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Today's Bridge: We got a very late start, but Kevin joined us, and we were probably one of very few partnerships who could have taken full advantage of the hands we had. Dan H. and Paul started with a partscore, then followed it with a rather interesting auction. Dan opened 2NT, and Paul responded 4C, which is typically the Gerber convention (ace-asking in support of a notrump slam). Kevin asked him whether the card said that was Gerber, and he confirmed it. So when Dan responded 4S (two aces) and Paul bid 4NT, we all took that as closeout and passed. Paul was surprised - he'd intended 4C to be some sort of Stayman-like convention (looking for a major), and with spades as the apparently agreed-upon suit, he meant 4NT as Blackwood. They had all four aces, but I don't know whether they'd have had 6 in a trump suit - they lost two at 4NT, and I don't know whether they had a play for the slam. I certainly couldn't oppose it. We rallied in the next hand when Kevin bid diamonds three times, jumping once. 1D-1H-3D-4C-4D, I believe. With something like S Q-10 H K-x-x-x D J-x C Q-x-x-x-x, I raised to 5, and Kevin gets full credit for managing to pull it off. The opponents picked up a cheap 2H pre-empt, which led into a pretty cool auction that ended well. Kevin opened 1C, and Paul overcalled 1D. With S J-x-x-x H K-9-6-x-x D K-J C x-x, I thought it was a pretty natural negative double. Dan redoubled, which I took to be very weak support. Kevin bid a rather predictable 1S, but when Paul bid 2D, I decided to show suit preference with 2H - if Kevin didn't like them, he could always return to the known fit in spades. Dan doubled my 2H, and everyone passed. The opening lead was a club, and Kevin gave me S K-Q-x-x H A-10-x D x-x C A-x-x-x. I wasn't nearly as worried as I probably should have been. I saw no reason not to take the ace immediately, and I ran a heart to my king and a low heart back - when Dan played the queen, I didn't have to go for the double finesse and covered it. I ran a low spade to my jack, and Dan took the ace, cashed the jack of hearts, and led a club to Paul's king. Paul led back the queen, and I saw no choice but to ruff low. Dan overruffed with the 7 and finally led a diamond, specifically the queen, but it didn't matter. When Paul took the ace, I had the good king of diamonds as well as the top two spades and the last heart to make the contract exactly for the rubber. For the final hand, I had S J-10-9 H K-J-10-8-x D A-x C A-K-8 (yes, the eights matter). I thought about 1NT, but with such a solid heart suit, I had to start 1H. 2H, 3H, 4H, and we were done. Kevin had S A-Q-8 H 5-3-2 D K-x-x-x C J-9-x, and I think I made a mistake letting the diamond lead run to my ace instead of taking the king - it put me at risk when the opponents continued to attack the suit. Recognizing the need to run two finesses to establish the clubs, I crossed to the king and led the jack, which held the trick. (If Paul had covered with the queen, which he should have, I'd need to cover with the king and cross back with the spade finesse to finesse the nine, which loses to Dan's ten. If Paul has the ten and covers a second time, the eight is established for the third club trick. With the jack holding, I have the top two left and can stop finessing. That also left me on the entry-starved board for my next lead.) I led a heart, intending to cover Paul's card as low as possible. He played the seven, so I went up with the eight, and fortunately, Dan played the queen, marking Paul with the nine. (I told you both eights were important.) I ruffed the diamond return and led the ten, leaving Paul with the singleton nine of trump. He led another diamond, which I ruffed with the jack, leaving me only the king and nothing to ruff in either direction. I decided I had to maintain a trump control while I ran the spade finesse, and my nine held, so I announced that I could afford to lose one and pulled the last trump, cashed the clubs, and led a spade, which Dan covered with the king for an overtrick. Had he held it, I'd have gone up with the ace anyway, just in case Paul was holding the king of spades and the thirteenth club for the setting trick. Nothing like abandoning the 100% line that makes the contract only to discover that the opponents tricked me. We also mounted a defense against an unfortunately-bid 3D where I had K-10-x-x of trump and lots of spades. I had to lead spades into Paul's void a few times because trump would have been a bad lead and I was out of other suits, and Kevin pulled a brilliant uppercut by ruffing with the jack and pulling Paul's queen, leaving me with K-10-x over Paul's ace - except that Kevin had that as well, and ruffed the next spade lead with it. Off two in the end.

It snowed overnight, but I made it to work without incident and finally got that equipment I've been needing for a month or so. I don't know whether it will work for our purposes or not - the cable has a proprietary connection, and I don't even know whether it will be possible to pin it out. I want to hook up all the equipment just so I can see it actually working, but it looks like they gave us the wrong power cable. I'm waiting to get some documentation that may be able to help me figure out what to do with any of this, and if I haven't gotten it tomorrow, I'll have to contact them myself and ask about the cables and all the other confusing aspects of the project.

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Yes, I'm THAT Nidoking. Sometimes I write fanfiction... often I waste all my time playing video games and watching anime. But it's not a waste if I enjoy it, right? I can quote from a movie, video game, anime series, or British comedy apropos of just about any situation, and one of my main goals in life is to entertain people. (The other big one is amassing as much anime and manga as I can... see below for a progress report.) That's me in a nutshell. ("Help! I'm trapped in a nutshell! What a bloody great nutshell this is!")

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