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Road to the GNT Final Four R8 Q2
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Where we left off, our District 6 team (Shore/Gill, Pettis/Lo, Shi/Palmer) led District 7 (Marks/Helms, Wilson/Hubert, Boyd-Bowman/Hudson) 52-32 in the Quarterfinal of the Open GNT in Toronto. We kept our rotation the same as the previous day's match and Noble and I stayed in, this time playing East-West against Wilson/Hubert. 

As seemed to happen every quarter so far this match, the first board was a swing as our opponent faced this decision:

North
KQJ1032
J105
J1073
W
N
E
S
2
2
3
4
5
P
P
X
P
?

Pass or pull?

North
KQJ1032
J105
J1073
W
N
E
S
2
2
3
4
5
P
P
X
P
?

Partner can hardly know that you have extra offense and negative defense for your two-level overcall. Still, he didn't have to double them, and really, he shouldn't be doubling without an expectation of getting down two opposite a normal hand (probably 1 defensive trick here). I suspect it's best to pass in situations like this when it's close, for partnership harmony if nothing else, but it's not hard to imagine a layout where you would end up -750 instead of -300.

Our opponent chose to pull, and this time that was 16 IMPs worse than passing:

West
4
A82
A84
QJ10764
North
KQJ1032
J105
J1073
East
865
K6
K952
A832
South
A97
Q9743
Q6
K95
D

5-X only went for 500, but 5 was failing by a trick. Our teammates bought it in 4, undoubled and failing by two tricks, so we picked up 9 IMPs instead of the 7 we'd have dropped if our opponent had guessed better. It is worth noting that if you switch around our high cards or distribution a bit, 5 would have been cold.

After the opponents picked up an IMP on a part-score deal, we had a good bidding sequence to avoid a borderline slam:

West
AKJ94
QJ854
1064
North
Q1063
K107
QJ5
Q94
East
2
A92
A732
AKJ32
South
875
63
K98
108765
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

Normally in our strong club auctions, opener asks the questions and responder describes his shape and strength. When opener has a minimum 3-suiter, responder is the one who knows if the short suit is stopped well-enough for 3NT, so we reverse the usual arrangement. Once opener's shape was known, Noble could visualize a slam if I had weak minor suits, even if I were minimum (say, Q Kxx AKxx Axxxx or x AKx KQxx Axxxx).

After shape is shown in our system, the relayer can either ask for controls by bidding the cheapest non-3NT step or he can bid 4-of-a-minor to ask opener whether he has extra values. When both 4 and 4 are available, we play 4 as asking for either substantial extras or HCP in the short suits, so that fit perfectly. With a minimum and chunky clubs, I had an easy decline.

This is one of those slams that only has one obvious loser, but finding 12 tricks is a bit tricky. It's makeable double dummy from the West hand, but you have to guess really well, and in practice it's likely to fail. Our counterparts got to the slam after East opened and reversed, and this sent 11 IMPs our way when we made 5 at our table.

On Board 19, our opponent faced a nasty guess in a 3NT contract:

North
AQJ54
Q8
53
KQ98
South
63
KJ76
AQ72
A107
W
N
E
S
1
P
1