Many years ago, I lost a regional event because I thought dummy had a six-card side suit when it had a seven-carder. As declarer, I failed to set
up the suit and went down in a cold doubled contract. I sulked about my aberration for weeks.
Bridge can be a source of exhilaration or desolation. One of the worst feelings a defender can have is watching helplessly as declarer engineers a crossruff. The feeling is worse if you could have done something to alter the outcome.
In today’s deal, North’s raise to three spades invited game. That bid was bold enough. Why South went on to four spades is a mystery. Maybe he thought East-West were weak defenders.
Sure enough, West led the king of hearts, and South had his chance. He threw a diamond on the ace of hearts, ruffed a heart, took the ace of clubs and ruffed a club. He ruffed a heart, ruffed a club and ruffed a heart, as EastWest had to follow. Having won the first seven tricks, as East-West sat crestfallen, South took the K-A of diamonds and ruffed a diamond for his 10th trick.
South shouldn’t have had the opportunity for his crossruff. West had dummy’s hearts under control and also had strength in clubs, the first suit South bid. Nobody had bid diamonds, so that suit wasn’t likely to be a source of tricks. But South would surely need extra trump tricks.
If West’s opening lead is a trump, he won’t have to regret the deal. East will take his high trumps, and eight tricks will be the best South can do.