This hand ( rotated for convenience) is from round nine of the ANC event in Adelaide where Tasmania narrowly lost a match to the ACT. The North hand is a possible light opener and was opened at some tables but not this one. The auction started simply enough but North had a problem on the second round as they had considerable undisclosed values. North also reflected that South clearly had long hearts but hadn’t opened 4H or 4C which was a stronger kind of 4H bid. A 4S bid might now be seen as an attempt to play there. A 5D cue bid, trying to draw attention to the lack of a club control, might be better but North simply bid the slam. South might have had the better hand, but one can see that South was trying to make a practical bid opposite a passed partner. The defence missed the killing club lead when West led the singleton spade. Declarer has 11 tricks with six hearts, three diamonds and two black aces. Clearly, declarer has to develop one trick and it has to come from spades.
South ducked the spade in dummy and East won the KS and immediately gave West a spade ruff which was 13 imps away since they had stopped in the other room. Declarer should have reflected that West had led dummy’s suit and good players do not lead through dummy’s long suit unless they have a singleton. Once this is realised, the contract can be seen to be safe. Win the ace of spades at trick one and draw trumps. Now surrender the QS to the KS and win the club return. Enter dummy with the QD and lead the 10S for a ruffing finesse and throw the losing club on the 10 or 9 of spades. The hand emphasises the need for planning before playing to trick one. Declarer here was not unlucky that the lead was a singleton since it is obviously such when led by a good player. Notice that if declarer avoided the club lead and got a red suit lead, there are three red suit entries to dummy, after trumps split 2- 2, and the spades can be ruffed up on any 3- 3 or 4- 2 split and some 5- 1 splits.
Teams, Both vul, Dealer North