East won the diamond queen, when dummy followed low, to return the four for the jack, king and ace. South continued with a heart to the jack and cashed the ace. When the ten dropped, he advanced the nine driving out the king. East returned a diamond but South swiftly cashed out nine tricks, N-S +600.
It is interesting to speculate on how declarer would have continued if the ten of hearts had not put in an appearance. Another heart would yield a ninth winner when hearts divide 3-3 but defeat will be imminent when East began with king-ten fourth.
West had presented declarer with a gift by leading a diamond which is poison at matchpoints. He should begin with a fourth best spade on this auction which gives declarer nothing. The good news is that South could still emerge with the game bonus because the ace of clubs is onside and the defense cannot break diamonds without giving declarer a second winner in that suit.
North correctly rejected Stayman with a perfectly balanced hand to raise to 3NT. Even if a 4-4 heart existed, 3NT was likely to be a superior contract because North did not own a ruffing value.
The same number of tricks might be available at NT as the potential major suit contract. Author: Dave Willis - visit his website at www.insidebridge.ca Questions on bridge can be sent with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to The New Canadian Bridge c/o Torstar Syndication Services, One Yonge St., Toronto, M5E 1E6. Copyright 2017 Torstar Syndication Services