Susanna and I don’t play on the same team very often, but once a year Fiona Hutchison puts together a squad of eight to play the Garden Cities Qualifier — I’m not exactly sure what we were qualifying for but I think it’s possibly a second qualifier. It’s a lovely, fun, stress-free evening of bridge with people you don’t normally compete with, who are all super supportive: no one criticises anyone else, and you don’t go home hating yourself and hating your ‘never been wrong’ partner more.
So, everything was jogging along nicely. We played five boards against five teams and scored up afterwards in the bar. ‘Minus 200, sorry,’ I said writing –13 in the out column. ‘I was in a ridiculous 2♦ redoubled.’ Everyone said bad luck and my partner’s mouth fell open. ‘It was a stone cold claim,’ he announced, to peals of laughter. This is the hand:
Difficult to say which action was the worst: West’s double, North’s redbl or my declarer play, but my vote goes to North. West led her singleton Heart, and let’s just say that apart from winning the lead (perforce) I did not play a correct card until I went one down. My plan was to endplay West into leading away from her club honours when all I had to do was take a club finesse — making 3 spades, 1 heart, 1 club, 2 diamond tricks in hand and 1 ruff in dummy — which would still have been a losing score. Maybe the double of ♦2 wasn’t so bad? But hey, one lousy result isn’t the end of the world. The team was awesome and we won easily and have qualified for… well, I’m still not sure but I’m looking forward to it.