Sometimes it pays to be cautious
Confucius claimed that the cautious seldom err. At the bridge table, it can be an error to be cautious or daring. In today’s diagram, look at the North hand. It goes (one diamond) - one spade - (double, negative) to you. What would be your bidding plan?
Often with 10 high-card points, you would invite game. Here, though, the signs are not favorable. Even if East has only 12 points and West 6, that leaves 12 maximum for partner. West has shown four hearts, which makes your holding in that suit more defensive than offensive in nature. You should settle for one no-trump.
At Bridge Base Online, almost everyone and everything (computer program) did that, but when South rebid two spades, four times North jumped to four spades — crazy! At my table, North sagely passed out two spades.
West led the heart four, East won with the ace, and South carefully played the six. East returned the heart seven, and declarer followed with the eight, leaving West unsure who held the two.
When West shifted to the diamond 10, declarer won with dummy’s ace and played a spade to her queen. West had a second opportunity to give East a heart ruff, but he persisted with the diamond eight. South ruffed, cashed the spade ace and gave up a trump. A moment later, when in hand with the club ace, declarer played a heart to dummy’s 10 and discarded a club loser on the heart queen. She took four spades, two hearts, one diamond and one club.
West was wrong. If East had started with three hearts, he would surely have shifted to a trump at trick two, not helped set up a winner for South.