This deal was misplayed at both tables of the 2018 Spingold semifinals. With no opposing bidding, South reached 3NT on this layout:
At both tables, a fourth-best ♠5 was led to the ace, and the ♠6 was returned. Both declarers covered with the 7, losing to opening leader’s ♠8.
At Table 1, West exited with the ♥2. Decide what you would do before reading on.
At Table 2, West exited with the ♦8 to the ♦A, and the ♠2 was played. Declarer had lost the first three tricks and hoping to set up hearts, he won his ♠K. He played a heart towards dummy. All he had to do was duck a heart to East (spades looked to be 5–3) to make his contract.
Left-hand opponent inserted a high heart, so declarer won in dummy and came to the ♣K to try another heart. Again West inserted a high one. Drat. Declarer won in dummy again, but East threw a club. This was the remaining position:
RHO had begun with three spades and one heart. Declarer now had a sure thing, but got it wrong. He can come to the ♣Q (LHO showing out) and cash the top diamonds. If the jack falls, nine tricks are his. If it doesn’t fall, he throws RHO in with the known ♦J to lead into dummy’s ♣A 10. Instead, declarer cashed the high clubs, throwing East in with the ♣J, and then had to guess diamonds on East’s forced diamond exit (he did – full deal below).
Back at Table 1, did you figure out the percentage play in hearts? If they are 3–2, nothing matters – the contract makes with five hearts, three clubs and the ♠K. If they are 4–1 with East having all four, the suit can’t be picked up. But, if they are 4–1 the other way, as they were, the only holding that can be picked up is specifically the singleton ♥8 with East (it was). No other 4–1 break can be picked up; if you don’t see it, try laying out the cards. Instead of correctly inserting dummy’s ♥9 on West’s return of the ♥2, declarer instead went up with the ♥A and eventually failed in his contract.
This was the Real Deal:
Drawing trump and hoping for the clubs to come in would have failed. Ruffing all four spades in your hand was the correct line of play.
A title of “Dummy Reversal” would have been too obvious; I hope that 4 + 3 (four trumps in hand and three in dummy) didn’t give away the show.