2♥ = GF, 5+♥
3♥ = Fit, 14+pts (minimum hand would jump to 4♥)
3♠ = Slam try, with control in spades (1st or 2nd round)
4♣ = Slam try with club control
4♥ = Denies a ♦ control
4NT = RKB etc
6♥ = We have 4 keycards and H!Q, so slam a good bet.
Result: Nice auction, but down 1 on bad trump break (and nasty 9♦ lead), when most of rest of field were in 3NT.
We have 33+pts including distribution, and controls in all outside suits, yet slam was poor.
Was this because:
-West’s trumps were poor, ie I have heard never bid slam with poor trumps, unless 9+fit or partner has sure AKQxx or AKxxx from RKB
(turns out trumps was our worst suit!)
-or West should have bailed out, when East denied a ♦ control (usually K♦ here), despite 33+pts combined
Hand 2 (at other end of the scale)
2NT = 13-14.
The result was down 1, not surprising with only 22hcp.
Some people, the “More Doublers” people, double on any old opening hand, faired better on this hand:
Is there any way to get to the better contract of 1NT or 2♦/3♦?
*3♦(already showed 4♠, and no ♥ stop, so it shows the longest minor? Sounds risky to bid new minor at 3-level when there’s no guarantee of a fit).
On the first hand, I would chalk that up to bad luck. Sure West might have had bad trumps, but the fact is that no one could really diagnose the whereabouts the jack of hearts is (or even the ten of hearts) and that would make it a decent slam. Maybe one improvement might be that the strong jumpshift of the 2♥ bid should deliver either a decent 6-card suit, or a very good 5-card suit?
On the second hand, again, that is also quite unlucky! I definitely wouldn’t double with the West’s hand with only a doubleton spade so I agree with the pass, and East’s balancing takeout double is also clear-cut. West’s response of 2NT does show 13-14 points, but perhaps it might be better for West to choose the low road of 1NT given the anti-positional heart stopper (i.e. if East had Qx of hearts, NT would play better by the other side)? 1NT would seem like an underbid, but given that it’s matchpoint scoring, playing in 1NT making overtrick(s) might give you a decent score anyway?
You mentioned that West could bid 2♥? Maybe, but that seems like trying to thread the needle looking at both hands. If it’s matchpoints, I would much rather be in 1NT than 3-minor.
For the people who doubled with the West’s cards, they should be playing in 2♠ or 3NT (i.e. East should be jumping to 2♠ opposite the takeout double to show strength, and if West ever rebids NT, that actually shows a very strong hand of the 19-20 points variety – i.e. a “double-then-bid of a new suit or NT” shows the “power double” type of hand)!
Sometimes bridge can be quite unlucky!