I'll write up two boards, my highlight and my lowlight of the evening. I'll start with the lowlight. Here's a defensive problem (not too much of a problem, I think, but I managed to get it wrong):
I led a ♠ to Norman's ♠A, and he led the ♠T back to declarer's ♠J and my ♠K, declarer pitching the ♥J from dummy. What's your next move?
For some reason it just never crossed my mind that the ♥ suit might be completely wide open. I managed to convince myself that we were only beating this if another ♠ could set the suit up, and partner had the ♦A, and so continued with a third ♠. I have no idea if declarer's ♥ pitch from dummy actually affected my thinking as I pretty much just had a complete blind spot. That was a non-vulnerable game that I'd just wantonly let through. In my defence, Norman could probably have made my life easier by cashing one top ♥ before playing a ♠ - it's unlikely that giving away a tempo in the ♥ suit is going to be fatal (from his point of view, he knows from the lead that I don't have the ♦A, and that the ♣s are running), and even if he doesn't read my ♥T correctly, at least I'll know what to do when I get in. Here's the full hand:
Here's a hand I played in 4♠:
I win the ♥ exit in dummy, and now I'm home - I know that West had 3♥s, surely at least 7♦s, and 2♣s, so that means the ♠ was in fact singleton. So I play a club to the J, ruff a club, and then ruff the final heart with the ♠Q, forcing East to lead away from the ♠T at trick 12.
Interestingly, the only lead to beat this (double dummy) is to play a low ♣. I think the idea is that it takes out one of the entries to the south hand early (because the double dummy play to make the contract is in fact to play the ♠Q on the first round, and subsequently finesse (which I think you probably should do on restricted choice grounds, if you're playing on ♠s). In retrospect, this might be better than the line I did take, I hadn't appreciated the power of the 865. But my ending was prettier. Also, in retrospect, I risked just going off if East could ruff the third round of ♥s - this might be an acceptable risk after I had seen the ♠9 on the first round, but I have to admit to not having fully taken that into account during the play, so there was an element of luck involved, but at least I was able to see the ending when it was there.
No bridge over the holidays. I did consider heading down to London for Year End, but it ended up just being too impractical. I'm playing Monday, Tuesday Wednesday the first week back in January, though. Including the final Manning Foster, and a chance to win my first Buchanan Club trophy, as well as round 5 of the Winter Pairs.