Source: 15th International Bridge Festival Madeira, Funchal, November 5-11, 2012 Bulletins

I was not so happy, setting my alarm for a previous inexperienced 3 o’clock in the morning. (taxi to Heathrow, 6.40 TAP flight to Funchal). It all seemed worthwhile, though, as I stepped into the Madeira sunshine.
Carlos Luiz was waiting to meet me. He was busy explaining to a policeman that his English visitor would soon appear and surely it would be OK to leave his car for just a moment longer in the forbidden zone?
We were no more than 100 meters down the road when I had my first bridge hand. ‘David, how would you bid this one from the Pairs last night?

A K Q Q 8 4 2 A J 9 8 4 3

Nice hand, I thought. I will open 1, obviously, and there should be no problem with the rebid whatever partner says.

‘Nuno opens Two Clubs,’ Carlos tells me, putting his foot down as a stretch of open road appears.

‘Well, I’ll respond 3. No point in saving space with 2 when you expect him to rebid 3 anyway.’

‘In our system 3 would promise two of the three top honours,’ says Carlos.

‘OK, I’ll bid 2.’

‘He rebids 3.’

‘Now I have to bid 4,’ I say. ‘We’re a bit high. Strong clubbers could start 1 – 2 – 2.’

Carlos is not interested in strong club systems. ‘I bid 4 and he says 4.’

What now? I could bid Roman Key-card Blackwood, I suppose, finding A, AK, and continue with 5 to ask for the trump queen. If he showed that card and one side-suit king, 7NT would just need the diamond suit to come in.

Suddenly I’m feeling a bit tired after my early wakening. ‘I’ll bid 6NT,’ I reply.

Yes, I did that and Nuno bid 7NT.’

‘How did he know you were so strong?’ I asked. ‘You might have tried 6NT on some 10-count. Anyway, was it OK?’

‘No good,’ Carlos replied. He had:

J A K A K Q 10 8 5 4 3 Q 7

‘A defender held four diamonds to the jack.’

‘Well, the contract was OK,’ I said. 3-2 diamond break or a singleton jack. He couldn’t rescue himself by bringing in the clubs?’

‘5-0 club break,’ Carlos replied.

‘Anyway, how did you do overall?’ I asked.

‘We started well, but no luck on the last few rounds. You won’t believe what happened to us here. How would you bid this one?’