Two alternatives that don’t work
Henry Kissinger said, “The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”
Yes, but this deal has two interesting alternatives with which to occupy the mind.
When I described the play in four spades yesterday, South took the first trick with dummy’s heart ace, cashed his spade, diamond and club winners, then endplayed West by leading his heart jack. Fine, but what might have happened if declarer, instead of giving West the lead in hearts at trick seven, had exited with a trump? Also, what could have transpired if South had not won the first trick?
North might have cue-bid four hearts over three spades to show a strong raise to four spades (and promise nothing about hearts).
If South throws West in with his trump or ducks the first trick, the contract can be defeated.
In the first case, after winning with his spade queen, West must resist the temptation to cash the heart queen. Instead, he must lead a low heart to declarer’s jack. Then South will have to lose one diamond and two clubs to East, along with the spade already conceded.
That defense should not be too hard to find, but the other one really takes some imagination. After the heart king and a heart to the ace, when declarer cashes his two top trumps, West must throw the 10 and queen under them! Then he cannot be endplayed, and the contract will go down one. After the deal, probably South would congratulate West on his great play, then say that if only West had had the spade four and dummy the spade three, the contract would still have made.