The ones we should get right
This deal was (mis)played by a Southwestern expert (and national champion) who shall remain nameless. Can we all make a New Year’s resolution to get the deals right that we should get right?
With both sides vulnerable, his partner dealt and opened 2NT. Responder held:
♠10 8 4 3 2 ♥— ♦A 7 5 4 3 2 ♣A 4
He transferred to spades and then bid 4♦. This is natural (showing at least 5–4 in spades and diamonds) with slam interest. Opener bid 4♥.
What’s that? Likely some sort of slam interest – certainly not a signoff. Responder didn’t know what to do next (Blackwood with a void is generally a poor idea), so he just guessed to jump to 6♦. Everyone passed and the ♥Q was led:
Opener did well to leave you in diamonds instead of trying for a slightly higher score in 6♠. With the shaky spade suit, 6♠ might fail, while 6♦ is actually 100%. Can you see how?
This is one of those draw trump, strip the hand and claim deals. Yet, our anti-hero messed it up. He ruffed the opening lead and played a diamond to the king (trumps were 1–1). He cashed three clubs, throwing a spade, and then the ♥A throwing another spade. He came to hand with the ♦A and led a spade to the … queen. Ugh. All he had to do was cover whatever spade left-hand opponent played and claim on an endplay. This was the Real Deal:
As you can see, the ♠Q lost to the king and back came a spade. Down one. In my mind, this is an easy one. However, if a national champion could go wrong, I suppose so could you.