Tonight, David Grainger and I played a pleasant match against Jason Chiu and Harmon Edgar.
The match went well, with both sides playing very well. We ended up getting slightly the better of it, largely on the back of these three slam deals:
I was kind of stuck for a bid over 3H, so I decided to compromise with a 3S bid, which at least gave David space to describe what his hand was all about. Thinking we probably had no heart stopper, David told me about the club fit with his 4C bid. 4D was a cuebid, and 4S was passable, but also sort of a cuebid, since he had to have good spades. My 4NT bid was a bit of an oddity: in our system, when the auction gets very crowded, 4NT is not blackwood. It was intended merely as forward-going with clubs, promising a heart control and David took it as such. He bid 5H on the way to 6C just in case we had a grand slam (he knew that I couldn't misconstrue his 5H bid).
With everything breaking, there was nothing to the play and we chalked up +920 for +10.7 IMPs.
My double of 1H showed 4 or 5 spades in our system, and Jason's leap to 4H really put the wood to David. He thought for a while and eventually decided to take a shot at 6C. He knew that I would know he couldn't have a heart loser, and this sort of sequence (opening at the 1 level, then blasting to the moon opposite a simple 1-level response) usually shows a good fit for partner's suit. Therefore, had I held the sAQ and the cA I would have been able to find the good raise to 7C based on this logic. In any case, he bought very well from me and we played in 6C making, for +8.5 IMPs. Note that the 4-4 spade fit goes down if the defense finds its club ruff, which it should probably find because declarer can't just pull trump and knock out the cA on the bad spade break.
I saved the best for last. This is the kind of result you dream about having when an important match is on the line; too bad it came up in an online fun match.
We play a 4C response to any preempt as a keycard asking bid. I decided to trot it out on the theory that a 2NT inquiry didn't rate to help me much, and if we had enough trump solidity we might be cold for 6S even if there was work to do elsewhere. David's unusual 4D response promised 1 keycard but also a diamond void. I asked for the sQ with 5H, and he denied it with his 5S bid.
At this point it would be easy to give up, figuring on a trump loser (or two!) and maybe even another loser in the wash, but I tried to picture his hand. He was vulnerable, so he wouldn't have garbage, and he should probably not have a 4-card heart suit on the side. Therefore, he was very likely to be 6=3=0=4 (6=2=0=5 is possible also, but I would not complain if he had that either!!), and we probably had a 4-4 club fit that may play a lot better than spades.
So I bid 6C, which David worked out was an offer to play (based on the fact that we both knew we were off the sQ, I was not trying for a grand slam).
I got the s4 lead to the s2, s5, and sK. Based on the lead, it seemed very likely that spades were 5-1 one way or the other. I thought for a long time and eventually decided I was probably just dead in the water if Jason was leading a singleton spade. I played the hand on a crossruff, eventually coming to 12 tricks easily when the cK was onside. True, a trump lead might set 6C based on the vicious spade split, but Jason understandably thought his partner was probably ruffing the first spade (a trump lead doesn't look very dynamic in any case). Well, this was +1370 and +14.7 IMPs, as nobody else who attempted a slam made it (nobody was in clubs, as a matter of fact).
In my opinion, slams are the hardest part of bridge and it's always nice to get some of the harder ones right and know what you are doing.