes, as that's his best suit.

I got the S5 lead, which I won with the ace, and I ran the CJ, then cashed the CA. I led a low diamond, and when West won this and played a heart, I tried the spade finesse, thinking the lead was probably low from three to an honour. Alas, when this failed, I went one down. I should probably have exited with the DK. Then when LHO won he might have switched to a low heart, which would suggest he held the king, and therefore couldn't have the SQ, so I might have guessed spades right.

Anyway, –50 somehow scored 16 matchpoints out of 28, despite having a cold game on!
We went on to win the event, but in the process used up all my Guardian Angel's powers, leaving us to our own devices in the Portland Bowl semi-final the following weekend. I'll hopefully produce an article or two about that soon.