Not one pair reached the optimum contract of Six Clubs on today's hand, from the Marbella Bridge Festival.
Most of the field were playing a strong One No-Trump and, although One Club was the preferred choice of opening bid by the majority of the Souths, the Norths were aware that this could be a short suit, and the final contacts were mainly 3NT or 6NT. When South became the declarer in Six No-Trumps, most Wests led a diamond. When this lost to the king and a diamond was returned, declarer won, and later taking a successful spade finesse, had to decide on the best way to tackle the hearts for four tricks.
Cashing the ace and king, hoping for a 3-3 break, or the jack to drop doubleton proved fruitless, and these declarers failed. At one table, against 6NT, West chose to lead a top-of-nothing nine of spades. Declarer let this run to the jack, then finessed in diamonds.
East won and returned SK, but now, when declarer cashed all the minor suit winners, East was inexorably squeezed. Needing to desperately hold on to all four hearts he was forced to part with his S10, hoping that partner had led from S98x. A bemused South, after much mental re-checking, finally came to the conclusion that her S8 was indeed a winner; for her twelfth trick.
Curious - with a perfect Yarborough, West led the highest card in his hand - the one destined to be the setting trick.