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I played the Butler Pairs together with my partner Kees in Scheveningen this year (http://www.sbsbridge.nl/). Here are a few interesting deals.

Our CC: Terrorist Moscito.

For those unfamiliar with it: Big , very light 4+M openings (possibly canapé), symmetric relays, topped with a smattering of overcall structure and pressure bids. Our 1M openings deny a 4-card suit in the other M. Hand evaluation is based upon Relay Points (Ace=3, King=2 and Queen=1), any 6 RP is an opener first/second hand. Initial groundwork is based upon the notes in the links below, though we removed most of the insane optimizations: 

First deal:

North
3
AJ1065
AKQ106
84
W
N
E
S
6
?

Okay .. This is what the afternoon session is going to be like? My RHO opens 6 first seat all red. Man! I was looking forward to showing my fancy red two-suiter. My frustration double was a little naive. This was the full deal:

West
AKQJ9854
AJ1073
North
3
AJ1065
AKQ106
84
East
106
K873
8753
Q65
South
72
Q942
J942
K92
W
N
E
S
6
X
P
P
P
D
6X West
NS: 0 EW: 0

Declarer ruffed my red lead, drew two rounds of trumps ending in dummy and picked up my partner's King of : -1860 translates to -13 IMP away.

 

Some relay action:

West
Q
Q10953
A105
Q765
North
10862
72
KJ98
A42
East
A543
J8
743
J1083
South
KJ97
AK64
Q62
K9
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Kees won the lead in his hand and decided to ruff his losers in dummy. East refused to overruff dummy, he pitched his instead. Kees did take the right view in trumps, but when he led a towards dummy West rose correctly. If West had given East a ruff Kees would have been in control again, but the switch proved to be deadly. Tapped. Down 1 proved to be another 6 down the drain.

Then I get to play 2NT with a combined 23-count. Completely unplayable even though we have a 5-3 fit. I go off 3, red of course, desperately trying to save 3 IMP but instead losing 3 more for my efforts. Did I mention the 5-3 fit? That would have worked out just fine.

By now we're looking at minus 30something. And we're not even in round 3.

The cup isn't empty yet. Two more disasters follow. I decide to take the low road with a 7-crd suit and a void in mijn partner's first suit. Like everyone else I take 11 tricks, too bad I didn't bid game like everyone else. Then we get to defend a no-defence 3NT. Our declarer took 10 tricks without really breaking a sweat. Though the rest of the field decided 9 tricks were just too hard. I have no, absolutely no idea why. Take a look for yourself:

West
732
AKJ8
Q432
97
North
Q10864
95
A986
K6
East
AKJ5
762
KJ10
AJ8
South
9
Q1043
75
Q105432
D

If South leads a you can duck twice. Set up the and take a hook for 9. Difficult? I think not.

 

Things change. We draw first blood. I get to overcall superlight on pretty much AK-6th of and an outside Jack. Kees holding just AJT-5th of trumps against their 4 game knew I would bring a trick to the table so he doubled for penalty. Down 2 and our first 4 IMP pickup.

More:

West
J84
K8632
AKJ
73
North
K1095
A1095
108742
East
3
Q74
965
AQJ1042
South
AQ762
J
Q3
K9865
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
2NT
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

West led the Ace and switched to a trump. Too late! Kees won in hand and fired back the Queen. West won and continued his attack on our trumps. Kees won and ruffed a , bringing down the house. He drew the last outstanding trump and took stock. Looking at two more losers he found an elegant solution: he ran the Jack of losing to East's Queen. Placing succeeded. Taking 10 was good for 6 IMP.

West
K986
K10985
J
A86
North
5
J7
AK10652
K943
East
AJ7
AQ4
Q74
J1052
South
Q10432
632
983
Q7
W
N
E
S
1
1NT
P
2
2
P
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

I lead my stiff 5 of via the Jack, Queen to the King. Declarer now plays three rounds of trumps ending in his hand and checks whether I really led a singleton. Winning the Ace in dummy. A to his Jack loses to my King and seeing this entryless dummy I cash my Ace as well. Declarer pitching a . Ahh .. he's trying to place me!

Well, I've got another trick up my sleeve. I exit with the King of . Declarer wins his Ace and plays back a . Kees wins his Queen and the Ten of is the setting trick. Another 7 IMP pickup.

North
K95
A42
A743
K65
South
84
Q87
KJ105
A982
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
X
2NT
3
3NT
P
P
P

This hand is still giving me nightmares!

East leads a small via the Queen for my King. Quickly I assess I need to take four tricks in , then strip East by cashing two top and finally place East with a to give me two tricks in . Easy. 

East has given me a good blueprint: at least 5-4 in the Majors. Lacking the 9 means I cannot handle a 1-4 split. So I play a to dummy's King (East showing me the 8) and request the Jack. West plays low silkily smooth. I take stock.

Obviously West is 3-2 favourite to hold the all-important Queen. But .. the only I cannot see is the 9. I submerge. East holding 98 of might have chosen to play the 9 50% of the time. With Q-8 there is no choice. 

I crumble. This is driving me insane. I go for the drop.

West
Q32
965
Q62
QJ104
North
K95
A42
A743
K65
East
AJ1076
KJ103
98
73
South
84
Q87
KJ105
A982
D

Wrong. Lose another 6.

 

I'll write how we climbed out of the hole soon. We did compensate and more for the -45 IMP in the first session Laughing

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