Peter Thomson, an Australian golfer who won the British Open five times, said, “Every tournament has its climax, its winning moment. If you’re not watchful, you will miss it and lose your best chance.”
A bridge deal often has its winning moment. If you’re not watchful, you will err and go down in your contract or fail to defeat the declarer. In this deal, South is in five clubs. West leads a low heart, East winning with his king and ( best) continuing with the heart ace. How can South prevail?
After South’s strong artificial opening and North’s weak artificial response, the bidding was natural. East thought about sacrificing in five hearts, but was dissuaded by the unfavorable vulnerability. (Five hearts doubled should cost 500.)
Declarer seems to have 11 easy tricks: one spade, five diamonds and five clubs. However, to get five diamond tricks, South must draw trumps, unblock his ace and king of diamonds, and get to the dummy. What is his dummy entry?
It is the club eight. But if South ruffs the second heart in the dummy, that will be the losing moment, destroying that entry when the trumps break 3-1, not 2-2. Instead, declarer should discard a spade from the board at trick two.
If East continues with a third heart, South’s prettiest play is to ruff with his club nine, draw trumps, cash the top diamonds, overtake the club seven with dummy’s eight, and run the diamonds.
Alternatively, South can ruff low, pitch a second spade from the board, draw trumps, cash his two diamonds and spade ace, and enter the dummy with a spade ruff.