South overcalled East’s 1H opening with 1S. The hand has too many values to bid 2S or 3S and, while one might consider 4S with a passed partner and favourable vulnerability, that would be silly here. After hearing partner’s good raise in spades, shown with a cue raise, South did bid the game contract.
West led the eight of hearts since partner had bid them strongly. Declarer could count nine tricks and while the tenth might come from a winning club finesse, he thought that the king of clubs was more likely to be offside with the strong opening bid. In that case, he needed to keep West, the danger hand, off play to avoid the defenders leading a club through dummy’s AQ. Thus declarer covered the eight of hearts with the nine and East took this with the ten of hearts and shifted to the queen of diamonds and threatening to give West an entry with the KD after which ? he would lead club through.
There are two points to the play of this hand and the first is to keep West off lead. Declarer rose with the ace of diamonds and noted West’s encouraging 9D. He then entered dummy by playing the ten of trumps to dummy’s jack. His next move was to call for the jack of hearts. East covered this with the queen and declarer threw his losing diamond. Now East tried to play a diamond through to West but declarer ruffed it high keeping West off lead and protecting the AQ of clubs. After crossing to dummy by playing the eight of trumps to dummy’s queen, declarer ruffed a third heart high. As all of the preparatory work had now been done, declarer crossed back to dummy with the five of trumps to the seven and led dummy’s last heart. When East covered this, declarer threw a club and the second point of the play is seen. East is now endplayed and has the choice of leading into dummy’s ace- queen of clubs or conceding a ruff- and- discard. Either way, declarer had his tenth trick. This hand looks very bland at first sight but declarer has played well in spotting the two themes and managing them at the table.