Craig Jones opened this hand with a two clubs forcing bid in a recent club game. That bid is artificial, in spite of the fact that his main asset was the club suit and he was going to describe his hand at his next turn. North raised the stakes by bidding his long hearts at the 3 level; and Craig's partner, JoAn Grimm, had enough strength to show Craig her spade suit. Then when he bid 3 notrump, indicating a heart trick, she carried on to the small slam in notrump. They were the only pair to play the hand in notrump; and indeed only two other pairs managed to bid to slam, preferring to play in the safer club contract. Note that without the club break of 2-2 the notrump slam will go down while the club slam will still make.
The auction deserves some discussion. Not everyone would open the west hand with two clubs, a virtual game force unless partner is extremely weak. And playing the hand in notrump in duplicate pairs provides the comfort that no one is going to score better on this hand as long as the notrump contract succeeds. JoAn showed a lot of faith in Craig's bidding when she carried on to the slam, and they enjoyed a top score on this board.
However, their effort was not quite good enough to win the event because Nancy Brown and Art Crawford, playing together for the first time, were the overall winners with a 66 percent game. Congratulations also to the second-place pair of Charlotte Miller and Audrey Wilson.
Craig Jones and Kathy Dowen returned from the Twin Falls tournament with a win in the Friday evening pairs game and were second overall in the two-session Saturday event. Craig has christened Kathy "The Princess" for her efforts.
The local bridge community is now getting ready to compete in the Grand National teams playoff in Helena, Montana, the weekend of May 12 to 14. There should be about 40 teams playing in four flights for the right to go to the summer nationals in Chicago. Good luck to all.