An expert should get it right
This deal was (mis)played in the finals of the 2018 U.S. Bridge Championship. South held:
♠A K Q 8 7 4 ♥9 3 ♦Q 3 ♣A 8 5
With nobody vulnerable, his partner passed and right-hand opponent opened a weak 2♥. I’d be fine with a 3♠ overcall (showing an intermediate hand like this and a good six-plus card spade suit). However, at the table, 2♠ was chosen. LHO raised to 4♥; and partner’s 4♠ bought the contract.
The ♦A was led:
The defense played the ♦A K and another diamond, ruffed and overruffed. Declarer drew trumps, finding the 2♥ bidder started with all three of them. Now what?
He needed to lose only one club trick and also discard a heart on dummy’s clubs. Hoping for a 3–3 break with the king on his left, declarer played the ♣A and another club. The Real Deal:
West correctly played low on the second club; splitting his honors could have proved disastrous. Declarer could try dummy’s ♣Q (resulting in down two), but he guessed to play low. He was down one: East took the ♣K and the defense still had to get a heart trick.
So, how could declarer have made it? The bidding and play marked East with 3=6=2=2 shape (he opened a weak two-bid in hearts and showed up with three spades and two diamonds). Knowing East had only two clubs, the right play is clear. Go to dummy and lead a club to the 8! This intrafinesse wins the contract. West wins this trick, but later the ♣A drops the king, and a marked finesse in clubs allows declarer to throw his heart on the fourth club for plus 420.
Note that the defense could have prevailed with a heart shift at trick two.