Club players seem to misuse the strong 2C bid of standard systems. This occurs in two ways. Opening 2C on 19+hcp is too little and responding positively with too little is the other. The 2C opener should be a flat hand with 23+hcp or any shapely hand where opener wants to reach game so game bidding is easy and the negative 2D bid is really saying that you are not immediately interested in slam. All other responses suggest that slam is close. In the actual auction, North could have recovered by bidding 3NT and would have expressed all his values and all his shape but overbid slightly to 6NT. To be fair, South was a touch light for the 2NT response. West led the DK and when dummy came down, the contract was clearly poor. There are four tricks in each black suit and two red aces so declarer needs to find two more. If there hadn’t been a diamond lead, declarer would play hearts (small to the nine and then run the jack) for about a 50 per cent chance of making but would be unlucky here.
However, with the actual lead, the heart finesse needs to be onside to get to eleven tricks. Being one short is the sign for a squeeze so duck the lead to rectify the loser count and win the continuation with the DA, cross to the SQ and run the HJ. At the table, West ducked and now repeating the finesse gives twelve tricks. What if West covers? Win the ace, unblock the spades and run the clubs, finessing the CJ on the third round and West is in trouble on the last one and has to concede a third red winner giving the contract! The duck at trick one is the key to this hand!
Pairs, EW vul, Dealer North