Jake and I stayed in the Antonine Hotel in Falkirk, which was significantly cheaper than the conference venue, and also much more exciting late at night... on the way home on Friday, we encountered about 50 what I can only describe as "young people", several of whom were literally falling down the stairs drunk. One gentleman kindly invited us to join them at the local night club, but we declined, and got a relatively early night in preparation for the next day's bridge. Saturday night was even more exciting. On the Saturday, Adam and Andrew Murphy (Paul's and Alex's team-mates) were staying in the same hotel, and I went out with them for a quick drink after we got back from the bridge. When we returned, we narrowly avoided being right in the middle of a huge brawl, which seemed to spark from nowhere, and just as quickly defuse a couple of minutes later... Falkirk is an exciting place at the weekend!
As Paul mentions on his blog (which also includes details of what happened in the competition overall, won by the team of Matheson, Sime, Short and Goodman), we somehow stumbled into the quarter final on the Saturday night despite having lost to 2 different teams, one of them twice - a feature (or a bug, if you prefer) of the fact that there were only 19 teams in the competition, so several triads were required to ensure that the numbers worked out to have the correct number of teams left in the competition on Sunday.
We won the second triad thanks mostly to David making 2♠XX + 1 for 1240 (not a score I've seen before, or really expect to see again...) on a hand where most of us would have opened 1♠ (and I think Yvonne was confidently expecting to concede a double figure IMP swing when she put down the dummy). Overall though, I didn't play particularly well all weekend, and as a team, I think we were lucky not to be in the Swiss Teams on the Sunday, even if we did find our way into the quarter final.
The penultimate board of the subsidiary final brought my highlight of the weekend at the table, making 6♦ on a squeeze - the first time I think I've ever actually made a slam on a squeeze both successfully and deliberately:
The lead was a small ♦ (which I ran to my Q, just to reveal to everyone at the table that I was incapable of bidding blackwood). This is almost literally a textbook hand on squeeze play - you have 11 top tricks, and need to find a 12th from somewhere, there are potential menaces in all the suits, so it seems like it's time to rectify the count. I drew trumps and played a ♣ to the 10. Peter returned a ♥.
The ending is now luckily unambiguous. You can just unblock the ♠s, run all the trumps, and if the ♠J and if neither of the major suit jacks is now good, you have to hope they are in different hands, and so the clubs will drop. You'll end up with an ending like this. If either defend has 5♣s and the ♠Q, then you have a squeeze in those suits, while if West has the ♥Q and his partner the ♠Q, then you have a textbook double squeeze regardless of the ♣ position.
All in all, an enjoyable weekend, and a good opportunity to play against the best players in Scotland, and we gave a reasonable account of ourselves, even if we didn't exactly set the world alight. Hopefully we can give a better showing next year.