I sat South and passed, and it came round to Anna. We play that with two four card suits you always open the lower suit, even if that means opening a minor instead of a major (as here). This can occasionally mean you lose a major fit in competition, but it's good for describing your shape fully, and of course good for finding minor games and slams. So Anna opened 1♣. I responded 1♠, which Anna raised to 3♠. I now know that we've got a double fit in Clubs and Spades. So although I've only got eight points I like my hand, and made a cuebid of 4♦, as I thought that might be what partner needed to hear. Anna boldly overlooked that I was a passed hand and launched into Blackwood. With one keycard missing we landed in 6♠.
West lead a Club. When dummy came down I was pretty pleased. I have seven top tricks outside trumps, three high card winners in Spades, so I need two ruffs to get me up to twelve. The only danger is the defence getting a Club ruff, or if trumps are 4-1. I was lucky though. I won the Club lead, and played ♦A and ruffed a Diamond. I then played a trump (ducked) and ruffed another Diamond. I've now got my two ruffs so drew trumps and claimed for 6♠=. It was only when I showed my hand that everyone else saw I had all those Clubs, until then it was only me that knew about the double fit. [Edit - of course the slam goes down on a Heart lead!].
Not sure if this slam was bid at other tables - I know that David and Heather finished in 5♣ after starting 1♣-2♣, where 2♣ was strong (they play inverted minors).
Apart from that hand, the first half was exceptionally low scoring, which was good news. On our table our opponents played six contracts, all of them at the two level, and we played six, mostly partscores too. It was thus fairly even at half time. In the break we had a tremendous cup of tea, and Anna had a Kit Kat too.
In the second half we swiftly bid another slam. This one I'm sure everyone would be in, as opener had a balanced 18 count opposite responder with a balanced 16 count. We finished in 6NT. It all hinges on the play of this Club suit for one loser:
The instinctive way to play it is Ace then lead up to the Queen-Ten, but you then have a guess which one to play, and will go down whenever your 50/50 fails. At Buchanan Bridge Club Norman has taught us that when you have AQT9 between both hands you should finesse twice, for example leading the Queen then the Ten. This only fails if both finesses lose. This is exactly how Anna played it, but unfortunately she was not rewarded for her accurate play and went one down here. [Edit - there is a small advantage to leading the Ten or the Seven on the first round, see comments].
Put yourself in my shoes for the next board, with just our side vulnerable. These were my cards:
♠ Q J 9 x x x ♥ A x x ♦ x ♣ K Q x
Anna passed and my right hand opponent opened 1♦. I overcalled 1♠, but considered bidding a pre-emptive 2♠ as partner has already passed. Left hand opponent then bid 1NT, Anna passed again, and opened rebid 2♦. Now's my moment to rebid 2♠. I nearly did it, but I figured there was very little benefit to doing so, at best it would be a modest part score swing, and with my left hand opponent showing a Spade stop to bid 1NT I might get doubled. I wisely passed - and this Pass was my best bid of the day. Anna had a Spade void and I would have had a terrible time in 2♠, probably doubled, and off at least two vulnerable. As it was, we defended 2♦ and slowly beat it by one one trick.
There were several more partscores in the second half, until we finished with this big hand.
I was sitting South with the monster hand trying to decide whether or not to open 2♣, when East opened ahead of me with 3♠. I'm certainly good enough for a 4♦ overcall, in fact even a 5♦ overcall. But I also have Heart support, so I chose to double, reasoning that if Anna bid Clubs, I could then bid Diamonds. This might get confusing and take the bidding pretty high as we tried to sort it out, but I thought I had a good enough hand that if I end up just punting 6♦ to end the auction that would be OK. West bid 4♠, and Anna bid over the top of him with 5♥. Since she could have easily passed, this is showing a good hand, and a good Heart suit. I have so few losers in my hand and a big source of tricks, so the only question is how high to go. All I really need from Anna for 7♥ is long and strong Hearts, and that's pretty much what's she promised with her 5♥ bid. I thought about some sort of 5♠ or 5NT bid, but that's pretty pointless and might just mess things up. I decided not to be a hero, and just bid 6♥, missing out on the Grand Slam.
On a Spade lead Anna drew trumps in one round and claimed, for 6♥+1. On reflection, I think I should have bid 7♥ instead of just 6♥. I don't think many tables will bid it, but this was aggregate scoring, so it doesn't matter what happens elsewhere in the room. If I can get an extra 750 points for my side by bidding the Grand Slam then I should take it. As for the other tables - I know that on one other table my hand directly overcalled 5♦ and played there.
Overall then we bid three slams, which is the same as the number of games we bid. The 25 point slam made, the 27 point slam made an overtrick and we went down in the 34 point slam.
And as for the all important final result? In the end it was a narrow win for Team Rowan, coming through 9-7. It was enough for promotion, and next year we'll be in Division One!