Today’s deal is from a recent team competition in Atlanta. Both tables bid aggressively to reach the spade game, but only one declarer was successful.
South at this table won the opening diamond lead with dummy’s ace and immediately ruffed a diamond. A spade to dummy’s king was followed by another diamond ruff, eliminating diamonds from both hands. A spade to the queen drew trumps when they split 2-2. Declarer led a low club to his 10 and West’s king. West exited with the six of hearts. South ducked in dummy and also ducked in his hand when East played the nine. East was end played at this point and forced to either lead a club away from his queen, lead a heart, or yield a ruffsluff. Any of these plays would give declarer his tenth trick.
The declarer at the other table went down one after less careful play. It seems that both declarers missed a point on this hand. After eliminating diamonds and drawing trumps, the contract can always be made by playing the ace of hearts and another heart to dummy’s jack, playing low if West plays an honor. This succeeds against all lies of the cards, including when West holds both missing club honors. Sometimes these plays are hard to see at the table and surface only in the post-mortem discussion.