In the past, I have written up several hands to illustrate that strange things can happen at the bridge table for a variety of reasons, and this one is a curiosity. When you look at the bidding on this hand, you may do a double-take, but what you see is exactly what happened at the table when Daryl Sallaz held the north hand. He says he had the diamond suit separated and he thought some of them were hearts, so he made the notrump opening bid that denies holding a void or a singleton. I can sympathize, because I have had the same confusion about suits, but opening notrump with a void or a singleton is a big no-no if you do it on purpose. We were lucky the cards were such that we didn't get into trouble and that 3 notrump, especially with a spade opening lead, made 12 tricks.
One pair in 9 who played this hand recently reached the good diamond slam and got a clear top. Most of the others played it in 3 notrump, but invariably in the south. I guess when we play again I will make sure Daryl wears his glasses.
We have arrived at the season of the Grand National Teams competition again. This is a grass-roots event at the end of which the qualifiers play in the Summer Nationals for a national title, and competitors can gain a great deal of experience and play a lot of team bridge. We have scheduled the first local qualifying event for Saturday, January 14. Our district will hold the final qualifying event in May, in Helena, Motnana. The whole contest will be run in flights, from beginners to experienced, so contact us if you would like to participate. The experience is well worth it.